The Best Wheelchair Dating Website? A Member Shares Her Views

Wheelchair Dating Website

A Member Gives An Inside Look

Sometime ago, I interviewed Louise Maxwell, founder of Soulful Encounters, a free dating website for disabled people. I was so impressed with what she is doing, I asked if I could interview a member. Louise introduced me to Lynne, who is a member and also a volunteer D.J. for the website. Lynne kindly agreed to an interview. 

Eugene: Please tell us something about your disability. Why do you use a wheelchair? How long have you been using it?

Lynne: Back in November 2008 I was on my way to a work conference in which I was to give a presentation. On the way, a white-tailed deer buck bolted across the road and smashed into the side of my vehicle. This impact caused me to get a spinal cord injury in my neck. My spinal cord is injured from the C4 vertebrae through C7. This injury caused me to be quadriplegic. I am paralyzed from armpits down with little use of my arms and no use of my hands or fingers. I have used a wheelchair since then.

Eugene: How long have you been a member of Soulful Encounters? How did you find that website?

Lynne: I truly cannot remember exactly when I first found Soulful Encounters, but I want to say it was somewhere around 2012. At the time, I was searching the Internet for dating sites and communities specifically tailored towards people with disabilities. Having a disability can really be isolating, so I was looking for people that might be more understanding and accepting. Soulful Encounters came up in my Google search and I decided to check it out.

Eugene: I understand that you are a volunteer Disc Jockey there. Is that right? What exactly do you do?

Lynne: It is kind of funny, back when I found Soulful, I told Louise I would love to help her out anyway I could … except for DJing. Just felt weird thinking about having my voice being broadcast around. But, she asked, and here I am years later still DJing.

So yes, I do volunteer DJ Tuesday evenings. I am one of several volunteer DJs. I select a two-hour list of songs I want to play during my segment. Using special broadcasting software, I play the songs and in between chat a little bit with the people in the Soulful Encounters chat room. But people can listen to our music without being in the chat room by just going to

Eugene: What is your experience with Soulful Encounters as a member? Have you met many people there?

Lynne: I have been a member of Soulful for about 11 years or so. As you can imagine I have met a lot of different types of people. Everyone on the site has some sort of disability, so it’s very humbling learning about what other people deal with on a daily basis. There are members from all over the world, so I have met people from close to home, states throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

If you’re asking about relationships, over the years I have tried the long-distance type of thing, but they did not work out for me. I do know that romance does happen for members of Soulful, though. There are many people who have dated and some even have met their marriage partner on Soulful.

For me - more so than romance, Soulful Encounters has brought a great group of friends my way. I met my two best friends on the website. We’ve been friends for several years and text or talk quite frequently. These two people mean the world to me and I would have never met them without Soulful Encounters.

Eugene: How active is the site? Do you know how many active members there are?

Lynne: I do not know how many active members there are. On a whole website basis, I do not know how active the site is. I can tell you that chat is active pretty much only when the DJs are in the chat room and playing music. You don’t have to be in the chat room to listen to the music, but many of us like to hang out there and talk with each other and listen to music at the same time. 

Eugene: What do you like about it? What don't you like?

Lynne: I greatly appreciate that there is this environment where I, a person with a disability, can go and hang out and not worry about being judged for my disability. I can go in chat and talk about issues I’m having with my disability, or go there and just hang out with friends and ignore the fact that I have a disability. You know, just be a person. People get to know you, and look forward to your being there. It makes me feel good. There have been occasions where I have found a person to be dishonest and/ or manipulative (but you will find those kinds of people everywhere). Those type of people can put a damper on conversation for sure. But Louise is very good about monitoring the chat room and taking appropriate actions if there are people causing disruption.

Eugene: Do you have any advice for other people who are considering joining the website? What should they expect when they become a new member?

Lynne: Don’t be afraid to give it a try! The website is open to anyone with a disability, as well as family, friends, caregivers, and medical personnel that work with people with disabilities. A lot of people come looking for friendship or relationships and get to know others by looking through the profile pages of other members and chatting that way. I personally spend most of my time in the chat room and form friendships with people there. How ever one chooses to meet people on Soulful is fine, but just come on in and give it a try!

Membership to the site is free, which is wonderful. The registration process is really short but the site will not be open to a new member until Louise talks with them. Louise is very hands on, so when a new member joins, she will reach out to them by phone. She takes this opportunity to get to know the new member, tell them about Soulful a bit before they jump in, and weed out any imposters trying to access the site. After that, filling out their profile and adding a couple pictures helps other members of the site get to know them, as well.