Dating a Disabled Person

Dating a Disabled Person

I never thought I’d have to spend so much time writing about dating. My experiences are well documented in other parts of the blog. I’m happy with some of the blog posts and unhappy with others, regardless there are many lessons learned that I will attempt to share.

If you are a disabled person reading this blog posting I’m sure you will have your own opinions and needs, I’d love to hear more from you please email me. If you are a “not yet disabled” person reading this blog post them I’m sure you have your own questions as well, again please email me I’d love to be able to more directly respond to your questions.

I had a dream when in high school of living happy ever after and marrying my high school sweetheart. It didn’t work out. One of the issues that I found out about later was my inability to drive. When you decide to get in a relationship with a disabled person there will be things that the disabled person can and can’t do. There will also be things that they will and will not need some help with.

After I grieved my high school sweet heart I decided I’d like someone who I grew up with and had know for a number of years in my life. Turned out to be a great relationship, she drove thank goodness, we had a great time. The unfortunate thing was those around me. Even though I grew up in the same neighborhood as this young lady, and her mom watched my sister and I for a number of years. This girl was not “acceptable” to my parents. What I’ve learned much later in life is that I am an all around “disappointment” to my parents and no one I was ever with romantically was “good” enough for them. Ultimately I’ve decided to terminate my relationship with my parents, unfortunately I’m happier for it. Others can be a pain a poison and destructive force to any relationship in the end you’ll have to decided what’s more important to you, which connection will you cut? Also if there are controlling, poison people involved your chances on relationship success are much lower. Sometimes I would say just run away. Unfortunately for me this relationship was poisoned over the years that we worked on it and it didn’t work out. To this day I regret not finding out if this connection would have worked out in the long run. Regardless I’ve grown as a person from the experience.

I gave up on the long term connection for a suitable love and dated a lady 10 years older than myself. She was very accomplished an awesome person really but our issues and life priorities got in the way and tore things apart. Another thing I didn’t learn until much later is that a persons “issues” can be a thing of fasciation to attract others. The trick is to be able to communicate about those issues and work through them, together, if necessary.

People make choices, I don’t like to live my life alone. I can be alone but being with someone adds so much to my quality of life. Selfish perhaps, but I’ve come to realize I add a lot to people’s lives as well. I am lucky I am fascinating I am attractive I am smart and funny and all those things you need to be to get attention get noticed and get into a relationship. Apparently I get more than my fair share of attention.

The things that make me different and fascinating sometimes have to do with my disability but most of the time not at all. The fact is there are, just like with anyone disabled or not, things I can do that you can’t and things I’m good at that your not. I have different ways of doing most things to accommodate the needs of my disability but there are many things I’ve done in life that many of you will not, and vis versa.

My first marriage was a match made by a coworker. In retrospect this person would have been a great life long friend a person who I might have had a brief romantic encounter with instead we married. I want to say I loved this person and at the beginning I think I did but the reasons for marriage and children were all wrong. If you decide to marry, do it because this person changed you and your life. The movies aren’t wrong, make sure you are not the same person after you meet the person you know your going to marry. If not your asking for a ton of work and very likely your hopes for a long term relationship will not be fulfilled. I should have known that I married the wrong person when shortly after marrying I changed jobs and met someone I in retrospect should have married. I even told my colleagues I should have married her. We went for dinner kinda dated but nothing serious happened, sadly. If your not in love with your spouse or significant other make the change. It will hurt in the short term but will be a lot less messy than if you attempt to live a life with them and neither of you ends up happy. Trust me divorcing after 15 years instead of 1 was much more messy. Marriage isn’t a test of wills to see who can deal with the most shit. If your continually shoveling shit its time to move on for both of you.

During my marriage there were a number of people that I connected with to get the things I had hoped for in a marriage. There were many that would have made interesting intimate partners and a few that I loved very deeply. A few I owe so many apologies to for not loving them in a way I wanted to at the time. My sensibilities were to stay in a relationship like my parents did, there were the only ones from either of their families married to the same person. If your looking outside of your relationships for the things you need then you very likely need to make a change. God will not damn you to hell eternal for being happy. GET A DIVORCE if you need one.

