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Difficulty Dating

Thursday, April 4, 2013
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Dear Miriam,

I am a person with Cerebral Palsy, and I would like to meet someone to date, preferably someone who sings and plays piano. I have tried J-Date and Match.com for years already, and they haven't worked for me. Any suggestions?

Signed,
Difficulty Dating


Dear Difficulty,

As anyone who reads this column, or, frankly, anyone who has lived in the world or ever talked to another human being, already knows, dating is hard. Pretty much everyone I've ever spoken with about dating has said some version of, "Dating is hard for me and me in particular because [fill in the blank]." Your specific concern might present more challenges than many of the people who usually talk to me about dating, and I in no way want to minimize what you're going through. However, ultimately, my advice is going to be pretty much the same whether you have Cerebral Palsy, or you're shy to the point of social anxiety, or you have horrible acne, or a speech impediment, or if you just feel like you're the last one of your friends to be single and you've exhausted the local dating pool. The bottom line is that you have to put yourself in situations where you can meet the greatest number of potential dates who have the greatest likelihood of fitting with what you're looking for while you, simultaneously, have a strong likelihood of fitting with what they're looking for.

Go to local events for singles. Go to all kinds of Jewish events and events for people who like music and other kinds of gatherings where you imagine people with interests similar to yours might hang out. Go to concerts and clubs and shows at venues outside of your usual stomping grounds. Since the online dating thing, where dating is the explicit goal, hasn't been working for you, try to make friends with people first rather than jumping right into dating. See if, in a group setting with friends, you may be able to make some more solid connections with people who fit your type. Think back on the most successful social interactions of your adult life and identify what made them successful and how you can recreate those circumstances for yourself. As much as possible, focus on being positive and friendly and open to meeting new people, and dating may grow out of those experiences rather than being forced onto a situation.

Here's where my advice for you differs, though: Perhaps you could look into specific resources in your community for individuals with CP. Find a support system that will connect you with others who share some common set of experiences with you. Look to them for suggestions about friendship and dating, and learn from others' successes and struggles. You may even meet someone to date through these new contacts or mutual friends, and you might find new ways to bolster your social connections. Either way, it sounds like you could use a break from the online dating thing, and it may be time to put yourself among new sets of people and see what happens.

Be well,
Miriam

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