Let's be honest: dating is tough. The process of meeting someone, getting to know them, and connecting and building a relationship is enough to leave someone disheartened. When you have a disability this process along with the societal pressure to be at a particular stage in your life can be overwhelming. The social constraints of being an individual with a disability while dating are obstacles that sometimes have no outcome. It can all be worth it if you’re able to find someone who accepts every piece of you — and that happens more often than you might think.
First, a disclaimer: I’m no dating expert. I’ve never been in a relationship, and I have never been kissed, and like everyone else out there, I’m figuring out things as I go along. I’m a sex-positive person; I respect and understand the hookup culture, sex work, not having sex before marriage, etc.… It is a personal choice.
Stigmas around disability is a natural part of life for an individual with a disability; we encounter it every day, and dating is no different. This has been the biggest obstacle for me. It is very discouraging to know that stigma around disability is still prevalent in our society. I’ve become best friends with rejection; my own and others. Am I good enough? Will anyone ever love me? How could anyone love me? I’m very open about having a disability, and I embrace it, but it’s tough to navigate that self-confidence in a society that still sees having a disability as a weakness. Individuals with disabilities have been factored out as potential romantic partners because of societies perception of disability. Media Representation ignores the fact that individuals with disabilities have the same emotional needs and desires as able-bodied individuals. Not every individual with a disability is asexual as society paints us to be.
I can’t speak for the people who have rejected me as to why they didn’t want to date me; maybe it was timing, or perhaps it was because they didn’t see me as a potential partner. But, I always ask myself the same question: is it my disability?
Also, I’m just putting this out there: the idea of friendships changing after you tell someone you like them is bullshit. There should be a level of maturity and a space to talk about these feelings where it doesn’t change the context of the friendship.
I’ve always desired to have a partner; someone who loves me unconditionally because of who I am and what I’ve been through. And God wouldn’t put these desires in my heart for the pain and heartbreak, right?
Dating with a disability is possible, but it’s not easy either.
My best advice: put yourself in uncomfortable places, put yourself out there, be honest and vulnerable and hopefully these will lead you to the right partner.
Hey lovelies! I’m Mary, a 25-year-old writer. I love a sunny day on the beach and jamming out to music. I created Dishability to engage in conversations around my struggle with Depression/Anxiety and Bipolar 2 as well as being a Queer, Disabled Woman.