I finally made a choice and formally left my wife and when I did met another I found enlightenment and happiness. Our time was interesting and opened my eye’s to so many things, offered me so many things I didn’t have in my own life. I craved for open friendly respectful family connections as I didn’t have it. In this relationship I had wonderful connections with my partners family and loved the connections and my partner. A threat of a nasty divorce and never seeing my children again, as well as the loss of all of those memories from my life was made and I returned to my marriage. Don’t remain or return to a relationship because of threats or innuendo, if its over its over. You’ll only end up hating the person trust me I never want any kind of communication or connection of any kind at any time in either of our lives. Its very sad really but…

I was coming out disabled at this time and had started moving around a lot as well as changing jobs regularly. I was trying to find the thing in my life which wasn’t right, all along knowing it was my marriage. In some ways I felt it was my disability that was the problem, it wasn’t.

All relationships when they are failing will deteriorate to distractions. Don’t get caught up in distractions to retain or remain in a relationship. Anything you do won’t matter and the relationship will ultimately end anyway; a new country, new city, new job, new house, new kid, new dog won’t make a hill of beans of difference. If it buys you a couple of years you’ve just waisted more of your life.

Coming out disabled was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. Discovery of self amazing journey that I walk ever day and I love it. Its not been easy and coming out disabled has changed everything in my life. I’m back in the city I grew up in and will leave it this time by choice not because I’m running from something. A nasty aside I was right to leave this place the first time. If you don’t know who you are don’t expect your relationships to last. When you grow when you change if you have any issues what so ever your relationships will change. You need to be confidant in yourself and love yourself enough to know that you are a special being who deserves love. If you don’t don’t expect love, just don’t.

Coming out disabled had a number of affects personally and professionally and I’ve had to totally change the way I lead my life in both contexts. No longer am I willing to accommodate you. Do you know how much energy it takes to accommodate you. You know the awful thing is because I’m not you I can never truly accommodate you because I don’t know what you need unless you tell me. Self advocacy in relationships is critical disability or not. You have to communicate what you need. Also I don’t care if you don’t feel good about yourself. You had better go and do something about that yourself. I’m not going to live with you and let you do things for me and take my independence away and my self respect and dignity away so you can feel good about yourself. Sorry no. Go and live your life. If I’m in it great if not then great.

I had a couple of relationships after my marriage ended. I learned a lot from each of them. I learned I am fascinating and lovable and deserve love. I deserve to be happy. I even had a one night anonymous fling thing which was interesting. I’ve never been involved with a woman who wanted revenge sex against her boyfriend. It was interesting and i can assure the boyfriend that he was revenged upon greatly.

In these post marriage relationships I picked very interesting special people that demonstrated different characteristics from my x-wife and some were similar. I learned again why my marriage failed and found new things that would work for me in other relationships. I fell in love hard and fell out of love hard. I learned about passion and its place in a relationship along side communications and supporting each other and learning the importance of being able to identify talk about and resolve issues. I also learned about my patterns and the effects my issues would have on my relationships. I have some funky patterns. You have to learn from all of your relationships the good and the bad. You need to be aware of what worked and what didn’t and go for more of what worked. Learn and continually learn you’ll be happier.

Generally I can’t participate in the physical attrition rituals of the sighted, the not yet disabled. I’ve been fortunate enough a couple of times now to have seen the person and know immediately on introduction that this person is the one. I’ve resorted and successfully used internet dating services to meet and connected with very special people. It makes a big difference for me as I’m not one to go to the bar and pick someone up. I’ve also learned you need to be living and involved if you want to meet people. The hardest lesson I learned in on-line dating is disclosure. In disclosing my disability up front I immediately filtered those people, for whatever reason, who weren’t able to deal with disability issues. I learned this lesson from a lady I never met I only had email conversations with. I appreciate the lesson. Upfront disclosure is critical to an open and honest relationship. Disclosure not only of disability but what you need and expect in a relationship.

Relationships are like anything you have to be able to appreciate them you have to know that this person is special and the relationship with this person is special. If you don’t live and take the good with the bad then how will you ever know what is great. In retrospect I’m glad it didn’t work out for me with my high school sweetheart. I know now that my relationship now is so much more than I could have ever imagined way back then.

