Dating with a disability
Dating is hard: getting to know someone and building a connection can be nerve-wracking. As differently abled, those obstacles triple. I’ve had my share of trouble finding love.
Tons of questions
Physical limitations are a part of a disabled person’s life. We often have a routine to make things easier. When it comes to dating, minor things can require major planning and preparation. Where do we get an appropriate taxi? Does the building have an elevator? Does the restaurant have a ramp? Is it too noisy or crowded to move around freely? All these things and more have to be taken to account.
Piggy-back up the stairs
I remember looking forward to a date with this hot guy. When the evening came, I was unable to get to his apartment for dinner because of the stairs. Although he offered a piggyback ride up, I started having a panic attack and could barely speak. He didn’t make it a big deal, making light jokes of the situation that kept me giggling on our way up.
I was embarrassed. And this is one of many dating stories I would never tell if I didn’t use crutches.
The biggest obstacle to dating for me is social perceptions. I always find that people think I’m asexual or un-dateable.
I wish people knew that people with disabilities are just like everyone else, with a few barriers.
Rejections and self-acceptance
I’ve done my share of online dating and while it was is fun at times, I’ve experienced rejection, too. I always try to reveal my disability in a casual manner. Sometimes, I disclose it on my profile, going as far as adding a sexy picture with my crutches into the mix.
But the most important thing is that I accept myself. In the words of pop singer Anne Marie ‘Love every single part of my body, top to the bottom. Am not a supermodel from a magazine, am okay with not being perfect cause that’s perfect to me.’
My dating life has been bittersweet. I tend to meet men who are uncomfortable with my disability. They stop conversations once they find out. And then there are the ones who give you the awkward one-liner ‘oh, I’ve never had sex with a disabled person before‘. Or my favourite ‘you’re too pretty to be disabled.’
Thankfully, there have been a few guys who willingly accepted my disability, sharing information about us dating with their friends and family, simply assisting me whenever I needed it. Even if those dates didn’t turn out to be long-term relationships, I learnt a valuable lesson.
Don’t give up
For every person who rejected me for my disability, there was a person who didn’t. Dating with a disability is always a challenge, whether it’s online or blind dates. Don’t be afraid to make a connection. Don’t let the rejections get you down. That’s just part of life, no matter who you are.
If finding a partner is important to you, don’t give up. Remember, one has to kiss many frogs before finding a prince!
Do you have questions about dating with a disability? Head to our discussion board where our moderators can give you some pointers.