Your mind is racing with doubts and what ifs. What if people see my profile picture of me in a wheelchair and no one messages me? What if I just don’t mention my disability, but they happen to find out? What if they treat me differently? What if they can’t overlook the fact that I’m disabled. No more what ifs.
If you are single and disabled, chances are that you’ve had these doubts before. You opt to crop your pictures and only show the upper half of your body so no one will see your disability. You hide your disability until you’re in a situation where it’s impossible to hide it anymore. Don’t hide it.
Whether your disability is visible or invisible; newly disabled or have been all your life, it is very possible to date. Sure, superficiality does exist in certain narrow-minded people, but there are some out there who can genuinely look past your disability. It’s all about having the right mindset, finding the right person, putting yourself out there and communication.
If you are on a dating website and are unsure of whether you should add your disability to your bio, the answer is: you should. Make your disability visible to other online users on dating websites. Don’t hide behind your laptop. Put your disability in your bio with a lighthearted joke. Don‘t crop out your picture to hide the fact that you‘re in a wheelchair. Be your whole self and nothing but that. People will be attracted to you just for being open and honest.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Rejection hurts for anyone, but people with disabilities tend to expect more rejection. If you’re attracted to someone as equally attracted to you, communication is all that you need to make the relationship work. Ignorance, prejudice and social pressures might threaten your relationship, but having an open and honest relationship will help you and your partner to overcome those barriers. Be upfront about your expectations. Let them know how you expect to be seen and treated, and if those prejudices can’t be overcome then move onto the next person or get a counselor if your partner is willing to work on themselves. You will find love!
Don’t be closed-minded. Often times, disabled people like to appear invulnerable and over-independent. It is okay to ask for help and be dependent. You risk driving your partner away if you do not truly express yourself. Don’t shut anyone out. They may think you don’t need them or anyone else. It is okay to show emotion and dependence even as a disabled person. You are only human, and a open-minded person will understand that.
Dating can be tough when you are disabled. The normal expectations of a relationship can be muddled when they come with terms and conditions, but with honest and open communication, confidence and an open-minded partner, relationships are possible even if you are disabled.
Photo Credit: David Amsler