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When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore. If you crutch, cane or wheel and they embrace all that’s real, that’s amore.
Having a physical disability can make navigating an already daunting dating world even more challenging. Wheelchair users and others with physical limitations must contend with not only physical barriers but societal ones as well. Society can be quick to stereotype people with physical disabilities as frail, ill and uninterested in dating; and while people living with physical disabilities know that these labels are not only inaccurate but absurd; the simple fact that they exist can be a barrier to having the confidence to put themselves out there.
But! When it all boils down, your disability is only one aspect of who you are. Dating is all about finding someone you connect with as a person, and people come in (and desire) all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Believe me when I say, there’s a person out there for everyone. Heck, there are several people out there for everyone. So, how do you find them?
It’s 2021 and we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, so hear me when I say, online dating platforms are the way to go! I mean if you want to be set up with your mom’s hairdresser’s, recently divorced son, go for it, but if you’re looking for options here are a few sites to get you started.
General Dating Sites
- Silver Singles is a premium site for those over 50 looking for friendship, dating, marriage and everything in between.
- eharmony is advertised as the #1 trusted dating app, with the highest quality dating pool.
- Match is one of the most established dating sites with the largest membership base
Disability-Specific Dating Sites
- Whispers 4 U is one of the top disabled service providers, helping thousands of differently abled singles find love since 2002. The platform is open to both people with disabilities and able-bodied people alike.
- Dating 4 Disabled is a site that aims to help people with disabilities make friends and matches for life. The site allows users to open personal blogs, chat with other members in forums and much more.
Your online profile
Be upfront about your disability
Not only is it a part of who you are but the reality is a physical disability is not something you should (or can) hide indefinitely from potential dating partners.
Then move beyond
You are not just someone with a disability. Beef up your profile with your interests, talents, values, goals, and desires. Paint a colourful picture of who you are as a person and what you’re looking for in a partner. As you craft your profile, keep in mind why you want to find someone to date. Is it for companionship? A physical relationship? Adventure? Don’t focus on your enjoyment of rom coms, if you’re hoping to find someone to go skydiving, geocaching, or ATV-ing with.
Location, Location, Location
Choose somewhere you’re as independent as possible
Pick somewhere you are familiar with, and that you know is accessible. There is nothing worse than having to ask your date to haul your chair up a flight of stairs, or ending up at a restaurant that only has high tables or booths. Select a place you know you will be comfortable feeling uncomfortable in, because let’s face it, first dates are always a little awkward.
Choose somewhere public
The reality is, there are weirdos out there and not everyone approaches dating sites with thes best of intentions. Having a physical disability can leave you particularly vulnerable as you may not have an accessible escape. Until you get to know someone, always select locations that are public enough that you have somewhere to turn if the date takes a turn for the worst.
Look good, feel good
Make sure your grooming game is strong
Plan your date for a time when you have enough time to pull out all the stops when it comes to looking your best. Spend a little extra time in the bathroom to make sure your parts are smooth and smelling good! You never know where your date might lead, perhaps a snuggle at sunset, a spin around a crowded dance floor, or an impromptu lap ride down the sidewalk. A razor extension handle can help you get all those hard to reach areas.
Don’t forget, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it” – Edith Head
And a partner is no exception. Take time to craft the perfect outfit. Check out IZ Adaptive for clothing that is stylish, well-fitting and accessible to everyone!
Prepare for rejection
And not just as someone on the receiving end. You will reject just as many people as reject you. It might be for something as minor as loud chewing, or as major as a uncovered bucket-list, wheelchair fetish. The reality is, there will be people you just don’t connect with and 9x out of 10 it will have nothing to do with your chair or disability. Don’t settle!
Other things to remember as you venture into the dating world
Everyone has baggage
Everyone brings their insecurities to any relationship, romantic or other. Your physical disability may, at times, seem heavy but we all have something that weighs us down. Acknowledge it, but then carry on. You have life to live!
What is attractive to one person may not appeal to others
This goes for any attribute. Some people find tall people attractive, some people like short people. Some people find confidence attractive, others find it off-putting. A physical disability is simply another attribute and while some people may not dig it, there are many who will. Keep putting yourself out there, you will find them!
Check your own biases
Do you feel your disability makes you unworthy of love? Do you feel that it’s impossible for anyone to love someone with a disability? If so, you are wrong, and more wrong. People of all abilities like to self-sabotage. Reflect on the energy you’re putting out to the dating world. Check any biases you may be harbouring and open yourself up to love!
For more articles on living your best life with a disability, as well as more assistive devices to help you get date night ready, click over to evika.io