As dating Web sites keep emerging online, a growing number of sites in this market are catering to the mentally or physically disabled in order to create a community without embarrassment. Traditional, established sites like Ma
tch.com and eHarmony.com aim to unite people with similar interests based on personality profiles, but for those who have special needs or embarrassing medical conditions, the tendency to try and find love on these sights is small.
Instead, Web sites like Prescription4Love and PositiveSingles.com give those with mental or physical conditions a place to feel comfortable and try and find a partner.
Ricky Durham created Prescription4Love after watching his brother experience embarrassment and loneliness that he saw could not be mended by traditional dating sites.
His brother had Crohns Disease and "It was hard for him to disclose his disease to anyone, but it was really hard for him to tell someone he had a colostomy bag," Durham told Reuters.
Durham wanted to create a place where people have similar conditions, therefore eliminating the need to disclose the information, let alone be embarrassed by it.
Although the site launched after his brother’s death, within two years it has grown to over 5,000 members in five countries, with users living with over 50 illnesses, including Tourette Syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Australian Sara Fantauzzo observed a similar loneliness in her brother, who has Autism and found it difficult to make friends, let alone find a date.
She created SpecialSomeone.com.au in order to unite those with mental illnesses in Australia only a year ago.
"I got sick of seeing Marc at home on a Saturday night or having him come along with my friends because he never had anyone to go out himself," she told Reuters.
It reflected his trend of joining online communities for people with similar mental conditions, and by transferring that ability to share similar experiences in the dating world, Fantauzzo hopes to unite many people who are lonely because of their mental conditions.
PositiveSingles.com is a niche site for users with sexually transmitted diseases. Like the previous examples, it gives people a place to feel at ease with their condition while looking for romance.
Dating Web sites are growing, with the Hitwise analysis company estimating there are over 1,350 dating services online, with 44% of those being similar niche sites.
People are finding sites that cater to specific interests such as medical conditions, music, religion, and sports.
Not only does it give people a place to feel comfortable with who they are, it also enables them to already have something in common with potential partners. After all, that is the primary criteria for the traditional sites like Match.com.
Niche dating sites create a dating community separate from traditional services, and the growing number of such sites demonstrates it is a great idea.
By Danny Scuderi
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