It’s important to get yourself out there and practice dating

Please welcome Teri Thorson (42) as the one that had a great experience in online dating.

I tried three different online dating sites, one free and two paid. On the free one, I wrote in my profile that I was in a wheelchair, for the paid ones I did not mention anything until some contact was made. I wanted to see if this would make any difference in the type of guy that was attracted to me. I chose the free site for full disclosure in my profile as I knew I would have to sort through a lot more profiles than on the paid ones, which make the matches for you based on personality questionnaire.

In the end, I did have to weed out a lot more profiles from the free site. But, I did go on more dates. All in all, it didn’t seem to matter if my profile said that I was in a chair or not. Both approaches provided me with the same match results, the same types of men interested in me.

Although none of those matches from online dating resulting in a relationship, I met some new, interesting and nice people. you just never know where you will find them, or what a random online message might bring. And I believe it’s important to get yourself out there and practice dating so you’re ready when you meet the right one for you.

Interestingly, I did meet my husband on a social media site. I had moved to Victoria and only knew a couple of people. I was looking to make some new connections, so I turned to Myspace, and that’s how we met. We’re no longer together, but our wonderful son turned five this year.

Bonus tips in knowing people types on online dating sites

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Let’s talk some scammers, Chair Chaser, Devotee, or just a plain Creep. Whatever you want to call them, be careful. We’re sure some devotees have a harmless fetish, but in other instances the attraction to and sexualization of disability can range from unsettling to dangerous.

The internet really is a web; it’s easy to hide your identity behind a friendly photo and an online persona. People with disabilities can also be targeted by scammers offering up romantic words while seeking to part you from your cash. Stay safe and have fun!

Trust your gut.

Are they making you feel uncomfortable? Are they confessing their love too quickly, or pressuring you to leave the dating site and chat through private messaging? Remember, it’s the internet, it isn’t rude to be up front. Stand your ground, or simply don’t respond. Be your own advocate.

Ask questions.

Do their photos look suspiciously professional? Googling “reverse image search” can show you how to check if their private photos exist elsewhere online. If you have their name, look them up on social media. Are they who they say they are? Some people are great at crafting personas and fake profiles on Facebook. Check your facts and tread lightly.

Play it safe.

If you decide you want to meet in person, do so in a public place, or with friends. Are things not going as you hoped? Pick up your phone and use the old standby: “What? There’s a family emergency? OK… I’ll be right there”.

Don’t always judge a book by its cover.

Though photos can be a telltale sign, they are often mistaking. Unfortunately, capturing our multi-faceted selves in a short online profile isn’t a perfect science. Allow for a slight margin of error.

Have fun!

In the end, you’re going to go through a lot of people, devotees and scammers, or not. Don’t just settle. Date a lot. Meet new people. And find someone that makes you feel as awesome as you are.

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