I never thought that at 20 years of age I’d be writing such a personal, in-depth post on dating with a disability. But then again, I’m personal, I enjoy writing and low and behold I’M DISABLED.
Dating is always going to be a tricky field to master. For anyone the daunting thought of meeting someone new, even just for a couple of drinks, can make you so nervous. Before I even knew anything was wrong with me I remember the nerves of going on a first date (bare in mind it was a walk round the park but still IT WAS A DATE).
But after splitting up with my boyfriend of then 2 and a half years due to my struggling, it made me take a massive step back. I couldn’t look after myself, let alone hold down a relationship with someone, whilst living away from home. So when I moved back I looked at myself and thought I was the issue.
I found myself (when the time came) stressing about the things you don’t usually have to think about before a first date. “what will i do if theres no seats and i faint and he doesn’t know whats going on?” “what if i suddenly flare up” “what if i throw up everywhere” “what if what if what if”. It wasn’t about what to wear, how to do my hair, it was all about how to fit around my disability without making the other person uncomfortable.
But I shouldn’t have been so quick to jump in and judge myself. People wanted to date me, I found out eventually, people found me attractive, but it hit me after a few months of going round and round… I didn’t want to date them. Maybe it was to do with being in such a long relationship and not bouncing back, maybe it was to do with the lack of energy. Or maybe, just maybe, it was time to look after myself.
For me personally, I have found that dating with a disability whilst being young has been difficult so far. People not understanding, people not grasping the idea that I look fine and I’m really not, or someone just doesn’t like the idea of ‘having to look after me’. But I don’t need to date, I don’t need a boyfriend. For me, the path is to find out how to help myself, guide myself and then someone else can be added into the picture. Or may never. I don’t know. I find that if you’re young and adapting to your situation, there’s plenty of time in the future to date, etc. But I’ve found that the people that care… really do care, and instead of dating, making friends is key for me, and for my mental state, you can’t NOT socialise.
So if you’re young, battling a disability at the moment and you’re worrying about dating.
Don’t sweat it! Theres plenty of time and I find that we battle enough ignorance and heartache without having to add on top of it 😉 But, when you find someone thats right for you, they’ll stand by you no matter what. One day we’ll all find this person. But until then, be your own hero and don’t worry too much.