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Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake

Disabilities and Dating:
Some Honest Answers

A few months ago, I found that nagging thought tugging at my mind again: Why do guys metaphorically run in the other direction because of my disability? Isn’t there some guy – maybe more than one out there – who would embrace my disability as nothing more than it is: One part of me. Not all of me. Just one part of me that helps to make me whole.

Was that really, honestly too much to ask? I posed some questions to some of my male friends, who were gracious enough to give me some good insight into the male mind.

Anyway, my questions were pretty straight-forward (surprisingly, just like me. Who knew?)....I’ve left out real names to protect the innocent.

Would you ask out a woman with a physical disablity?
The obvious choice for a first question, right? Every guy said "Yes, I would ask a woman with a disability out," "there's no barrier there," and nothing would stop them. I really appreciated how one of my guy friends framed it when he replied: “Why? Because people are people are people are people are people are people."

What do you think are some of the reasons for some guys' fears of dating a woman with a physical disability?
I expected the usual responses (read: lame excuses) like what other people would think, being afraid they'd catch the "cooties," etc., but quite a few of the men said they'd be afraid of the responsibility and the fact that they might have to do a lot of extra work to help the person.

Still, others said that a guy might fear that the disabled woman isn't comfortable in her physique and that this would negatively affect physical relations. "People do not want to come out and address that this is a major factor, but it is. Many relationships break down when there is insufficient sexual glue to hold a couple with competing ideas together," replied one guy. He also said there may be some concern about the ability to have "hot sex,"

What, if anything would stop you from asking a disabled woman on a date?
"If I wanted to ask her out on a date (because of who she is), nothing would stop me from asking her out," said a guy I went to high school with.

Some other interesting nuggets of wisdom they had for me.....

--Just make sure you maintain your confidence, friendly demeanor, and smile.

--The key is to find yourself in situations where people can get a bit of knowledge of you and feel comfortable with the interaction. College is an excellent source of these opportunities. Some sports opportunities work well for these purposes. Many opportunities exist at parties were alcohol as a social lubricant lets people get past their nerves.

--Figure out a way to fit into the world that exists

--The new approach maybe would to show that someone that you intellectually smart and funny and to focus on the attributes instead of the physical

It was the advice that made just stop and sit there for a moment. Hold on. I looked through the list a few times (OK, maybe more than a few times). Be friendly. Be who you are. Be comfortable with yourself. Isn't that exactly what I've been doing for more than a decade? So, is it that men have no trouble dating a woman with a disability, just not this woman with a disability?

I just don't know, but maybe I just need to stop thinking about it. Questioning it, really, isn't going to get me any closer to Mr. Right (or his cute twin) any more than Spencer Pratt trying to woo America for the millionth time would.

As my Twitter friend said: "As for those reasons it makes me feel quite shameful towards myself and other men how limited we are in searching for that someone."



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

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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