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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating with Disabilities > Confusing Love Moments

Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake

Confusing Love Moments
Saga with Crush Boy Nears End

They say our messiest, most confusing love moments are the ones that stick to us like superglue, that define us and always leave us walking away with a little nugget of truth we didn’t know – about ourselves, the opposite sex, even the world – before.

When you’ve lived a life like mine – one that consistently and unequivocally left me admiring from the sidelines, your mind actually has the power to train your heart to believe in The Great Scientific Experiment that is love.


But in the end, it just plain left me jaded and cynical, frankly. If you’ve been following my rather interesting saga with Crush Boy, you’d know I gave him a code name for a reason. What if he found out he was Crush Boy. Apparently, he did – quite a few months ago, actually. At first, I panicked; after 14 years, Crush Boy (oh, what the heck, his name is Stephen) discovered how I’d felt about him all those years. Goodbye secrets. Hello, awkwardness.

I felt an overwhelming urge (along with a queasy feeling in my stomach) to just let it all out (my honesty, that is….). So over those next several months, we had quite the email exchange, let me tell you. I’ll spare you the details of those emails – not that I’ve saved them or anything crazy/insane like that.

Honestly (darn, there I go again!), though, you’ve had the privilege of witnessing my first real-life, real-time dip in the Pool of Love. Let’s check for signs of injuries, shall we, by examining a few key lessons I (think) I've learned?

You can never assume you know what people are thinking
I thought this whole thing would be simple: We’d both get a good, hearty chuckle out of it, as in the “Can you believe how much of a crush I had on you back then?” sort of way. Then he threw a curve ball in some of those emails, and I’ll admit, it did throw me as well. I just thought he deserved an honest answer, which is why I told him he was Crush Boy in the first place.

LESSON LEARNED: The results of honesty mean different things to different people. And I think I may have let honesty down. I’m sorry, honesty.

Some guys just like themselves more than, well, you

I'm sorry, but I deserve to meet someone who actually cares about my life, what I have to say, how I feel. I know it shouldn't be all about me, but it being all about you is just all sorts of unattractive. SHOCKING, isn't it? I know. I couldn't find the right words to describe Stephen’s treatment of me other than a giant scientific report write-up. Then my friend Justin hit the nail on the head: cold, calculating and machine-like. So, by my own calculations, that makes Stephen a machine. I need a real human, someone to have a real human connection with. And you know what else? It's not attractive to continually try to show people how great and blatantly full of yourself you are. Maybe you should file your taxes jointly with yourself.

LESSON LEARNED: If I want to date a narcissist, I'll just move to Los Angeles.

Subtlety is overrated

I used to think it was “cool” to keep a guy guessing. Hey, I’m rather new to all this, remember? Cut me a wee bit of slack here. Anyway, the real truth: Guessing just gives you both ice cream headaches, only worse…the ice cream isn’t even included. I am who I am. I said what I felt appropriate at the time. That’s really not such a bad thing. Too often, we regret what we say. I spent years of my life battling the opposite problem: regretting what I never said. So maybe I didn’t say it exactly in the right way or at the right time, but you know what? That’s life. I said it. Even if it came 10 years too late. The point is I finally said it. As Niles told Daphne on Frasier (now this is a couple I can TRULY identify with; Niles crushed on Daphne from afar for six years – I consider myself the female Niles): "Daphne, take it from someone who knows. You don't want to spend half of your life thinking about a chance you didn't take."

LESSON LEARNED: Turn off those damn inner censors. They’re so loud that you can’t even listen to your own heart.

I’m woefully unschooled in this new Dating Language

To Stephen’s credit, he did say that we should hang out and see where it goes. I thought I would jump around with glee at that chance. I didn’t. We never did hang out. So what exactly does “hanging out” mean? Is that code for “date”? If so, I “hang out” with my friends all the time. And, what does “hanging out” look like? I assume it’s not a literal term, such as hanging our hands out the car window as we drive down the highway. Now, the term “see where it goes” confuses me even more. What criteria are we measuring here? And where would it go – off to the races? Oh, and did I mention he never even told me if he had any sort of romantic feelings toward me, which is another reason for my skittishness and uneasy stomach. A girl sort of likes to know what she’s getting herself into here. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned that way.

LESSON LEARNED: Guys, STOP with the code language. It’s unbecoming, and I have more important tasks to accomplish with my sexy brain.

My disability was never a factor – at all.

In the end, I’m actually thankful to Stephen, who, despite his garbled jargon, is one of the first guys NOT to make me feel like a complete freak of nature. In fact, my disability was never even mentioned. NOT ONCE. I felt (FINALLY!) like a single woman, not a single disabled woman. Trust me, it’s been a welcomed relief. I’m (FINALLY!) beginning to see, even if only a tiny glimmer, that my disability doesn’t always have to be a giant obstacle that I have to kick out of the way to convince a nice guy to go out with me. Maybe it’s not such a deal-breaker. Even though I know deep down that there’s really no such thing as “normal,” (thank goodness for that, right?), it felt good to at least feel a little normal for a bit, even if it was just borrowing the elusive “normal costume” for awhile.

As Martin told Niles on Frasier: “And you, you're just learning how to date. I mean, it would have been nice if it had happened twenty-five years ago, but you play the cards you're dealt.”

LESSON LEARNED: In the end, you just get me. My disability is an added bonus.

So what’s the diagnosis? Some people just are not cut out for the dating world. And I'm not speaking about myself here....


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

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