The dating world is full of craziness. It’s an emotional roller-coaster for males and females alike. It’s hard to approach someone or to know what to say when you’re interested. The first date is always full of nervous questions and conversations that flat line. It’s even worse if you’re trying to date with a disability, like I am.
Unfortunately I’ve been constricted to a wheelchair for a few years. I was in a car accident was I was a bit younger and have no use of my legs. As you can imagine, this had led to quite a few complications in the dating world. I found it was hard to try and meet people in person, so, I took to looking online. This idea came after I saw an advertisement for a dating website. I thought I might as well give it a try. The worst case scenario was that nothing would change in my dating life.
When I filled out my profile, I didn’t mention I was in a wheelchair. I figured I’d get better results. The first guy I started talking to was great. He was interesting and intelligent. We had great conversations and decided to meet in person. He showed up in sweat pants and wanted to grab a hot dog. His demeanor was relaxed. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. He’d later tell me that He felt comfortable with me from our correspondence on the website. He thought He knew what to expect from me. He made a joke that I had falsely advertised myself though, by not mentioning the wheelchair. He was kind enough not to point that out in person. I couldn’t tell if he was startled when he noticed or not. If he made any judgments, he hid it very well.
Unfortunately, most of the people I’ve met could not say the same thing. I went on another date with a different guy shortly after. He was noticeably taken back by the wheelchair. We grabbed coffee then he said he had to go.
I decided to change my profile and include that I was confined to a wheelchair. I noticed a significant drop in replies. I’d like to say I was surprised, but I honestly wasn’t. I know the world is filled with judgmental people and that it’s hard to date with a disability. I later discovered there were dating websites for the disabled. I thought to myself, no false advertising here. I included that I was in a wheelchair and got just as many replies. I’ve since been on many dates with different types of men. Some who were also disabled in some way. Some who weren’t.
But, what I noticed was that the men I was meeting on the disabled website were free of judgment. They were accepting and understanding. That took the nervousness down a little bit when it came to meeting in person. I didn’t have to worry about their response to the wheelchair at least. I could focus on their response to me as a person.
I liked that feeling. It made me feel no different from anyone else.
I’ve had better luck dating in person now, too. I found being open about the wheelchair to myself has changed the way people respond to me. I realized I had been sort of standing in my own way. I could have met that special someone a long time ago if I had the right attitude.
Now I see that dating is all about the right attitude, whether you’re disabled or not. So I share my experiences and my stories and my advice.