Dating With A Disability

Dating With A Disability

As an individual who is bound to a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy, I often wonder if it will ever be possible for find “Mr. Right” despite the tender loving care I require due to my disability. I will be honest with you and say that the dating arena has never been that welcoming to me. As a 30 year old woman, I have only had one real boyfriend. Using my age as a factor for this debate, I cannot help but to turn to my disability and think that my “lack” of abilities has something to do with my void in the relationship department.

I know it may seem silly to you all, but I cannot help but assume that some males may be intimidated by my disability, afraid to ask what I can and cannot do and also assuming that I am “fragile” in a sense, maybe both physically and emotionally. While both of those statements may be proven to a certain extent, I am just like everyone else in the sense that if you hurt me, I can say ouch! Although the reluctance is frustrating, I can certainly understand. Everyone is somewhat apprehensive about things that may arise in life that they don’t understand, and that’s OK. Obstacles, are as a matter of fact difficult to navigate and understand, and we all look for a way out of something when we are afraid or cannot quite wrap our heads around something.

I am one of the most understanding and laid back people you will ever meet, but I would like to say that I am an open book when it comes to my Cerebral Palsy. I am willing to teach those that may not be as informed as others and possibly those who have been misinformed. After all, there are an abundance of misconceptions about Cerebral Palsy. I have seen and even befriended some people that are perhaps not as vocal about their condition, but I can honestly say it has made me who I am today, and without it, I would be lacking my tremendous courage and strength as well as my lust for life!

Yes, I may need some assistance performing tasks of daily living, but I put my shoes on both feet just like you do, I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a fork and spoon just like you do. The only difference is that I may require a helping hand doing things which many people deem simple and meticulous. I have an overflowing amount of love and compassion in my heart that I am eager to share with another person, I long for someone to understand and more importantly put up with all of my funky quirks and mood swings (lord knows we all have our flaws, and mood swings are definitely one of mine!)

I have not found “Mr. Right” yet. He has not come to me, but I am willing to wait in the wings, have patience, and keep holding on. For all we know, I could very well be made to be an independent woman, and if I am, that’s fine, too. However, I will continue to wait until “Mr Right”, comes along and sweeps me out of my chair.

So, now that all of that has been said, my question to you is this: Would you date a person with a disability? The disability does not have to be physical in nature like mine; it can even be a mental one. Why or why not? Do you think your decision would provide mutual understanding? Opinions are encouraged and certainly welcomed! Don’t worry, I won’t get offended if your answer is no. I simply want honesty. So, please, let’s hear your voices!

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Karla Culbertson
About Karla Culbertson 2 Articles

Karla Culbertson is a 30 year old from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is an independent writer with Blurb Books, and she currently has two poetry books on sale on that site. She is currently working on a memoir, which should be completed in the next year or two. She lives with Cerebral Palsy and is wheelchair dependent as a result, but she does not let this hinder her lust for life. Her passions include writing, making others feel special, and making sure the world is filled with compassion. It is her ultimate goal in life to reassure others that you can achieve your goals despite the many challenges life may throw your way!

  • Thunderchief1965

    Brava, Karla, Brava! You’re a wordsmith genius!

  • CR8Smiles

    I have dated someone with a disability. I think some won’t but you wouldn’t even be friends with them. Others can see the people and not the chair. I have many friends in chairs, and my first real love was in a chair.

  • Karl Gluck

    I would love to meet someone like me, someone to help me button my left shirt sleeve so I don’t have to squeeze my hand through. And to help with the other things those of us with CP on the right side need help with. But I’ve gotten along for 50 years with CP and I think I’ll continue, although it does seem to be getting worse as I get older…

  • William Morris

    I have dated a woman who is wheelchair disabled for over 6 years now. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. True, it doesn’t come without its challenges, but Kim and I are mentally connected in ways I’ve never connected with anyone. We met online and I was really in a position where I was ready for something new and exciting in my life. She was attractive, witty, and extremely fun to be around. But, she also had Friedreich’s Ataxia, a neurological disorder that affects speech, motor skills and is progressive. We have our ups and downs, like any couple, but we’ve been able to work around caregiver responsibilities and all the financial situations that are part of the disabled life. The beginning of the relationship was all about learning what we could and couldn’t do, and how, as an able bodied person, I would be able to cope with the disability. The secret was to have no secrets. Everyone wants to put on a good show when you start dating, but when you are disabled; the other person really does need to know what they are getting into. This doesn’t mean download on the first date! But it does mean being truthful when asked but not overwhelming with information. The key is for the disabled person to be themselves and not the disability. We, as the other partner, want to know who it is we are dating. Yes the disability has become part of it, but if that’s all there is I would have lost interest really fast. The other part that helps is getting out there. We can’t find you if your whole life is hiding in an apartment and going to support group functions. There are a lot of people just like me. I like a strong willed woman, but I’m a caregiver, a person who wants and has to take care of the person they date. Trying to find both those traits is almost an oxymoron. Unfortunately, the people I used to wind up with were the ones who needed help mentally. So you can imagine how much a relief it was to have found someone whose only faults were physical! So there I had it, a strong person who needs to be helped. You might think, as a disabled person, that it will be such an incredible thing to find someone who can deal with your situation. Well it’s just as incredible for us able bodied people to find the person who fits our wants and needs as well. We may not know it at the time, but we will figure it out that it just might be someone who is disabled that is the person we are destined to be with for the rest of our lives.

  • JenniferDavisEwing

    I didn’t have much luck with dating, until I took the bull by the horns. The last part of my online dating profile said “In the interest of fair play, full disclosure, and all that–I’m neurologically handicapped, cannot drive, and I sometimes use a cane (now a walker) when I walk. If I haven’t scared you away, I’d love to hear from you!” While that did really cut down on the responses I got (color me unsurprised), I did ultimately get married almost 11 yrs ago, when I was in my early thirties, to someone I’d actually met when we were college students.

    While I don’t regret being honest in my dating profile, it also meant that more than a few responses I got were from guys clearly looking for a “pity f**k,” who seemed to have the attitude of “I’m so handsome/witty/charming/clever, you should be grateful I chose to date a gimp like you! The least you can do is put out on the first date!” No thanks…

  • Ronald Messier

    Karla: I can relate to most of what you say. I am 63 and live in Quincy,MA. It borders Boston to the south. I too have had it tough over the years w/women. I try and nothing ever seems to work. I’ll give an example in the summer of 2014. I was at the Boston Harbor hotel listening to a live band. A woman near my age approached my chair behind and on my left. She asked me about the band. They were playing Soul music. I said I liked the band and the songs there were playing. Then I froze up. After a few minutes she walked away. That night I went to bed asking god why something like that happened? I’m reading a book by Ken Solin and he says to take something you are passionate about and use that on a dating profile. Hockey(NY Rangers),bicycling,trivia and football(NE Patriots) are my passions.