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Logged In: Dating Websites, Apps Open Doors to Socializing for Those with Disabilities and Impairments

The internet contains a trove of sites where meetings and hookups can be accomplished with a touch of the keyboard – swipe right or swipe left, you decide.

But what about individuals looking for love or companionship who are disabled or impaired in some way?

The prevalence of dating sites for those with impairments might surprise some. The success rate of matchmakers on those sites likely will stun.

“Many disabled people are surprised to find love – but there are so many success stories out there, that there is no reason to be so hesitant,” wrote Laurel House and other dating experts for the blog The 10 Best Dating Sites.

“The reality is that there are advantages to dating someone who is disabled. Among them, there is no stronger bond in a relationship than that in which you can wholeheartedly trust your partner to be with you through thick and thin, through sickness and health,” House wrote with experts Ken Solin, James Preece, Erika Ettin, Nida Sea, Vanae Tran, and Carmelia Ray.

“A relationship with someone who is disabled already has that wonderful commitment to help and trust each other from the get-go,” the dating experts wrote.

“Before I found Disabled Mate, I had resigned myself to the idea that I’d be spending the rest of my life alone,” said John Simmons, a member of Disabled Mate, who found love on the platform. “Something told me to give the website [Disabled Mate] a try and I’m glad I did. Since joining, I’ve made several new friends and I feel good about the connections and friendships I’ve forged, including one with a special lady.”

Dating – or even “hooking up” has become much easier for those with impairments and disabilities through advanced technology, including new apps like Glimmer, which launched earlier this year. Designed to create a more transparent environment for people with disabilities, Glimmer, was founded by Geoffrey Anderson, who was inspired by his brother, who has cognitive disabilities. Anderson told Buzzfeed that he didn’t like that people felt the need to omit their disabilities on sites like Tinder, saying “The problem clearly isn’t the omission itself, it’s that having a disability is often stigmatized.”

Removing that stigma was very much the goal for Shari Stallman, 40, who wears a back brace to assist with adult idiopathic scoliosis – a condition that was only recently diagnosed. Stallman said that with her self-confidence near exhaustion, dating seemed unrealistic.

“I love to dance, and it has been part of my dating ritual for decades to go to parties, but I was too embarrassed to go out anymore since I started wearing the brace. Who would want to dance with me with my spine twisted?” Stallman told the Informer. “Even though I never considered myself ‘disabled’ it felt like a strike against my chances of meeting a good person if I admitted.”

Stallman said that instead, once she opened up to cyberdating on sites that catered to those with impairments or disabilities, it was pretty easy getting back to the dance floor.

“Things are so transparent that I can relax and simply enjoy the company of the other person. There are no judgments and no hiding, so it really is less superficial than traditional dating for me,” Stallman said.

For those seeking to find love or companionship online, recently compiled a list in which their experts called The Best Dating Sites for Those Who are Disabled.

They include Whispers4U, which has been around since 2002; Dating4Disabled, a free site that allows users to meet, date and share resources with other people with disabilities; Special Bridge, a private and family-owned and operated social community for those with disabilities; Disabled Passions, a social networking community that provides a variety of content related to disabilities and dating, including humorous videos, games and collected resources.

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