• The Dating Game

    Posted by alyssa-silva on January 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

    I think dating is a topic that’s not often talked about in the disability community, so I wanted to open up a conversation about it here.

    Mainly, I would want to know why it is so difficult as a disabled woman/person to find love or even success in the dating game. Do you find this to be true? Is it just me and my disdain for awkward first dates and having to explain my disability to an eligible bachelor?

    I know my worth and am proud of who I am. But it seems as though because I have a very visible disability, people are quick to write me off. This is totally not a cry of pity. It’s just based on experience. I do believe there is someone out there for everyone, but the question is… will we ever meet them? Hah.

    If you’re willing to share, I would love to hear your experience with dating or lack thereof. Even just for advice, peace of mind, reasons to commiserate, I’m all ears right now.

    pamela-muhammad replied 2 years, 8 months ago 9 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • patrick-lenihan

    January 7, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    I believe it is more difficult for disabled people to establish and maintain romantic relationships. One reason is that most people don’t view us as sexual beings. Media has a large effect on our perceptions of sexuality and we are rarely portrayed as sexual beings in media. I have been in a relationship for 21 years. Before that I was in the dating game for about 20 years. Like you I hated dating, especially awkward first dates. I went on many dates. Some were good. Many were horrible. Things rarely lasted more than 2 or 3 dates. I did have a brief friends with benefits fling that was a positive thing for me when I was in my 20’s. I eventually ended up in my current relationship with a woman who I had been friends with for a year and a half before we started dating.

    • alyssa-silva

      January 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      I think you’re absolutely right Patrick. The media definitely has a heavy influence on sexuality, and it seems as though there isn’t a seat for us at the table. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It gives me hope! And I love that you and your partner were friends first. That’s the kind of situation I’m hoping for as well. Do you mind me asking how you met?

      • patrick-lenihan

        January 8, 2021 at 10:33 pm

        We met online on an IRC chat server.

    • pamela-muhammad

      September 24, 2021 at 9:40 am

      Hi I agree for that matter the media /or society in general wants to stereotype all of us in one category of not being inhumane! It’s good hear to successfully relationships stories like yours. My life is so  busy that I don’t focus on having a romantic relationship though I’m human and I love men (smiles) I am not going to worry about it, if it happens it happens if not I’ll be ok! 🙂


  • kip-troendle

    January 8, 2021 at 10:57 am

    I remember quite plainly the very first time I asked a girl out. I was a freshman in high school and anonymously sent the girl of my dreams (well, I thought at the time) a red rose.  I waited the typical 2 days, then called her.  My heart was racing as she answered the phone.  After a very short, nervous few minutes, I asked her to meet me at our small-town theater to watch a movie.  “I’ll let you know.”, she responded.

    A few days later I was sitting in study hall when I saw her conversing with her best friend. I knew something was up as her friend kept looking back at me. It wasn’t long before she came back to where I was sitting and handed me a note. I was so nervous I could not open it. I finally had a friend of mine do what I couldn’t. He read the note to himself and as he handed it back to me he said, “Well, at least you gave it a try”.  My friend was so right. I was glad that I gave it a try! I felt very dejected and never asked another girl out my entire high school term.

    At my ten-year class reunion, I ran into this girl. We sat at the bar and chatted about things just as friends would. I don’t know if it was the booze or what, but she suddenly leaned over and whispered in my ear that I was the only person that ever gave her a rose and she wished she would have done things differently. She gave me a peck on the cheek as she pulled away and we exchanged smiles. I did get the opportunity to say, “oh, yeah… and where did that get me?” as I gave her a cheap grin. I never held a grudge or disrespected her for saying no to me.

    Since then, I’ve only had a handful or less opportunities to go on a “date”.  Even those so-called “situations” were more like friends getting together, than defining it as a date.  I live in a very rural area and the dating pool is beyond shallow, to say the least. I have tried online dating websites only to be very discouraged in all cases.  I thought in this day of technology, the internet would give me the best opportunity to find somebody to connect with. It definitely has not been the case.

    My closest friends have suggested that I find somebody in my area that is disabled as well, to converse with and become close to. I for some reason have a problem with this. I don’t know why! They say we would have a common bond. This might be true, but I have a difficult time picturing myself with someone who has a disability.  Am I wrong?

    • alyssa-silva

      January 8, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      Kip, I don’t think that’s wrong at all. We all have our own personal preferences, and when it comes to dating and relationships, one size doesn’t fit all. I do think it’s a little unfair for others to box us in like that assuming because we’re disabled we have to date other disabled folks too. I’ve had people say that to me as well. It’s like telling a redhead they have to date only red-headed people haha. Just because being a redhead is part of someone’s genetic makeup doesn’t mean that limits their dating pool! But that doesn’t mean they CAN’T date a redhead either ya know? You have to do what feels right for YOU and no one else.

