"But I probably knew everybody in my community and nobody I knew wanted to date me or vice versa.Lynn lived 60 miles away, but we made it work." By pushing a "friends first" concept, which has been emulated in the communal blog and forum features of Prescription 4 Love, No Longer Lonely, and other illness-specific sites, Date Able members can get up to speed on the dating world in a familiar environment without the prying eyes of the Web.Over the past five years, several sites -- such as Prescription4love.com, Nolongerlonely.com, and -- have launched to serve the needs of people with conditions ranging from bipolar disorder to Crohn's disease.Together these sites now boast tens of thousands of members."It's easier to get rejected via email, and you can take baby steps online without hunting outside." Though Prescription 4 Love didn't yield any dates for Lana, this fast-growing online community offers an alternative to mainstream dating sites for thousands of singles.Now three years old, the site currently has 8,000 members who represent nearly 40 health conditions ranging from genital herpes (2,425 members) to Tourette's syndrome (32 members). "He was having a hard time with that, so I thought if he could find someone who had the same disease, or someone with a colostomy bag, he wouldn't really have to discuss that." Since launching the site, Durham, 48, who previously dabbled in the stock market and worked as a bartender, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
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.
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.
As one of its first members, he should know: He met his wife, Lynn, at a Date Able Valentine's Day party in 1988.
"I didn't want to try it," says Watson, who has moderate cerebral palsy and was working as a national project director for the United Cerebral Palsy Association at the time.