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Upfront and personal – how much should we share?

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A man in a wheelchair meeting a woman

When I was online dating, I was contacted by a chap whose intelligent, engaging and hilarious emails promptly won me over. When we finally decided to meet, he wanted to’ warn’ me he had a disability. He alluded to it in his profile (‘ I have some physical difficulties’) and invited questions, but since I didn’t consider it relating to our friendship- after all, it didn’t prevented from writing brilliant emails that constructed me laugh and think- I never asked. In any case, I felt it was his prerogative to talk about it if and when he wanted to. I wasn’t fazed by the revelation of his disability and, although romance didn’t blossom, our friendship continues to this day.

One of the problems with online dating is that we often uncover too much, too soon. After all, if you fulfill person at church or at a party, you don’t instantly tell them all about your personal health issues- it’s something that naturally comes out as you grow in relationship and trust. Many people, including Christians, may be intimidated by the prospect of a relationship with someone who has major health battles and could take the easy option by skipping to the next profile. But in real life, once person to believe you, it becomes less of an issue.

So I don’t think it’s dishonest not to write about a health condition and disability benefits in your dating profile- but, like my friend, you may want to mention it when you decide to meet person, or after a couple of dates.

On the other hand, people can surprise us. I remember a lovely tale in the press about a young lady going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, who wrote a super-honest dating profile.’ Bald, possibly infertile girl, 30, would like to meet a handsome, caring male with good sense of humour, ’ she put, alongside photographs of herself with and without hair. She said that she’ didn’t want to have the conversation several dates down the line’, so she preferred to be up-front. The biggest surprise, she said, was’ get responses from a nicer, better-looking and more genuine-seeming crop of men than I had a few years earlier[ when she was well ]. ’ The men liked her franknes and humour, and she ended up in a relationship with a nice chap.

I supposed it truly boils down to what we feel most comfortable with. If you have a health condition or disability and you’re wondering how much to share up front, go with your intestine. Or perhaps experiment with editing your profile to sometimes include the information, and sometimes not, and see what happens.

One warning: it’s wise to be aware of attracting people who might see you as vulnerable and easy to manipulate- or, indeed, someone who wants to’ save’ you. But you may also hear from a lovely, empathetic person who doesn’t see your condition as an obstacle to a relationship, and considers you for whom you: a person worth knowing and loving!

Read more: blog.christianconnection.com

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