Everyone deserves to love and be loved including disabled people. Disability dating has faced challenges in a world where the dating culture places so much importance on your physical appearance. In fact, it is seen as an emotional risk for everyone. For people living with disabilities, it is an even more challenging venture.
Online disability dating has made things easier for the disabled community with more people having access to internet services. The handicapped can now find handicap love. These specialized sites are not only for the disable but also for people who have no reservations about dating someone who is. There are various specialized disability dating sites out there for you.
In this article, you’ll be seeing how handicapped lovers have been able to build strong relationships. Reading about these love-struck couples could almost move you to tears. So, yes, have some tissues nearby just in case.
How Bill Met Shelley Twice
The first love story that will be narrated is considered to be the favorite for this article. It is also the longest out of all the stories that will be shared. Brace yourself for a tale of love like no other and read on.
Bill Ott will never forget the day he met Shelley Belgard. It was sometime in spring 1988 when he was 12 years old. He was a shy kid who was into sports and music. Shelley, a brunette who was born with a mental disability (hydrocephalus ― a build-up of excess fluid in the brain which can cause damage), was a 9-year old then. She was a direct contrast to Bill as regards his shyness.
They had both come to the Montgomery County Club to get social; make friends, have fun, and so on. When they met, Shelley smiled at Bill as he introduced himself. As he would put it, he didn’t know what love was until he met her.
He was a 12-year old who had fallen in young love. If he had told anybody he was in love with a girl, he may have sounded unbelievable to most people. The fact that he had Down syndrome (born with an extra chromosome which affects one mentally and physically) was going to make his confession seem strange. At that time, he already had a mature notion that being in love had nothing to do with age.
Shelley felt the same for him too. She relates that moment to a scene in the movie, Dirty Dancing, where Baby and Johnny had their first meeting. She said, “You’re looking at this awesome-looking guy, and you really don’t want to blow it. You kind of want to play it safe and not play it safe at the same moment.”
They lived far away from each other; he stayed in Silver Spring, while she resided in Potomac. The only right thing to do at that point was to exchange phone numbers, which they did.
Their parents were of great help in making them become close. They would drive the two to each other’s houses or to see movies together. The duo also met at the social club many times and were very close throughout high school. Shelley was Bill’s date at his junior and senior proms. At each event, they would dance all night long.
However, after high school, it was hard for them to meet as frequently as before. This was because they were in separate assisted-living programs, very far away from each other. Eventually, they lost contact. Shelley was lonely with Bill not being close to her anymore. On the other hand, Bill never forgot his true love.
Many years passed. Bill, along with several other people living with disabilities, went on an annual Caribbean cruise under the guidance of chaperones. Shelley decided to be a part of the program in 2017. Shelley’s mother, Gail Belgard, remembers how Bill was so excited to see his high school love again during the orientation meeting for the cruise.
Once the journey began, Shelley started suffering from seasickness. She couldn’t leave her cabin. When a chaperone asked for a volunteer to keep her company, Bill signaled with his hand shot into the air. That was how things started to heat up again.
In December of 2017, Bill made his intentions of marrying Shelley known to his parents. In January, he asked her to marry him and she said yes. It wasn’t easy for their parents to come to terms with the new development, especially Gail. She wanted to be sure that Bill was the right man for her daughter.
Shelley and Bill became room-mates after two years of dating. It was hard for them to find a balance while co-habiting, but they eventually achieved a great level of understanding after several sessions with a therapist. They learnt how to communicate better, respect each other, and share.
Towards the end of 2011, wedding plans had begun. Officially, it was going to be regarded as a commitment ceremony, rather than a legal event so as not to jeopardize Shelley’s health insurance. However, the ceremony, which was held in September of 2012, was considered as an official wedding by all in attendance.
The couple still continued visiting a therapist in order to learn how to co-exist better and strengthen their bond. They complement each other’s disabilities. Bill is good with directions, while it is easy for Shelley to get lost because of issues with her visual perception. When he is facing difficulties in diction, she aids him. He learnt what to do whenever she had a seizure.
Reproduction is impossible for the couple due to the severity of their conditions. Bill had to undergo a vasectomy. To him, the best part about their union is being able to live with a woman who he has loved since the day he met her.
The Special Needs Duo Who Got Married
Lindsey and Nick engaged in sports together when they were younger. She has intellectual disability, while Nick has Dubowitz syndrome. Dubowitz syndrome is known to be a rare genetic disorder that causes stunted growth, receding chin, and microcephaly.
