Dating match site physical handicaps

Ricky Durham founded Prescription 4 Love in 2006, inspired by his late brother Keith, who lived with Crohn's disease for 15 years before passing away in 2004. Though he doesn't find it appropriate to be a member of a community he founded, he says he can empathize with his members.

"He was a good-looking boy, and he could find dates, but when do you tell someone you have a colostomy bag? "It's nice to find someone who's going through what you're going through," he says.

(Access to the site's full features is available for per year.

That's substantially cheaper than sites like and e Harmony, which can cost upwards of per month.) "To me, that's pressure right there," says Robert Watson, the executive director of the nonprofit dating service Date Able.org, which caters primarily to those with physical and mild psychiatric handicaps.

All of these can make dating -- often an ego-shattering minefield for those in perfect health -- even trickier.

"On bigger dating sites the competition is tremendous," says Jim Houran, Ph D, a clinical psychologist and columnist for Online Dating Magazine.

Let's face it: How do you drop that bomb on a potential love interest? She considered a number of online dating venues, but she says asked too many questions on its enrollment form, e Harmony was too "religious," and My Space was too much of a "hookup zone." "I wanted to meet men with my same diagnosis so we wouldn't [need to] have 'the talk,' or fear of rejection and transmitting," she says.

"Most of us with this don't wish to spread it." Despite -- or perhaps because of -- the economic downturn, the billion-dollar online dating industry has been booming. While sites like and e Harmony don't discriminate, they also don't cater to people like Lana who are coping with sexually transmitted diseases, disabilities, or mental health conditions.

Since then, she has "kind of been hiding" from the dating scene.

For that fee, members get a more personalized experience, as Date Able is more akin to an old-school matchmaking service.

The organization has been responsible for almost 1,000 marriages, according to Watson.

People with mental health problems, from chronic depression to schizophrenia, have also benefited from specialized sites.

Jim Leftwich, 39, a college librarian from White Plains, New York, has lived with schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines features of schizophrenia and mood disorders (such as depression), since 1992.

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Both sites require members to disclose their illnesses upfront, clearing the air for what might be a deal-breaking revelation later.

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