Tara Sethi: The pitfalls of online dating

Posted on December 10, 2012



“Hi. I’m a single, easy going girl looking for someone to have fun with….”

The ever common sentence on dating websites – my profile included!

There is an ever increasing number of people that use online dating in the search to meet new people and potentially start a relationship, especially as lifestyles have changed and more and more people are simply too busy. My excuse is that I work long hours, and commute to London from Surrey, and that all my closest friends live in various parts of the country so I don’t get out locally! I had tried online dating previously, with some dates, but it just didn’t work and this one incident put me off…..

It is hard enough to “meet” people online, trawling through profiles, and more often than not, making that first contact with someone purely based on their profile pictures. However, I have an additional issue. I am profoundly deaf. Now, previously, I had taken the approach of not putting anything on my profile- only due to typical stereotype reactions of “oh she’s deaf, she can’t talk etc”. I can talk, I can hear, and I have a normal life, and have always been in the hearing community. So I chose not to disclose this on my profile, or even when I was in contact with someone via email through the site. Instead, I always either told people when we first met on the date, or if it wasn’t an issue, then later.

This is where my hesitance to get back into online dating resides. I went out with this guy last summer. We emailed, had great conversations, and then met in a bar for the first date. It went really well, no awkwardness. Second date, we meet for dinner. We are holding hands etc, and then he covers his mouth while talking. I ask him to move his hand, and he questions this. I explain I am deaf and that I need to lip read. He sits back in his chair, defensive body language and says I lied. I mislead him. I’m now thinking, well, he didn’t even realise before, and knows me, so why is this suddenly an issue? I got up and walked away.

This shocked me. I knew there was ignorance. I knew there are prejudices. His loss, not mine. It’s hard doing online dating let alone having people react like this and to further demotivate you. I quit online dating and decided to focus on those around me who have been there for me and know me as myself, not as a deaf person.

However, I’m now trying it again. But a question now remains in my head. How do I approach the issue of deafness? Then again, speaking to friends and family, I realise, what’s normal? Everyone has issues. Some are more obvious than others. Some are trivial relative to others. At the end of the day, I know that I have achieved a lot in my life to date and I refuse to let this guy’s attitude/ignorance stop me from doing what I want to do with my life and to stop me being sociable and wanting to meet new people.

So here goes, a second time round….fingers crossed!

(PS the guy is still on the dating site, so maybe he has issues!!)

Tara Sethi is an Environmental Consultant working in the City of London, living in the Surrey countryside. She loves travelling, socialising and is passionate about charity work, having helped deaf charities for over 15 years. She is a profoundly deaf CI user.

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