In many cultures of the world, societies still look at disabled people as something of an “other” and alienate them. Then, how can one date a disabled person in such an environment? Like always, your relationship expert is here to help!
Dating with disability
Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life.
When you go to date with someone, have a dinner, movie or a drink at a fancy place. The conversation is flowing; he/she is funny and smart with the great personality. This is just type of person you always imagined you’d fall in love with. Imagine, if this person has a disability, will it put you off? Keep in mind that if you are just going to say yes for the sake of pity, then don’t. The last thing anyone would want is a pity date. Not only are you being deceitful but this would end up in a mess that would hurt you and the person as well, if not more so. It is better to tell the truth now than to be hurt over lies in the future. However if you are someone who is absolutely sure that your feelings won’t move and can have a normal relationship with a disability, then you are about to find most intriguing people in the world.
A relationship between a disabled and able bodied person
In many cultures, disabled people are treated as someone only to be cared for. They are looked as people who will never achieve things as a normal person or adapt to environment as an able bodied person. Many of such pre assumptions, however are not true for everyone, every once in a while, we see a disabled person doing and living a normal life and in some cases even going beyond what a normal person can achieve. What’s worse is that due to society treating, some disabled people as ‘damaged goods’ would led the person to believe it themselves which may reduce their self-esteem. Many of such people would then limit themselves, because those around them would discourage them.
Cultural influence of how they perceive relationships
People presume my disability has to do with being an amputee, but that’s not the case; our insecurities are our disabilities, and I struggle with those as does everyone.
– Aimee Mullins
Disabled people are treated differently from culture to culture. In many they are sidelined by the society where they are ignored by the general public. In many cultures where physical capability is put on the highest regard, in such environment a disabled person will be shunned as alien. However, in many they are not as neglected and don’t have to hide behind their physical disability.
In such environment it is relatively easier for such a relationship to prosper. Even though society may not be the deciding factor if two people should be dating or not, it obviously affects the people brought in such cultures. This in turn affects the individual’s thinking on how they perceive someone with disability and a relationship with someone disabled.
Some people may even be prone to say what would be considered inappropriate to say to a disabled person. Like comment on music preference to a deaf person, or ask about beautifulpainting to a blind person. These comments may not be intentionally meant to harmful, just mistakes due to awkwardness. Many disabled people however experience many such comments every day, so they often are forgiving. While dating, these awkward incidents may happen a lot especially for someone who has never been with a disabled person before.
Just like everyone
The only disability in life is a bad attitude.
– John Hamilton
Many people say that they don’t know how to interact with a disabled person. The truth of the matter is that they are just like any person you met in your life. Although, this is obvious, it is unfortunate how many people are ignorant that, disabled people just like anyone have the same desires and wishes when it comes to dating. More so, they go through many difficulties and challenges which normally person would not have to go through. Even if the disability is physical, there is a lot of emotional trauma that they have to overcome. With all the additional things to worry about, what with emotional and cultural issues, they just want a normal relationship
“Seeing past” the disability
Many a times, this is term is thrown off whenever dating between a disabled and able person is talked about. Somehow people find this a “novelty” that two such people would be in a relationship. Nothing however could be more hurtful, than saying that a person is able to look ‘beyond’ their disability. This means that the person has not accepted the other fully. Why do you have to look ‘beyond’ when whatever the person may have is a part of their life?Whatever challenges life has put them through, they have gained strength from those experiences that they normally wouldn’t have. If you value their uniqueness, then know that the disability may have bought them great pains but also made them who they are, so if you were to accept them, accept them fully as a person.
Sexuality and Disability
I hate the words ‘handicapped’ and ‘disabled’. They imply that you are less than whole. I don’t see myself that way at all.
– Aimee Mullins
This is an issue that is overlooked the most. Especially in cultures where sex is in itself a topic much not discussed about openly and viewed as something ‘dirty’. The negative attitude about the aspect of sexuality among the disabled that ranges from discomfort to disgust in the attitudes of people affect the person and how they view sexuality. In fact chose to willfully ignorant, and believe that those with disabled bodies don’t have the urge or any interest in sex; that they don’t derive any pleasure from it. Further, many are of the opinion that disabled people do not wish to have children or they may be incapable of providing for one. All of these opinions however are never from a disabled’s perspective. They are just presumptions which no one ever speaks about or discusses. It is considered a taboo subject which is locked away in the highest drawer never to be spoken about or actually asked to a disabled person about.
This stigma has both cultural and biological roots of reason. The concept of survival of the species maybe have been the reason why avoiding sexual relationship with someone disable would have made sense. Our society however no longer depends upon the notion of able bodied being the fittest to provide, the outlook therefore must also be changed with time, which unfortunately has not much changed in centuries.
Society in general have always viewed disabled people as some not adequate and thus many cultures always see them as a dependent person who would always be found wanting in the ‘standards’ of those physically able. Due to the social stigmatization, they are perceived as sexually inadequate.
The society may have improved a lot upon their outlook, but there is still reluctance in most to have a committed relationship with a disabled person. More than a physically disabled, there is more hesitation when it comes to dating a person who might have psychological issues.
Concerns about sexuality with disabled person
In most cases a disable person may have to adjust and have different needs regarding their limitations when it concerns to participating in sexual activity. It is better if the partners have a talk between them about what is comfortable and not comfortable, so that there is no issue of miscommunication. In many cases the subject is left unspoken and ignored which may create misunderstandings and sometimes even avoidance of engaging in sexual activity in the first place.
Health concerns and shorter life span
Ongoing medical treatment and side effects significantly influence the true potential of this relationship. It has been observed that differently abled persons have shorter life spans due to biological workings and that’s another important factor to consider when committing to a differently abled person.
Relationship with a newly disabled person
My disability has opened my eyes to see my true abilities.
-Robert M. Hensel
A person who is born with a disability is very different from a person who had a recent trauma. A newly disabled person is not used to the limitations that are now imposed on them. This may create body image issues and low esteem, sometimes even depression.
If you already have been dating a person who has been suffered from an accident recently, know that it will be difficult path ahead. Therefore, you would need to mentally strong and prepared for what is to come. The newly disabled would go through periods of confusion, anger, sadness and grief. You as a partner therefore must take in charge and learn to process it emotionally and physically as well.
Do not however stay with the person for pity’s sake before abandonment, which would be worse as being deceitful.