In 2005, the duo started dating. Lindsey just wanted to be loved. She texted Nick about getting married and the rest was history. They had their wedding in October 2012.
Years ago, there was a sad event. Lindsey had decided that she would want to live in her own apartment. Her parents allowed her to attain that level of independence. They were to realize that it was a wrong move.
She met a man (22 years older) who she eloped with. He didn’t allow her to be close to her family and friends for four years. She went along with such arrangement.
It was a painful period for her family. As her parents would recollect, they couldn’t control what she did and couldn’t compel her to come back to them. Lindsey returned home one fateful day, and of course, they had to accept their daughter back. They helped her through the period of her emotional recovery.
Lindsey’s parents were now able to provide the much-needed guidance that would aid their daughter in making better life decisions in the future. They wanted to make sure that there would never be a next time. Years later, they were glad that their daughter was ready to settle down again with her true love ― Nick.
The couple’s parents are very hopeful for a bright future for their children. They want them to learn how to be independent as a couple without parental support.
Blogger Linda Atwell is of the opinion that there are some individuals with mental disabilities who shouldn’t make the commitment of marriage. She, however, believes that no couple or person with disabilities should face limitations as regards what they want out of love. Linda asserts that the decision to get married should be left to the “special couple” and their loved ones.
The blogger receives inspiration from her cousin, Eric, and his wife. Eric and Lori have not let their disabilities deter them from having a happy marriage. They do things together, go to places together, and support each other in any way possible. The couple has their bad days, but that hasn’t stopped them from staying married for over three decades.
Linda says she wants that for her daughter (Lindsey) too. Her answer to the question, “How can two special needs people marry?” is this: “They will walk down the aisle and say I do”.
A Couple with Cerebral Palsy Ties the Knot
When you watch the video (which has been translated to English), you would be moved to the extent that weeping may seem to be the best thing to do. If you always cry at weddings, then it wouldn’t be difficult to let the tears flow as you watch the video. This Israeli bride and groom both have cerebral palsy, but they made it work!
Cerebral Palsy affects a person’s movement, balance, and posture. It is a congenital disorder that affects muscle tone. It is caused by the abnormal development of the brain, which often happens before birth.
The wedding band was on a chain that the groom could easily slip onto the bride’s hand. It was later worn by the beautiful bride, Neta Eyal, on her neck. The two got married at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. The guests at the wedding excitedly described the nuptial ceremony as the “Triumph of the spirit”, adding that the sky is the limit for the couple.
The groom, Shaul Inbari was born with the condition, but that didn’t stop him from becoming an ordained rabbi. He has written articles and a book on the significance of the Halakha to persons living with disabilities. Concerning marriage, at some point, he almost gave up on the idea. He was excited when his dream came to fruition ― marrying a girl he loves and who reciprocates that love.
People around the rabbi think of him as a very optimistic person. They see him and his wife as spiritual “twins”. Some think of the relationship between the lovebirds’ as lovely and pleasant to see. Apart from that, people who know them have been inspired by their successful plan to get married, believing that anyone can achieve their set goals.
They Both Cried At Their Wedding
It’s not every day you hear about a wedding between two handicapped lovers. However, Zachary and Denise Gauthier didn’t let their disability hinder them from fulfilling a dream of true love and getting hooked. They’ve been able to show people that handicap love is possible.
Denise confessed that their wedding was the best day of her life. She said, “Everything was so perfect . . .” She also revealed that she had loved him since the fourth grade. “When we got married and it actually happened, I thought I was dreaming”, she said.
Zachary stated that he had been looking forward to the joyful day ever since he was little. He said, “Ever since I was 9 years old, I wanted to get married.” He thought his desires sounded crazy. He knew he was different from others in a way. His mother was a great inspiration, telling him that he could do whatever he wanted ― that he could get married and have kids of his own.
The fact the two were both optimistic about life and finding love made their relationship work. Denise didn’t deny the fact that it wasn’t an easy goal to achieve, but she had a positive outlook about it all. She added, “It’s hard to overcome obstacles, but in overcoming those obstacles, we learn a lot about other people and each other.”
Denise and Zach dated for 10 years before they got married. They met in Elementary school. She was a friend of Zach’s sister Francesca. She had a crush on him from the very first day they met.
On the day Zach proposed to her, his mother helped him open the ring box. She exclaimed, “Oh my God!” Francesca was Denise’s maid of honor at the wedding. Denise and Zach both cried at their wedding.
