Is disability a dating dealbreaker?
After a few giggles and a heartfelt kiss from my love, I then, of course, had to plunge further into explaining why it is I am dating Ali, a woman whom I have fallen in love with as opposed to someone who is able-bodied.
This topic had us returning to this conversation several times throughout the night. The truth is, other than the one exchange I had with my father several months into the relationship; I never put much thought into it before that night.
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I spoke with Ali about it over the next few mornings, and she made a comment that I felt to be fairly profound. After she said that I reflected for a while and remembered some of the questions my father had asked.
She has asked multiple times since we've been dating to elaborate my perspective of what it has been like for me to date a woman in a wheelchair, a question I placed little energy towards answering thoughtfully until now. Miami bound! This past September, we were all packed and on the road for a three-week vacation.
I had never imagined myself dating someone in a wheelchair. It previously never crossed my mind.Answering Questions: Dating A Disabled Lesbian...! #EndTheAwkward [CC]
My father may have pointed out how most of the people he knows would shy away from a date from fear of not relating, but also pointed out why I did. Ali and I were already talking to one another before we initially met.
I had read her dating profile and reached out to her after finding that we share a very similar outlook on life. The real question at the time was, did the chair bother me?
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Clearly, I am in love with the women, so, no it did not deter me from dating her. When we first met, Ali was exceedingly careful and cautious in how she introduced me to those more personal areas of her life.
There are obviously things that needed the introduction in the beginning. She slowly educated me on things like her catheter issues, wheelchair issues, general, spinal cord injury issues, sex, etc. From the very beginning to present day I have enjoyed every single minute with her.
Dating a disabled woman
Just as people have to take a shower every day, so does Ali, but just in a different way. I suppose this may scare off some men who want to date women who are able-bodied or conform to societal norms, etc.
Ali is unique in every way possible. She has a spinal cord injury, but it is not who she is.
She has never let it take over her identity. Two years ago I decided to move back home to work in the family business from a job I loved, which left little time for social interactions to turn meaningful. So, after a few weeks of settling in, I was sitting at the desk I had just set up in my office, stirring a spoon of honey into my morning coffee when this surreal feeling hit me.
One of the things I promised myself this time around in life was to not set any trivial relationship expectations.
I find expectations often lead to disappointments, which I had experienced in the past. So, I chose first to establish my own set of relationship goals and boundaries that are important to me. So, after taking some time of gathering my thoughts and putting myself back out on the market, we found each other.
That fear is understandable.
But once they got offline - meeting in a pub one evening - things seemed to change. I was so shocked that I immediately left. But many of the negative reactions stem from ignorance or awkwardness around disability - or simply unfamiliarity with even speaking to a disabled person.
This month, the disability charity Scope ran a poll of people in the UK asking: Have you ever been on a date with a disabled person who you met through a dating website or app? Previous research also showed almost eight out of 10 people in Britain have never invited a disabled person to any social occasion.
Add dating and sex into that equation and the belief that disability equates to being sexless, different - or inferior, even - can feel a powerful prejudice to tackle.
Andy Trollope, 43, was paralysed from the chest down in after a motorcycle accident.
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He says he found each as frustrating as the other. I was spending literally hours on the sites - for two years - and I got two dates out of it. It must be because of the wheelchair. Jones similarly craves honesty.
She has been talking to someone new on Tinder.
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