Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating with Disabilities > Disabilities and Love
Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake
Love and Disabilitiy
As you know (and as you know you can always count on me to tell you), my story is a unique one. I am physically disabled, a fact that has served as a major obstacle in my love life. I've often wondered why men can't see past my disability and see the real me. I'll admit I don't have much experience in love, but if men could just get to know me, seeing a woman and not just a disability, they might just find their soul mate. I know I'm looking for mine.
I also know that, though my story is unique, the message is universal. We're all struggling to find someone who can love us for who we are, whether we have a disability or not.
I want love. I want that passion that only comes with finding The One, but why on earth does my disability ALWAYS have to stand in the way? Why does it always seem like it's an issue that NOT ONE GUY CAN EVER LOOK PAST? Some questions I've wondered of late:
Why is it so inconceivable that I would possibly want a boyfriend?
I get this one a lot, especially from my family. They give me those strange looks like I've just told them I'm an alien or something. It's almost like my disability precludes me from wanting a boyfriend just like the other millions of single women out there. GRRRR! You'd think my family of all people would understand that I want exactly what everyone wants: love, someone to laugh with, someone to grow old with, heck, someone to write me a love song or bring me flowers.
Why would guys ever be considered girlfriend material?
I can feel this one every time guys look at me. They see me and act like they have me all figured out after 5 minutes. She's a nice girl. She's cool. But girlfriend material? Come on....you must be kidding. The fact that I could EVER be someone guy's girlfriend seems to be out of the realm of possibility. I'm not the sort of girl that guys want to get to know as more than a friend, and it saddens me. I know it shouldn't, but it does. I watched this A&E movie a few years ago, The Brooke Ellison Story, about a woman who became paralyzed from the neck down, and she spoke the words that have always lingered in my heart. She asked her mother, "What man will ever want me?" Those words are practically the same words I use in my journal over and over. What man will ever find me one ounce of attractive? It's like I'm the runt of the litter, the little guy. There's more to me than guys think, and I just wish they'd take the time to GET TO KNOW ME! For example, there's this guy I think seems pretty cool (and no, I won't reveal his name) and we've flirted a bit (OK, maybe all the flirting is just my imagination and he thinks I'm some loony who won't leave him alone. That could entirely be the case too), but I know how this story will end. It'll go nowhere and I'll wonder why, for the 5515645842 time, I got my hopes up. And he's THE perfect guy (funny, smart, adorable), but I'm sure that's not how he'd see me.
What in the heck are you trying to do?
I'm sure everyone is wondering this when I attempt that fine art of flirting. See, I've tried to take the lead and it's always ended badly. Always. I end up coming off as a complete and utter dork or the guy is just oblivious to my charms altogether. Why? Because apparently, women with disability NEVER flirt, and even if we do, we don't need a little thing called love. That's simply out of the question. No wait, it was NEVER a question in the first place.
Is there something inherently wrong with me?
I am the best protection against guys, apparently, so if you need some repellent, see me. Seriously, though, I'm nice, charming, intelligent, have a cute laugh and am frankly the funniest person you'll ever meet. So why do all guys seem to look at me like I have cooties or something? I try to be normal, I AM normal, but they never seem to notice that. All they see is a girl in a wheelchair and apparently, that's enough to get them running in the other direction.
Plus, part of me feels pathetic for even having these feelings in the first place. I feel like I should be over these fears by now; heck, in high school, when hormones and relationships were thrown in my face just walking down the hall, these sorts of these never once bothered me. So why now, I wonder? Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Maybe it's because I'm finally realizing that I do want to find The One. If only he was out there looking for me too....
"My time will come," I'd always tell myself. And I honestly believed it. I knew I'd one day find myself in that moment, where the guy looks past my scars, my wheelchair, my disability and just sees ME. We'd live happily together and he'd think my disability was hot (did I really just type that?).
Gosh, why am I tearing up now just thinking about it? Bottom line: Every woman wants to be recognized as one. Aren't I a woman (YES, for those of you wondering, I AM)? Shouldn't I be viewed as one too? I am more than my disability. If you'd get to know me, maybe you'd see that. I've been interested in guys over the years (some long, lingering crushes I still have to this day), but the guy never found out. Or maybe he did and just decided it'd be best to stay away. I don't know. But I'm frankly tired of always wondering.
I wonder what would happen if I just asked someone out on a date.....?
Dating with Disabilities is published every Tuesday by Online
Dating Magazine columnist Melissa Blake. Melissa is a freelance writer and columnist. Her work has been featured in Redbook, Pregnancy magazine and the Chicago Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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