Nicole Brobeck and Curtis Braxton
Nicole, who has cerebral palsy, and Curtis, who has hydrocephalus and a seizure disorder, met at a living skills program in Northern California. This was in 2007, while she was still mourning her dad. Curtis approached her politely, while she was crying and feeling shy. They easily became friends and began having long hours of phone conversations every night.
The pair got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2012. They would have had their wedding the following May, but Nicole’s mother was left with huge medical bills after her dad died. There wasn’t enough money to plan for the wedding. Another sad thing was that a charitable organization that had pledged to throw them a wedding backed out.
It wasn’t until a florist who had contacts in the wedding industry discovered the pair shopping one day that huge help came to have the wedding of their dreams. It was a fantastic wedding.
Nicole’s mum said, “There is no disabled love. There is only true love. And they have it.” Curtis said, “I love Nicole because she’s so happy and she doesn’t let her disability get to her.” Nicole has to use a walker, wheelchair, or scooter to get around. Curtis uses a walker.
Larissa’s Undying Love For Murphy
This pair had been dating for 10 months when Ian had a car accident that led to him suffering from a traumatic brain injury. This did not extinguish Larissa’s love for him. They got married in August 2010. The wedding would have been held in 2006 as soon as the couple graduated from college, but with the accident, it had to be postponed.
The local court had to approve their union because they felt it was in Ian’s best interest to get married, due to his condition.
As she wrote on a blog post as a guest contributor, “Marrying Ian meant that I was signing on to things that I don’t think I ever would’ve chosen for myself ― working my whole life, having a husband who can’t be left alone . . . We love each other. And we love God.”
“I still don’t think that Ian would have left me if the role had been reversed. And walking away from my best friend was never truly an option.”
Junko Asaka’s Resolve
Junko Asaka talks about her own experiences in disability dating, revealing how she learned to love herself so she could love others better. The post was published in 2009, but it is a tale of how she was able to find love. At that time, she was celebrating reciprocated love of almost 3 years.
In the past, Junko’s disability made her feel scared while in love with guys. She usually ended up in painful situations whenever it happened. It took her a long time to learn how to express her own feelings without feeling scared. She became confident that her love could be reciprocated.
Junko believes that it is the most natural thing for human beings to be in love. As she put it, “. . . if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody else.” She had to block out all the negativity she felt and received about her physical disability (a rare condition characterized by a bone malfunction which causes bone fragility and stunted growth).
A Disabled Man and His Able-Bodied Girlfriend
26-year old Shane Burcaw was born with a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The condition has left him confined him to a wheelchair since he was a two-year-old. Shane found love despite this. He is in a relationship with 23-year old Hannah Aylward. The couple have been dating for three years and plan to get married once Hannah graduates from college.
In the beginning, it was a long distance relationship. They are both living together in Minneapolis, Minnesota presently. The couple still encounter people who misunderstand their relationship. Sometimes it is the case of thinking she is the caregiver, while he is her patient. Whenever they reveal the nature of their relationship, the reply is usually one of amazement.
In view of such misconceptions, they decided to set up a YouTube channel, Squirmy, and Grubs, and have since gained over 300,000 followers. Shane explains that their goal is to make others see their kind of relationship as a normal thing.
The Inter-ability Couple, Barton and Megan Cutter
Barton and Megan Cutter have been able to break barriers and disprove assumptions that they would never make it as a couple. The couple met in Arizona while training in martial arts. With a successful marriage of over a decade, they also have a successful business which involves providing writing, consulting and coaching services.
The inter-ability couple has inspired others through their love and services. Check this website to learn more about this phenomenal couple. The duo released a book titled “Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love” in 2013.
Barton was advised against applying for college due to his disability (cerebral palsy). Now, he is a Certified Professional Co-active Coach, international speaker, and inclusion expert (inclusive program design) with over a decade of experience. On the other hand, Megan is a professional social media strategist, writer, and editor.
They Met Online
Danielle and Shawn McElroy, who are both confined to wheelchairs, met in a chat room on a dating site. Their relationship was one of a kind. They lived 2700 miles apart, in different countries!
They didn’t let the fact that their families and friends were not optimistic about their long-distance relationship deter them. They were so into each other ― communicating via phone calls and webcam. In time, the pair were able to start visiting one another. Three years after, they got married in Canada.
Hopefully, you had a few tears to shed while reading the above stories. From the above, it is clear that having a disability is not a hindrance to getting a life partner and finding happiness. Many handicapped lovers have discovered handicap love through online handicap dating. You too can chase that dream of happiness however you want.