Being a version 2 spouse is hard, or being involved with someone who has kids is very hard. As partners you need to add this dimension to your communications and come to grips with parenting styles and approaches. If you don’t you’ll make a mess. You also have to deal with the issues of your children trying to break up your relationships. The worst of it is facilitating your children through the grief process of the failed marriage where they were born. I failed on this my x-wife told my children I’d go from place to place from job to job and woman to woman never being happy. Parental alienation is a real problem. Having a disability can make this so much worse. Being disabled requires total disclosure its also O.K. to say you don’t know if something will work or not as long as those in your relationship are willing for the adventure to find out if something will work or if something can be made to work through imagination and accommodation. I wasn’t open about my disability with my children. I lied. My children didn’t grow up with knowing me as a blind man. This deception has likely cost me a relationship with them for life. My deception built on my families deception about a congenital disability that has affected a number of us. Still no ones talks about it. At least my kids know about it and know how it impacts them. Its up to my kids now what they do with the information.

The on set of disability during a relationship can be disastrous. If you don’t have the communications infrastructure in place or if your personal choices and life priorities are out of alinement with a partner with a disability or major health issues than you’ve got a problem. I have friends who have lost their spouse because of the on-set of health or disability. Disability is very isolating. In the back of everyone’s mind I like to think we as humans are aware enough to know that our lives are finite. All of us will die. The thing people forget is that all of us will end up disabled as well. We will all have to deal with the issues of a disabled person ultimately. If your not ready for that then fine, but one day you’ll realize that you now have to cross that bridge and you might have been better off doing it with me as a guide.

In summary of my disjointed dating advice here is the advice I for both of you, disabled and not yet disabled.

Disabled Person

  • If you’re not open with yourself about your disability then don’t get into a relationship or if you do get into a relationship don’t expect it to last.
  • We have to disclose our disabilities up front
  • It’s not your disability that ended the relationship, really

Not Yet Disabled

  • Don’t get into a relationship with a disabled person because you hate yourself
  • Don’t get into a relationship with a disabled person because you need to take care of someone to feel good about yourself
  • If you can’t stay in a relationship because your partner became disabled before you, fine, were better off without you, and you’ll regret it later when you join us as disabled.

Both of You

  • Distractions won’t solve the problems
  • Don’t remain or return to a relationship because of a threat
  • God will not damn you to hell eternal for being happy.
  • Don’t trust a match maker
  • You can meet someone anywhere get involved go out and live
  • To thing own self be true
  • Find out why you’re fascinating, know why your special we all are
  • Know that you are loveable and deserve love
  • Don’t get into or stay in a relationship because you think you have to
  • Don’t let your parents rule your life
  • Marry that person that when you meet them changes your life forever
  • Have children for the right reasons
  • Be clear on your needs
  • Be good to each others children
  • If you’re not happy or you’re looking for love, intimacy, sex elsewhere leave the relationship its obviously not serving your needs.
  • Treat others how you want to be treated
  • Disability will affect your relationship
  • If you don’t know yourself don’t get into a relationship expecting it to last
  • End a relationship if you know its not the real deal, don’t shovel shit.
  • Don’t let others around you, if your disabled or not, tell you what is good or bad about your love.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you who to love
  • Disabled people in fact all of us have things we can do and can’t do. We all as people have things we are good at and not so good at.
  • We have to upfront with our relationship exceptions
  • We all need to self advocate
  • We all need accommodation of one sort or another
  • Communicate communicate communicate
  • Sex will happen you just might not know when or how

Disability does affect relationships but probably not as much as you’d have thought. Now go out there and live and love and learn from it. Take every day as a gift rejoice in it, appreciate it respect it. If your lucky enough to have someone to share it with, remember your so very fortunate. It’s not only the disabled that feel isolated and alone. All of us from time to time feel that way.

In final summary if I as a disabled person was going to categorize what a relationship with a disabled person is like. I’d first say you’d likely encounter many of the issue a couple would face if they were from different races. I’d also have to say you will likely encounter the same issue as a homosexual couple would face. Yes, being in a relationship with a disabled person will be a challenge. Remember you will be disabled one day. But most of all don’t forget that along with the challenges are so many unforeseen rewards for both of you.

Posted in: Abinism, Dating

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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