    • lupa-f

      January 10, 2021 at 10:11 am

      I’ve gotten the “date another disabled person” thing too, but I think that’s kind of offensive. It’s pretty much saying to stick with your own kind. I never really considered it a viable option anyway. I need things set up in a very specific way and I’m sure another disabled person wants things their specific way and trying to combine them would just make things more difficult for both of us.

      I dated someone for a year in college, but that’s been it. I sort of felt like I was settling because it almost felt like she was going to be my only chance and that wasn’t fair to her or me, so I kinda let it fizzle out (I moved away for a job). I’m too picky and don’t want to date around, which means I don’t have many people I even want to try dating. But the few people I’ve been interested since college were in long term relationships when I knew them so those were all non-starters. And now it’s been so long I’m not interested in dating at all. I’m too set in my ways and don’t want to have to deal with another person regularly. I had one person offer to hang out weekly which would’ve been fine, but she ghosted after a couple times. I didn’t mind she disappeared though, she was extremely attractive, but not somebody I really wanted to be with.

      I tried a dating site once. I put on it that I use a scooter to get around. I had one woman contact me and told me how much she liked scooters. I told her I meant a scooter like a wheelchair, not like a Vespa: “Oh ok.” And that was the end of that.

  • deann-r

    January 8, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Dating has never been at the forefront for me.  For some reason I felt like the guys in my area were too close minded to want to date someone with a disability. Maybe I’m being the one who’s being close minded though.  In college I had a dear friend who had Duchenne MD. He was planning to move but said he’d stay if I wanted to date him.  For several reasons I declined, but one of the reasons was that I couldn’t see dating someone else with a disability.   Looking back that shouldn’t have been a reason.  Especially if I want others to look past my disability.  In the end I’m glad I declined because I didn’t want to be the reason to hold him back when I know we wouldn’t have been a good match regardless.  Anyway, I think Alyssa makes a good point.  You just have to do what feels right for you.

    • zicari

      February 1, 2021 at 4:21 pm

      It’s funny you mention that. I had a pretty hard crush on a girl with SMA when I was a much younger man. She never let me get one millimeter beyond the friend zone. She always had able-bodied boyfriends. I never tried to get an explanation because I didn’t want to be a creep. I just chalked it up to another in the long line of rejections I have had my entire life. I never knew if she didn’t want a disabled boyfriend or just didn’t like me. Either way it sucks every time.

  • kip-troendle

    January 12, 2021 at 11:43 am

    I debated for several days now about bringing this personal area of my life up for discussion.  I’ve seen a counselor on-and-off for about one year now.  Her specialty is relationships and sexuality.  It took many sessions before I completely let my defenses down, and opened up.  In the end, we finally came to the following conclusion.  I’m looking for two things… a soul-mate person, and someone to be {gulp} intimate with.  Yes, in the “non-disabled world”, that special someone would fulfill both those voids in my life.  In my “disabled world” though, it’s difficult (if not impossible) fulfilling just one of those human needs; much less both.

    I am pretty certain the intimate “need” might be interpreted differently between the males and females reading this.  In NO way do I want to offend anyone here; especially the fine women of this establishment {smile}!  It’s just SOOO frustrating!  I have 4-5 female caregivers helping me throughout the week, ranging in ages from 18 to 65.  It might be the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome, in not developing feelings or urges for some of those individuals.  Oh, I get the whole “keep it professional” thing, but tell that to my heart and my hormones!  Not any easy task.  In fact, it feels like torture at times!  When our human contact is few and far between (especially now days), not crossing that forbidden line with someone you grow close to, seems almost impossible.

    I ended one of my sessions with the counselor stating this… I can deal with my disability and battle the physical challenges.  That’s easy compared to the intimate challenges.

    I’d appreciate any feedback if anyone else has dealt with such frustrations…

  • ella

    September 1, 2021 at 4:13 am

    I’m 70% scared of dating someone who doesn’t know I kind of need a special attention. Most men would tell me I should stay home. No luck in finding the right guy yet but anyway life goes on.

  • blake-watson

    September 1, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve been reading over some of these posts and I have many more things I would like to say if this wasn’t a public webpage attached to my real name. ???? But I will say these things:

    • I have had crushes on PCAs in the past. I think I’m over that now. But yeah, when you have someone around you all the time and especially if you become friends this can be a difficult situation. I totally understand that.
    • I understand and respect people’s preferences. For me, I’m not particularly looking for a disabled partner or a non-disabled one. I think there are pros and cons to both. But I will say that I feel like sharing disability with my partner would make me have a strong emotional connection with them because they could understand a part of me that other people just can’t.
    • Online dating is hot garbage. I absolutely despise it. I still maintain one profile, checking in every now and again, but I quit having expectations a long time ago. For a society who lives on the internet I feel like we still haven’t figured this out yet.
    • I know so many able-bodied people who are lonely and don’t have a relationship and that I don’t feel as bad about my lack of one as I once did.

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