Do You Disclose a Disability When Making an Online Dating Profile?
Everyone wonders just how much information to include in an online dating profile, and people with disabilities are no different. On Reddit, we’ve seen this subject matter pop up a lot in a few subreddits: Should you post pictures of yourself in a wheelchair? How do you avoid being contacted by people who are more interested in asking you questions than actually dating you? If you don’t mention that you have a disability in your “About Me” section, do you need to bring it up? If so, when?
A handful of Reddit users have recently posed these questions and more, and users with disabilities have responded to share their experiences and opinions when it comes to online dating. It seems to come down to this: do what makes you feel comfortable. Here are how a few Redditors go about it:
1. Have a sense of humor
“In my profile I had a joking disclaimer that I’m in a wheelchair. I joked about how it will guarantee that we get awesome parking and a few other light-hearted jokes. I also made sure to include at least one picture of myself in my wheelchair. It didn’t seem to hurt with my responses and prevent me from finding dates. It’s a lot easier to be upfront and not have to have some awkward conversation about it before meeting or when meeting.”
2. Embrace your disability
“I am a 31-year-old male who has had a C4/5 complete spinal cord injury for 12 years. So I’m a quad[riplegic]. I have used online dating on and off for at least six years … I found that it’s not a matter of finding the best website to post on, but having the best approach for your profile. As you noted, it’s important to disclose your disability properly so that a) you don’t scare anyone off, and b) you are[n’t] viewed as hiding anything. There’s nothing wrong with a disability, and you should be happy with yourself! Show who you are, which includes honest pictures of yourself.”
3. Be completely blunt
“I am very upfront about my disability, my profile pic is of me in my wheelchair and I always make sure guys know what they are getting into before meeting me. Yes, my forwardness might detract potential dates, but it saves that awkward conversation.”
4. Bring it up whenever you please
“I’m a mid-30s male with rheumatoid arthritis. When I’m in the midst of a flare I can become pretty non-mobile. However, when my RA isn’t flaring I can mostly pass for non-disabled so when I was online dating I struggled with whether to put it in my profile. I ultimately decided to not include it but that led the the next problem of when I should disclose. I usually did so on a second or third date. I felt bringing it up during the first date would suggest to the other person that I was really hung-up on it and that it would seem like a bigger deal than it is.”
“I did not include any pictures of me in my wheelchair because I have been made to feel uncomfortable by people who fetish-ize people with disabilities. I made sure to mention it right away once someone [messaged] me though.”
“I am a  year old female with quadriplegia myself, and I used to be on an online dating site. What I did was mention who I was without mentioning the disability until the end of the “about me” section. That way, if someone thought I seemed interesting, he could have a few thoughts before just skipping my profile because of my disability.”
If you’re a person with a disability who uses online dating sites, do you feel you have to disclose your disability in your profile? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.