Thursday, April 26, 2018

Guest Post - Disability Dating

This is a first for the blog! A guest post! Meghan sent me the idea and I thought it was great and figured this different perspective would be eye opening. I mean, plenty of people like to think they know everything but why not hear from someone actually experiencing it? Anyway, on to the post.

I think I should start this by saying I've never been on a date nor have I been in a meaningful relationship with somebody. I don't know how to date in this technology ruled world that we live in, the whole swipe left or right, it just kind of makes my eyes roll. I will say I'm not fully against the new ways, because it seems people are still going on dates and finding spouses. My views are different, because I'm different. I have a physical disability and that makes dating difficult. For those of you who are nervous about going on a date with somebody with a disability. I'd like for you to think about their needs, and what kind of limitations they have, because that's really important. If you've been talking to this person for months, and they've been totally open about their disability, then take that into consideration before figuring out what you two could do for a first date. Yes, going out to dinner sounds like the ideal setting, but you have to realize that your date could be absolutely terrified to eat out in public. They might be able to pick up a fork and spoon by themselves but it's the eyes you'd have to watch out for, would you be able to deal with it as much as the other person? And the second thing is, are you comfortable with the possibility of feeding your date if they are not able to do so? People with disabilities are usually open enough to tell you what they can do from the get go, what kind of limitations they have in both their upper and lower body. If a person has issues with their upper body, like say they can't unclench their fingers (making a fist), they can still use their fingers but being able to grip something like a paint brush or a golf club would be really difficult for them. You also have to realize that they may not be able to rearrange their bodies as easily, but just because you see them struggling, it doesn't mean you should assume that they can't do it, one way or another they will eventually figure out what works for them. So you'd need to work on your own patience, because most people would not only give up on them, but that'll definitely be the end of the date for you. Now say somebody has issues with their lower body. They may either use braces or sit on a manual wheelchair, so even though they're mobile, it doesn't always mean that they'll be up to go-karting with you! However, it's not entirely out of the question, they might be fearless and do it anyways! You'd still have to be able to help and lift them if the activity is physically challenging. One thing that I'd keep in mind is that people with disabilities are usually mischievous and will likely agree to anything at least once in their life, so if you are throwing ideas of things to do together, they'll most likely chose the most outlandish activity out there, but nine times out of ten, they'll only say it to show you up! I think people are usually surprised to find that disabled people are just like them. They have the same needs and wants as everybody else. So I think we should discuss who pays? I think it's only fair that the person who comes up with the activity and plans it out is the one who pays, but if your date wants to help pay the bill, let them! Don't be the hero in this, it will be good for their self-esteem if you'd just let it go. Lastly, do you have sex on the first date? Well, just because a person has a disability doesn't mean they can't, like I said, we have needs too! It would ultimately be up to the both of you, is his/her disability too challenging to have sex? They would generally tell you, but it pretty much dwells down to you, can you deal with it? The purpose of this piece was to make you aware of people who live with physical disabilities. I wasn't trying to scare you away because that would look bad on me too! I'm just trying to open the door into what you should be thinking about, could you handle being in a steady relationship with somebody like that? Can you lift somebody that could be over 60 lbs or more up stairs, etc? I feel like you never truly know if you can do something, I mean I have had those moments too, but you don't want to lead your date on and I'll be honest, they'll probably point it out faster than you would. I think it's always worth the try to do something then sit around and wait for it to happen.


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