It’s pretty much the general consensus that dating is a nerve-racking experience. No one is immune to those pesky feelings of nervousness and insecurity that plague us on a first date.
Dating can be especially hard on those living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis because their plaques or immobility tend to amplify their self-consciousness. They also have the added challenge of determining when would be the best time to reveal (and then consequently explain…thoroughly) their condition to their date.
After all, no one truly understands what it’s like to live with psoriatic disease unless they have it too. But what are the chances of finding another single person in your community who also has psoriasis? Well, we can’t give you an exact number, but the chances are now greater.
We found a free dating site created exclusively for singles with psoriatic disease called Psoriasis Singles.
Yes, thanks to the popularity of sites like Match and Tinder, online dating is no longer an embarrassing secret but a culturally acceptable method for meeting new people.
And with 7.5 million Americans living with psoriatic disease, it was only a matter of time before someone created a dating site to help them find love. That person is Archana Gowda, a software engineer from Maryland who is living with psoriasis.
“I’ve had psoriasis for over 25 years now, so I’m very aware of the heartache that comes with it, especially dating,” Gowda said. “When I went on dates, I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I felt super guilty that I was withholding this secret from them. I was bothered by how they’d react to it. I felt like I couldn’t be myself.”
She found online discussion forums for people living with psoriasis but no dating sites, so she decided to create one herself. After launching the site last year, Psoriasis Singles has quickly grown to hundreds of members from all across the country who range in age from 18 to 79.
“I wanted a platform for people to be themselves and not have to worry about being judged or rejected based on a condition that they have no control over,” Gowda said. “I just wanted those anxieties taken away because it can be extremely liberating to be yourself and know that you are not alone. If you can find someone else who has it, it takes away all of that self-doubt.”
Gowda doesn’t have a Psoriasis Singles profile because she’s “so focused on keeping it up and running for others that I’m not really dating, but maybe someday,” she said. “I do have my story on the website, and because of that, I get a lot of messages from people talking about their struggles of growing up with it.”
She remembers a message from a gentleman who wrote that when he started dating his ex-wife, he did not have psoriasis. But after he developed psoriasis, she just couldn’t understand it and left him. “He was talking about all the heartbreak he’s gone through, how women just don’t understand his condition and that this is a great platform for people to make friends or just talk about it,” Gowda said. “That alone makes the site worth it to me.”
Psoriasis Singles functions like a typical dating site in that you create a username and password, upload a photo and fill out a profile before you are propelled into the so-called virtual dating pool. As you sift through profiles, you can send someone “smiles” as a way of letting them know you’re interested, or you can message them directly.
Eventually, phone numbers are exchanged, a meeting place is arranged, and before you know it, you’re on that stereotypically awkward first date.
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.