1. People & Relationships

Dating With a Disability

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Dating With a Disability

Sweets for the sweet.

Mangostock @ Dreamstime.com

Imagine for a moment that you are on your dream date. The two of you are having a great time, laughing while sharing a joke, enjoying great food, discussing issues that you are passionate about and perhaps thinking about a kiss at the end of the evening. Now imagine that same person you're admiring having a disability. Would you like them any less and would they be any less fun to be around? If you answered "no", then you're ready to date some of the most intriguing individuals in the world.

Emotional Issues

Recently disabled individuals may have a tougher time entering the dating scene because their sense of self and body image have been drastically altered. Emotional issues for them range from being worried about how people perceive them, to being worried that no one could ever really love them because they are somehow damaged. This doesn't mean that they aren't datable, rather they may prefer casual dates to get to know you better before switching to more serious ones.

Those who have lived with a disability for most of their adult lives may approach the dating scene differently. They've gone through a lot of difficult times and have come through the other side being a much stronger person. They are often more self-assured and independent than people who aren't disabled. They are ready and willing to face the dating scene head-on, and they're hoping to find someone who is as emotionally strong as they are.

Cultural Issues

Disabled people are treated differently from culture to culture. In some instances they are a disenfranchised group of people, relegated to the sidelines of life and ignored by the public in general. Their culture has taught them that they are damaged goods. However, this isn't the norm worldwide. Most individuals don't have to try and hide what makes them disabled, even if they have a physical disability.

Unfortunately some people who aren't disabled have a hard time accepting disabilities in others, especially if they live in a society that glorifies youth and beauty. They may feel uncomfortable and act inappropriately. People who are uncomfortable may make comments that seem uncaring, such as saying "Have you seen the flowers blooming outside?" to a blind person. However, it is important to know that most disabled people realize that they make others uncomfortable from time to time, and they're willing to forgive the occasional odd comment.

Dating a Disabled Person

Disabled people have the same feelings and anxieties when it comes to dating as any other person does. They also have a few additional things to worry about as a result of cultural and emotional issues. A disabled person wants the individual they are dating to see them as a whole person. They're hoping that you can see beyond their disability and realize what a great person they really are. They want to find a partner that values them for their unique abilities and talents. A disabled person doesn't want to be a pity date or a novelty that will quickly be discarded.

First Date Tips

If you want to date a disabled person, there are a few things you should know before you go on your first date:

  • Be aware of your date's needs. This doesn't mean that you have to be hovering over them, just be aware that they may need some assistance during the date. This may include holding the door open for them, assisting them getting in or out of a car and helping them getting their coat on or off. The very same things you would do for anyone else that you were trying to impress.

  • Be adaptable and allow the disabled person to set the pace. Depending upon their disability, they may want to walk slower or need to take breaks more often than you are used to. Conversely, they may surprise you with how quick they really are. It is also important to let them ask for help if they need it; some disabled people are fiercely independent and may not need any assistance at all.

  • Don't talk about their disability or pump them for information about it unless they bring the subject up. To them, being disabled isn't who they are, it is just a small part of their everyday life. Their disability may be an emotionally charged issue and not something they want to discuss on a first date.

  • Go on your date expecting to have a great time. Remember, a disabled person is just as anxious to have a great time on their date as you are. You'll know that you're on the right track when you stop thinking about your date as being disabled and find you're only thinking about what a wonderful person they really are.
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