Dating can often be a challenge for singles — especially online dating — but dating when you have a mental, physical, or emotional disability can make it that much more troublesome.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a disabled single looking for a great date or a long-term relationship — you’ve got to find the right site first.
But, for Lynne, who was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders at 19, dating invariably ends in disaster.
We’d attribute this to the fact that 82% of its users have earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree (or a combination of them all)."I've been single most of my life for that reason," she said.Elizabeth Barrett, who created the site with a partner in Denver, Colo., said she observed from her work with people with mental illness that those in strong relationships are more likely to thrive. "They tend to stay out of the hospital." Couples in which both partners struggle with mental illness can share their experiences and help keep each other out of trouble.(Illustration: Erik Mace for Yahoo Health)Christina Bruni seems to have it all.She owns her own co-op, has a gym-toned body and striking good looks, and a career as a librarian.The artwork—that’s an area that didn’t take off as much as I thought it would. A sizeable percentage of those probably haven’t been on the site for a while. The big stat is the amount of marriages that I’ve had with the site. I think professionals in the field discount the importance of relationships. I don’t think they work nearly as well as they advertise them to. Robert Whitaker shows that you need drugs in the short term to medicate somebody and bring them back to reality and stuff, but the long-term use of these things creates chronic conditions. Do you think that people with mental illnesses can only have a true bond with someone else who has a mental illness? ’ and I was like, ‘Wow, I guess there are people out there who are understanding.’ Are you still together? But you wouldn’t say it was because of your mental illness?There are a lot of talented people with mental illness that have great creative potential and I thought that would be an important way to let people connect and share on that level. I do occasional purges to get rid of older profiles. And these are only the ones that I’ve been told of, but there’s been more than 30. No, but I kinda’ thought in the back of my mind that if I’m with a woman who’s experienced similar things I can talk about it freely whenever I want.Lynne had someone to spend Christmas and New Year's with this year. "It's been a long time since I've been with anybody for the holidays," the 50-year-old Albuquerque native said recently."That was different." Many people find dating stressful. I’m still facing that challenge but it’s a big world. But I don’t think people identify themselves that much as, ‘I am that or this.’ I am somebody who struggles with [a psychiatric] diagnosis and I take medicine for it. Would it be fair to say that it took about ten years to say, “OK, look, I’ve got a handle on this. Whereas, another person, even if their function is pretty high but they’re experiencing a lot of the same things as the other person, there could be a bond there. Try to do something meaningful.’ And they leave out the most important parts like: ‘Bond with people. A dating site is something that has a critical mass where it’s not very effective until you get a certain amount of people. I didn’t create the categories, it’s just what the major ones are: schizophrenia, schizoaffective, but I may have to remove that as an option. There really aren’t that many categories of mental illness. I hadn’t dated much and was really afraid of disclosing to women. Once you’ve been branded with this illness you feel kind of like a reject, in a way. It was in 2003 that you started thinking about this website. As of today I wouldn’t want a girlfriend that was seriously mentally ill. A lot of people that are bipolar, if they’re high-functioning, they’re not gonna want somebody that’s schizophrenic and cant hold a job and has active delusions and things like that.