So it’s been a whole, oh, couple of months since I talked about dating so I felt like it was time to bring it back on the table again 🙂
In all seriousness though, the general consensus of dating with a disability seems to be “if you don’t make a big deal, then the other person won’t either.” We’re supposed to just act cool and calm and aloof about the whole thing. Don’t freak them out with talk of a limp or falling. Just act confident and it’ll all be ok.
But here’s the thing…how am I supposed to do that when I myself think it’s a big deal? Of course, as I’ve said many times, I’m lucky that I do not have a progressive or fatal form of MD. I don’t need any kind of assistance aid and I’m really extremely fortunate in all aspects of my life. However, none of that means that my MD still isn’t a big part of my daily life. I just got back from a huge trip that reminded me every single day of what my limitations were and how frustrating it could be to not be able to travel the same way other people can. Nine out of every 10 guys I see/meet/etc. want a girl they can run with or hike with and I can’t do those things. Weakness and difficulty doing even the simplest tasks are things that happen pretty much every day. Falling happens anywhere from once every couple of months to once a month (or sometimes twice in one week). I don’t want to have kids because of it. So yeah, I feel like it’s kind of a big deal.
If you’re going to date me, then all this comes with the territory. You’re going to need to help me up when I fall. I might need an arm for a curb or a belt loop boost to get up a big step onto a bus. You’re going to have to support me and be prepared for when I get questioned about being disabled or using handicapped parking spots. You’re going to have to not care that the girl in your life isn’t a trophy girlfriend and walks with a limp.
I’m not just looking for someone who can “put up with” the fact I have MD or will be appeased by my acting like it’s not a big deal. Because sometimes I absolutely hate it. I need someone who wants to be in it and who wants to do so for the long haul. Someone who loves me for me and is happy to do all those things I just mentioned because they love me and accept me. Not because I made them think that it wasn’t that big of of a deal.
I know I obviously come with a lot more than just a label and mobility impairment and I want my personality to shine through more than my MD when I meet someone so I get where this advice comes from completely. But I also can’t deny that this is part of who I am and that it’s a big part of my life and my day-to-day experiences. I don’t need to go into a date with a “woe is me” attitude or anything, but I also don’t think I’m ever going to be able to go in all smiley and giggly and make jokes about my pimp limp because that’s not the reality of how I feel about my situation all the time. Maybe that means I’ll scare everyone off and not meet anyone, then so be it. I’m not here to present some perfect, fun-loving, ok 24/7 version of myself. I’m here to present the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. I don’t need to bust all that out on a first date of course but I’m sorry, I’m not going to pretend like this disability doesn’t affect my life just to make the guys I date more comfortable about it. I can’t act like I’m just like everyone else because I’m not.
Maybe my attitude is all wrong and I just haven’t accepted myself and my disability and that’s where this is all coming from. All I know is I want to be able to be truthful about my situation and not downplay anything just to be able to have someone in my life. That’s just not worth it.