No matter what situation you’re in, relationships are very important whether it be a caregiver, friend, family member, significant other etc. It always feels good to have that one person or group of people that you can count on to be there for you no matter what and talk to you about anything. I’d like to focus this blog on my past and present experiences dating with a disability.
My accident happened when I was 16 years old and I’m 28 now. I’ve had relationships before and after my injury so I’ve experienced both sides. I have been asked many times what dating is like as a C-1 C-2 quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down, as I’m sure others with disabilities have. It seems like a complicated question, but some of the answers aren’t any different from those who are able-bodied. We still face the same obstacles like finding someone our type and who loves us for who we are. We all have ups and downs and experience the same rejection just like everyone else. We also have to learn that it’s okay and we don’t need to settle with just anybody to make us happy.
The thing that is different is managing our disabilities while also trying to maintain a relationship. We have to accept that our circumstances and the challenges we face continue and don’t just disappear once we enter a relationship. This might be extremely hard to handle, especially when trying to find a companion who’s understanding of the situation. Everyone’s experiences are different but it all comes down to acceptance.
After my accident, I had many doubts about finding someone who loves me for me. I was in a relationship for about a year and a half with someone who was also a quad. It became difficult due to both of our situations and we ended it on good terms almost 2 years ago. Since then I went to online dating sites like OkCupid, Match.com and finally Plenty of Fish (POF). That’s where I met my boyfriend Ryan and we’ve been together since the middle of December.
Ryan has been through disability-related situations throughout his life and he understands and accepts me for who I am despite my disability. Ryan is an exceptional guy, and one who has proven his love for me through his actions, affection, care, and trust. We’re both teaching each other new things about ourselves along with what it takes to be in a relationship together. He’s pursuing a new career path helping others and is currently taking CNA classes.
I’m very happy with my life right now and couldn’t be more excited about what the future may hold. I continue to live each day to the fullest and make the best of what I’m given. With all of the things I’ve been through I’m very lucky to be alive and have the chance to live out my life to the depths I want. I am grateful that I can make my own decisions and stay true to myself and my beliefs.
Despite the obstacles that do or may come my way, I go at them full force ready to overcome. Sometimes I think I’m unique in this way, especially when I hear stories of people who struggle with acceptance, obstacles, and challenges. This doesn’t just apply to people with disabilities, but able-bodied people as well. Everybody has something in their life that may stop them in their tracks, forcing them to choose how to handle it or go about dealing.