Dating in itself comes with an overload of worries not to talk of finding love as a disabled. The truth is that despite all the circumstances that surrounds the subject, people with challenges like wheelchairs, mental disorders, visual impairment and more also deserve a chance at love just like others. Dating sites have done a lot in simplifying the job and providing a chance for people to have a go at love. This however still isn’t enough as people with disabilities most of the times do not feel confident to meet a new person and converse freely. Sometimes when they do, the moment the other party at the other end of the conversation discovers their status, they become uninterested. One other common practice is for people you connect with to focus on your disabilities rather than consider who you are or what you can offer in the relationship.
Some Of The Struggles Of Dating As A Disabled
Handicap dating comes with lots of challenges, most of which centres around the misconceptions and personal battles they engage themselves in. There is a lot of work to be done to overcome these hurdles.
- Emotional Issues: This is arguably the biggest struggle of finding love as a disabled. It includes adjusting your self-image and building your self-worth in such a way that prepares you mentally for what’s ahead. The emotional issues range from the fear of being rejected, fear of being looked down upon and perception. Most people with disabilities tend to lose the battle before the war by indulging in self-abasement. They often think they would not find someone to love them other than someone who also has a disability. This has led to a vast majority of people with disabilities opting for casual dates other than serious dates.
The truth is that dating or any type of love escapade is a function of the mind and the feeble-hearted can’t find much success. Disabled people often forget that even people without disabilities also have their fair share of difficulties in trying to find love or dating. Although there are lots of people who have tried dating and failed, there are several multitudes who have also faced humiliation and rejection but have bounced back stronger. The key to overcoming the emotional issues that cloud the mind of a disabled person is to approach the dating life with a strong resolve and vigour, aswell as willingness to find the desired person.
- Cultural And Societal Issues: the socio-cultural issues surrounding the dating life of a disabled person makes the whole process extra difficult. Their perception and treatment varies from one society to the other. In some extreme situations, people with disabilities are handled awkwardly and adjudged differently from the rest of the people. They are in such cases ignored and sometimes confined to reside in a particular area designated for them. The combination of seclusion and second-class treatment batters them emotionally and gives them little or no chance to date. The best way to overcome this challenge is to adopt the practice already in vogue in developed countries. Here, people with disabilities are dignified and glorified, with the society already sensitized to accept them the way they are. Most importantly, people with disabilities should be respected just like normal people and their rights to love should be upheld.
- Sacrifice: Let’s face it, dating someone with a disability comes with several challenges that tends to scare people away. Take for instance, dating someone who has a mobility impairment would mean that if your date needs a wheelchair to move, dates and hangouts must be planned around places that are wheelchair accessible. This could also mean that your car needs to be modified to accommodate a portable wheel chair ramp. The implication of this is that the other party in the relationship would need to give more than the usual. It requires a whole new level of care, understanding and sacrifice. A handicap dating that involves a mobility impairment would mean that the disabled person needs to be wheeled about, require assistance in opening doors for them when you go on a date, helping them get in and out of vehicles and more. The combinations of these extra commitments usually pose a threat to the disabled. Suitors or potential partners often steer clear of these responsibilities hence, depriving the disabled person of their partner preference.
- Structural Designs And Building Plans: this is one of the most vital issues combatting handicap dating. For instance, the United States Access Board has a law that guides accessible entrances in every building. At least 60% of public entrances must be accessible in every new construction in addition to entrances that directly serve parking facilities, elevated walkways, tenancies and pedestrian tunnels. The Americans with Disability ACT (ADA) also requires that all buildings must have a wheelchair access. The law includes old and existing public buildings and they can be sued for noncompliance with the ADA.
Every public structure should conform to the accessibility guidelines for buildings and facilities as this is considered as a civil right of people with disabilities. Banks, hospitals, parks, airports, museums, schools, workplaces, hotels and all other public facilities are included. This is a major challenge that militates against handicap dating. Although most public facilities in the developed countries do not have issues of non-compliance, third world countries are often guilty of this.
- Proper Sensitization: the lack of education and proper sensitization of the society at large hinders the prospect of a disabled person in their love affairs. In some underdeveloped and third world countries, some disabled persons are considered as an aberration and a deviation from the norm. Dating with a disability is made difficult when the society draws a line between the people affected and rest. The lack of sensitization and physical proficling that surrounds handicap dating needs to be debunked. The society needs to be informed that people with disabilities are no less human. People who come across them shouldn’t focus on their disabilities but rather, speak edifying words and engage them in interesting subjects. Ensuring that one doesn’t get entangled in the impairments of a disabled person doesn’t necessarily mean pretending they don’t exist. The most important thing is to be realistic, ensuring that every conversation doesn’t tend towards what they don’t have, rather, what makes them unique.
An average individual who has a disability must be battling with one issue or the other. These issues ranges from confidence, “dating panic attack”, negative perception, the feeling of not being good enough and more. The common thing about these issues is that they are all the function of the mind. The fact is that these issues are prevalent even with people who have no disability whatsoever. Issues that relate with the heart and emotions are best handled with a positive attitude. In these situations, it is important to identify self-pity as a major enemy that needs to be defeated.
Denying the problems encountered in handicap dating would be naïve. A disabled person needs to recognize that in various aspects of life, people are faced with a plethora of choices. It is, however, important to recognize that amidst the choices available, opting for one maximizes your self-worth is important.
You may also want to read Disability and Sex: Everything You Need To Know