The Secret Deafie: Should I reveal I’m deaf to people I date via the internet?

Posted on May 12, 2014

The Secret Deafie is a series of anonymous columns written by different writers. This one comes from a Deaf man who has tried internet dating…

I am a profoundly deaf oralist and have been since birth. I have been in various relationships with hearing people, but never a deaf person. No reason why not, just never met someone who interested me or was interested in me.

But then, I don’t really socialise in deaf circles. After a (long) while being single, I decided I would try the internet dating thing a try. A number of my (hearing) friends have had great success with them.

It was fun at first, writing a profile, and then looking for matches. I sent a few emails to them saying ‘hey, your profile looks great, reply if you like mine’ or some other cheesy line.

I even started chatting to a few people. So far, so good. Then we started talking about meeting up – this whole internet dating malarkey is paying off!

I arrange our first date, just a drink in a local pub. She arrived (which is a good start), I bought her a glass of wine and myself a pint of bitter. We sat down and started talking, firstly about the dating website and how we found it.

Then, after drinking about a quarter of our drinks, she suddenly went quiet and strange.

Oh dear! What have I said? Thinking back quickly through the conversation, could my job have put her off or did I inadvertently call her fat (she wasn’t)?

She then said she had to go to the loo! Ah! She has a gippy tummy! Understandably, she was nervous about meeting me – or so I thought!

So off to the loo she popped……and she never came back!

Oh dear! What have I done? It couldn’t have been my face, she saw my profile picture. So I was a bit bemused. The next day, I sent her an email asking what I had done wrong.

She replied back, apologetically and stated that she did not know I was deaf and it felt wrong to date a ‘vulnerable adult’!!

Needless to say, I was somewhat offended and blocked her.

OK, so a tweaking of my strategy is required. This time, I shall tell them I am deaf before we meet.

So the whole thing starts again. I got some views, people started messaging me and I hit it off with a few women….fantastic! Now comes the time to arrange dates, here I go.

‘Just so you aware, I am deaf, but don’t worry, I can still talk and communicate with you’.

Oh dear! Half of them never replied back to me after that.

Some of them replied back saying ‘Oh! That is not a problem for me!’ and then never replied back.

The rest continued talking for a while, but then either tailed off or ‘met someone else’.

Whether this is connected or not, I don’t know, but of the women who I was in conversation with, not one of them agreed to meet me after I revealed I was deaf.

OK, so a further tweaking is required. This time, I was upfront in my profile. I made it clear that I was deaf, but iterated that I did not need to bring an interpreter to any dates because I speak. Now this had an interesting response!

I had one woman email me saying that she understood about being deaf and dating as she had a kid! Hmm, yes that is exactly the same thing!

I even had a terp emailing me telling me that I was really brave for going on a hearing dating site!

The number of views stayed the same, but the number of people contacting me tailed off quite significantly. However, I still get an email every couple of weeks off a woman, and I have had a couple of very pleasant dates. I am now even waiting for a second date. She is hearing and very pretty!

So in summary, my advice is to be up front! Yes, you may get fewer responses, but in the long run it is far less hurtful.

Do you have a story or experience you’d like to share? If you’d like to write a Secret Deafie column, just email

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