Myths about Dating & Disabilities

May the sometimes overwhelming dating experience instead become a greater, healthier and more meaningful adventure. 

I’ve compiled this list from experience in an attempt to foster acceptance and understanding for the people who date with disabilities and those who do or have dated people with physical disabilities. Dating is challenging in many ways for everyone and I feel that better communication and acceptance from both sides would drastically improve the experience for so many people.

So here are some of the myths that I have personally come across while navigating this vast ocean of relationships and courting:

In the end, everyone deserves to be loved fully, deeply and intentionally.

Myth 1: Physical disabilities do not define a person

Through experience I can confirm that it does 100%, and it doesn’t 100%, completely define you. My handicap has shaped and enhanced everything about my character and my identity, and influenced the way I interact with the people and the world around me. Even being aware of what I am incapable of has defined my inner belief systems and functioning. On the other hand (pun intended), I haven’t ever viewed myself as limited. I still believe that regardless and because of my handicap, I still get to live the life that I want and dream of.


Myth 2: Focus on the person, not the disability

You do not need to focus only on my personality just because I have a physical disability. You should focus on me as a whole – just like you should with any able-bodied individual. I would find it strange and alienating if possible suitors ignored one of the most important aspects of my being. This idea also implies that having a disability is somehow a flaw and needs to be overlooked and replaced instead with “positives” to offset this apparent failing. I do not need to make up for my disability with a stellar personality or try to prove myself to people I am dating any more than an able bodied individual would need to.


Myth 3: Disabled Individuals also deserve to be loved

Inherently this statement is true. In the correct context, everyone deserves to be loved. The problem arises when the way it is used mostly implies pity. We do not “also” deserve to be loved because we are handicapped, we also deserve to be loved because we exist and are human just like everyone else. We overcompensate naturally on basic activities in everyday life but we do not feel the need to overcompensate in love just because we are handicapped. Pity doesn’t offend us as much as it alienates and excludes us from the rest of the population who are also just looking for the right person to love them.


Myth 4: You should come with a disclaimer

Physically handicapped people should not need to explain their handicap more than anyone would need to explain any regular physical feature. If I place a photo of myself that accurately portrays how I appear on an online dating app, I am not required to add a disclaimer warning you that in case you didn’t notice and just so you can accept me before you swipe and we start having a conversation, I do indeed have a handicap and I hope that is ok with you. If you are someone truly looking for a life partner and we assume that possible matches are looking for the same outcome, you do not need approval or to overcompensate for what is – because it is who you are. This idea and the previous points should ring true for all people in the dating arena and would make the overwhelming dating experience a greater, healthier and more meaningful adventure. 

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