This post was written and contributed by Jim Leftwich, who is the CEO and Founder of https://www.nolongerlonely.com. Please be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!
My name is Jim Leftwich, I am the CEO and founder of Nolongerlonely.com, which is a dating site for adults with mental illness. I’m pretty much the only person doing this. When I tell people I run such a business I get a broad array of mostly positive responses. The vast majority see it as a nice gesture, something that is needed that will help others, but I do get resistance and the reasons that I find informative.
The most insidious is an eugenic claim that posits that a couple both having a genetic disposition to pass on “bad” genes makes my site an irresponsible venture. People with serious mental illness do indeed have an elevated chance of passing on to their children their SRI. A couple with the same genetic disposition multiplies the odds. Such worries obviate the confidence that an adult couple can make responsible decisions for themselves.
A majority of such couples take such concerns quite seriously, and a majority will probably elect to skip having children. Regardless, the idea of living a life with mental illness is a life worth living. Another argument I’ve needed to mitigate is the one that combining two adults with a mental illness is a geometric argument for more dysfunction. A “joke” site on the web singled my site out as one of the “worst ideas for a dating site” (alongside ones for prisoners and STD carriers). Their juvenile idea was that 1+1 crazy equals exponential crazy. All relationships are complicated but I think people in therapy are more in touch with their feelings than the average group. Ironically, that “joke” site has sent me thousands of genuine customers in the years since that publication.
The saddest reason for people skipping my site is the idea that love for them is somehow impossible. The dating pool can be toxic to many people. Factoring in a significant mental illness the experience can be quite discouraging. Mental illness can breed shame and a sense of low worth that leads one to question if romance is even a possibility for them. I can interject here that the history of Nolongerlonely.com eliminates such a notion. We’ve fostered dozens of marriages and countless significant relationships.
A final note I’d like to convey is that Nolongerlonely.com should not be considered a final solution. It should be seen as a part of a strategic arsenal in the effort to find a significant other. I was encouraged by a recent talk I held at a clubhouse where half the room raised their hand to indicate they’d used traditional dating sites. As it should be, dating is to a large extent a numbers game. Nolongerlonely.com will never have the reach of a Match.com or an eHarmony.com. A well equipped single carrying a diagnosis should be hopeful about finding a serious partner.