Monday, September 21, 2009

Disability and Dating

One of the biggest issues I have had over the years of being in a wheelchair is dating. Just as nobody would knowingly buy a broken car, it seems like nobody wants to date someone who is broken either.
I have had relationships, don't get me wrong, but they just went nowhere. My most notable recent relationship was with a man with a really good heart, and despite his faults he loved me for ME, never really saw the chair, he just had a big problem with his mouth. I don't know if it was his own disability or what, but the man could not keep his mouth shut. I'm not talking about just normal every day talking, because he certainly did a LOT of that, but I mean he had no filter, no gate, no reasoning... no... class. He would say whatever he wanted to say, when he wanted to say it, and had no regard for who was around him, in fact having an audience fueled him to say inappropriate things, it seemed. A sort of "shock and awe" kind of person.
I stayed with him a lot longer than I should have, simply because I felt like who was I to judge. I am not perfect, and never claimed to be, that's obvious, but I at least try to have some class and respect for others. It's just common courtesy. But, I figured he was with me and never made an issue of my disability (except for the time he told me during my move from my house to his that if I couldn't personally carry something I shouldn't own it - just a shining example of that mouth!), so why should I fault him for his. After all, he was a hard worker, could be so gentle and kind it would bring a tear to my eye, he loved my daughter and treated her good and with respect, and he really did love me. His biggest problem was that MOUTH!
Finally, I had to let him go. His outbursts and inane ramblings became too much for me to handle. It's one thing to have a mouth like that around me, I choose to be with you, but when it starts to spill over to happening in front of my daughter, or around my family, then it's time to cut you loose.
So, I've been single again for a long time. It doesn't help that I work from home and live in the country, 15 miles from a very small town. My social life consists of trips to the grocery store and Lowe's. I meet people along the way of course, but they pass me by with a nod and that "what a shame" look I've gotten so used to seeing.
Nowadays, I have begun to walk more, but I am still insecure, so I only walk in the privacy of my own home. I walk funny, have a really hard time doing it, have to concentrate, and feel like the whole world is staring. Plus, I walk really, really slow and with a walker. It pains me to even have to go outside and walk from my house to the garage, which is about 80 steps, because my neighbors see me and I get nervous and embarrassed. Now I am concerned about what happens when I get even stronger and need to just walk all the time and ditch the chair. I'm still going to need a walker or crutches, and I'm still going to walk funny for a while. Will I be able to overcome my insecurities and fears? If I have been dealing with stares and pitied looks for this long, imagine what kind of looks I will get when I am up and walking but struggling to do so. I'm like a circus freak, and nobody wants to date a circus freak.


  1. Your story is remarkable. What a life so far! Keep the focus and stay strong. It's just so refreshing to see someone that’s been dealt a crappy hand not let it get them down. Having lost a friend to ALS recently has taught me a lot about perseverance and determination. And always, always smile! The power of positive thought and laughing is beyond measure!


  2. Keep it up! I had my first swimming lesson in 28 years on Saturday at the YWCA, and am terrified of the water--even 4 feet of it. I felt like an idiot, not knowing how to swim and being visibly scared. When I was 6, they took my picture screaming at a swimming lesson and put it on the front page of the Sports section back home. But then I thought, I can try and maybe make it or just retreat again, and I thought of you walking. So it's not just the people who might be looking and be a$$-holes enough to jeer, but also those who take inspiration from your attempts.

    St. Paul talked about being a fool for Christ (1 Corinthians 4)--I think we can be fools for ourselves every now and then. And that's ok, and even good. You are an inspiration, no matter how many steps you take--dont' forget it!