The heart wants what it wants, and we certainly can’t choose who we fall in love with, but we can choose how we approach the subject of relationships and how we treat the person we like. A disabled individual going out with an able-bodied date is faced with a whole bunch of unanswered questions mainly revolving around how their date would react to their disability, but that doesn’t mean the person they’re out with isn’t well-informed, considerate, and open-minded. Given that we hope our readers would be just as described if interested in disabled singles dating, we’d like to offer some guidance as to how to make that a reality.
#1: Get to Know the Person
Keeping in mind that you’re being assessed by your date just like you’re assessing them, strive to get to know the person sitting across the table from you. Being able to see past someone’s disability is much easier when you’ve had experience with differently-abled individuals than when you’re a newbie, but at least do your best not to turn the date into an interview on their condition. We all come in different shapes and sizes, with different quirks and personalities that make us who we are.
Find out what you and your date have in common because this will be the decisive factor whether you go on date 2 or not. Maybe they like the same books as you, speak the same foreign language or have an insanely large family like you. Common interests will definitely keep the conversation going late into the night, and make the evening much more pleasant than talking about the negative effects of multiple ear infections on the hearing system.
#2: Don’t Ignore the Disability
Here’s where it gets tricky – you’re supposed to treat your disabled date the same way he or she treats you – as a person they happened to find themselves on a date with. The only problem is that they’re disabled and you can’t and shouldn’t ignore that fact as you find the right balance between talking about the latest Queen biopic and what it’s like to only use their left eye 10% of the time. Obviously, the more visible the disability, the more difficult it will be to act like it’s not there, and whatever you do just don’t pretend you’re not curious about it if you clearly are. It’s better to ask a few questions than to pretend it doesn’t exist if you want to know more.
#3: Don’t Offer to Help
A disabled person who’s on a date with you can take care of him or herself quite well without you. If they couldn’t they wouldn’t be dining with you in the first place. That being said, a disabled person doesn’t need or want your help, and even if they did they’re perfectly capable of asking for it. Offering help to a person just because you think they need it can be offensive, and to a disabled individual, it’s a signal that you’re way too fixated on their condition. It’s extremely off-putting and can ruin a perfectly nice evening. Don’t worry, if they need your help they’ll plain and simple ask for it, but the point is – they don’t need it!
#4: Be Honest from the Get-Go
Nobody likes to have their time wasted, and just like you would rather find out sooner than later if someone you were interested in didn’t feel the same way, so would your disabled date. Mind you, if they don’t like you rest assured they’ll let you know as quickly as possible and move on, and you should extend them the same courtesy. Open and free disabled dating is what every individual living with impairment dreams of, and stringing them along is unfair and unjust because they don’t deserve it.