Today’s post takes a more literal look at our theme of “Matchmaking Month,” as Sharifa writes about actual matchmaking sites online. As we discussed in last week’s #HAchat – telling someone you’re romantically interested in that you’re living with a health condition – is not something anyone looks forward to. The conversation itself is scary and anticipation of the recipient’s response might be even scarier. When you’re thinking of love and romance – the last thing you want to focus on is the tough challenge of living with a symptoms, treatment, and the weight of self-care. Perhaps this is the exact thought behind the creation of certain dating sites that are especially tailored to patients who are chronically ill. Just as there are sites dedicated to members of certain religious groups or centered around particular hobbies – these patient-dating sites reveal a few of the important facts about each of the members’ lives – just related to their health instead. Let’s look at what these sites aim to accomplish and how they compare and contrast to our own patient-to-patient health communities. –Amanda
Finding Love Online as Patients
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day! At the mere sight of those words, I am certain many people’s minds wander to thoughts of hearts, roses, stuffed animals, chocolate, jewelry, etc. – physical manifestations of romance or love or infatuation, whatever the case maybe.
In this post, I will not be adopting that angle. I refuse to dwell on the commercial idealistic aspect of the day. Instead, I invite you to explore with me the world of matchmaking specifically the realm created for those who are ill and thus feel challenged when it comes to dating, making special connections and finding love.
You have seen this phrase on a television commercial in the past probably: “1 in 5 new relationships begin on an online dating site.” I can not help but wonder if this statistic is reflective of those who are chronically ill as well. Given the rise of websites such as Ostodate, Prescription4Love and Whispers4u, I suspect the number might be higher for those who feel constrained by their disease/s.
‘I have not heard of these websites. What exactly are these websites?’ Already, I can sense questions forming. Before I take any, let me tell you how I would describe these sites and then we can move on from there. These are all online dating and/or friendship sites for people who suffer from certain diseases, who have distinct health ailments and/or who are interested in the aforementioned.
Someone who is not afflicted with an illness may inquire how these websites are different from the traditional set, for example Match.com and eHarmony? To a person who considers himself/herself healthy the majority of the time, the distinctions may not be very clear. However, they are present. Here, are some of the unique qualities of dating websites targeted at people with health conditions/ illnesses offer various communities and what an asset they are to their users.
- To start with, websites that cater to people with health conditions eliminate the need for the dreaded ‘awkward conversation’ of revealing an illness to another person.
- Users of these sites are more likely to find support, rather than rejection. I admit, that sentence sounds harsh. After researching this topic, I have to say it is an unfortunate but because it is a real fear for those living with health conditions – this is a comforting quality.
- By dating or befriending someone else who is familiar with the disease, the educating phase isn’t necessary. The majority of stereotypes, misconceptions, and stigma that could potentially come into play are removed. Interactions can, instead, focus around more in-depth conversation.
- These websites offer reassurance to users as they know there is a place where they can possibly find love without judgment, and through this, the health condition is no longer a defining component of their profile. It offers an even playing field for those on the site.
It’s important to keep in mind that many people truly are hesitant about letting others know they are sick for a variety of reasons. There are enough things to worry about when beginning a new relationship – without adding apprehension about revealing your condition to others. For the same reasons many patients go online to find a community of those who understand – these sites aim to accomplish the same thing.
Are you in this situation or do you know someone who has been? What do you think of the idea of condition-specific dating sites? Share your thoughts with us.
I think this is a fitting conclusion to today’s post: We all yearn to love/ find love and human connection regardless of our perceived individual boundaries.
Happy Matchmaking Month all.