I know I’ve talked a lot on here about specific instances of dating or navigating the dating world with a disability, but I don’t think I’ve really given more of the overall picture of what it’s like.
If I could sum it up in one word it would be this: stressful. And the area where it’s the most stressful? Online dating. Now keep in mind, my foray into online dating was pretty short…just a few months after I broke up with my ex. I met some interesting people, went on some interesting dates (went on some not-so-interesting ones too) but it was also a little overwhelming. See, when you’re disabled and when you have a limp, you have to try figure out when you’re going to tell the person you’re going to go on a date with about it. Do you tell them before you actually go out and risk them being a creep who wants to try take advantage of you? Do you tell them when you’re on the actual date? Do you tell them when they notice your limp? I usually opted for the third option which from appearances, usually went fine. Some guys would be curious and ask me questions about it which I welcomed. Then unfortunately, others would never call me again.
Dating someone you know or someone you met through someone else is slightly easier because the other person has a chance to get to know you first so it’s not such a big deal to have to reveal the disability because chances are, it already came up. But that doesn’t always mean it’s any easier to find someone to be with long term.
My mom warned me when I was young that some guys might not want to date me because I had a disability. It hurt my feelings a lot growing up but one day over lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, I told her that and she said something that was really profound and has stuck with me. She said, “I didn’t want you to think it was something in your control or your fault that was the reason someone didn’t want to date you or keep dating you.” She didn’t want me to think it was my personality or my looks that would scare a guy off because I was pretty and I had a great personality.
Yes, it sucks that have a bit of an extra obstacle when it comes to dating. I think most of my single friends can attest to how hard dating can be on its own. Do I wish I didn’t have my MD sometimes or my limp when it comes to dating? Of course. Do I wonder what it would be like to date without the two of them? Absolutely. I’d love not to have to worry about it sometimes or plan out how I was going to tell someone.
But I’m also very grateful for it. Why? Because it filters out guys that I wouldn’t want to be with anyway. If someone doesn’t want to be with me because of something I can’t control, something I was born with, then that’s not the kind of person I want or am meant to be with. The person I want to be with is a man. A man that can stand up and not be afraid to walk side-by-side with a girl who has a “pimp limp.” A man that can help me up a curb. A man who doesn’t mind lifting me off of the ground when I’ve fallen. A man who will be ok with the fact that I may not be able to run a marathon, but know that I’ll be standing at the finish line cheering him on when he does.
I get now more than ever what my mom was trying to say. I don’t have to convince anyone I’m worth being with just because I have a disability. And that my friends, is dating with a pimp limp.