If I had to guess, it’s quite likely that a lot of you have tried online dating at least once. And let me assure you, I totally understand just how frustrating it can get. The constant swiping left and right can tire anyone out, but it becomes even more tiring when you have a disability.
Imagine the dating experience like walking down a never-ending corridor, with countless doors on each side. As you open some doors, you might find yourself going nowhere, while others could mark the exciting start of something special.
So, you gather the courage to try your luck by cautiously opening a few doors, purely out of curiosity. Before you know it, you’re faced with the disappointing truth that a significant portion of these doors can lead to dead-ends. Suddenly, you find yourself back in that hallway, contemplating which door to open next. It’s like an endless cycle that just keeps repeating itself. You get what I’m saying, right?
Now, put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s held back simply because of a disability. The world of dating becomes a much tougher when you’re differently-abled, mostly due to the preconceived notions people have around the word “disability.” Some might argue that online dating can be somewhat exclusive, as some individuals might quickly swipe left upon noticing you’ve mentioned your disability in your dating profile.
Allow me to share five simple yet insightful tips I’ve learned over the years for navigating online dating with a disability:
1: The decision of whether to mention your disability in your dating profile is entirely up to you –
For me, I sometimes choose to reveal my disability on my dating profile, while other times I don’t. The choice is entirely yours, though I must emphasize not waiting too long to inform the person you’re connecting with about your disability. Delaying this information can lead to disappointment later on, as the person might struggle to see past your disability.
Furthermore, many people actively use dating apps daily, including some with rather unconventional interests, even related to disability fetishes. Let’s be honest, not everyone on the app needs to know about your impairments. Your disability is your own, and you have the right to decide when, how, and to whom you want to disclose it.
2: Share your disability with your match a few days after connecting and/or if you sense a potential connection –
Let the person know about your disability within 2-3 days of starting a conversation or prior to meeting up. If they disappear after you disclose this, then they probably weren’t the right fit.
Rejection stings, no matter how you look at it, but sometimes it’s a necessary part of personal growth. The problem lies in the fact that society has turned disability into a taboo subject, casting uncertainty on the possibility of dating someone with a disability before even giving it a chance. Sure, it might feel tough initially, but it’s these experiences that ultimately make you stronger.
3: You don’t need to get overly detailed when sharing your disability but encourage them to ask follow-up questions-
Sharing your disability can be quite nerve-wracking because you’re unsure how the other person will react. Personally, I’d prefer if they ask me questions when they learn about my disability, rather than relying on the internet for answers. The issue is that the internet tends to make things sound worse than they actually are. In most cases, I use the following statement to let them know:
“There’s something I’d like you to know… I have a disability that affects my speech and some motor skills. I’m open to any questions you may have. Feel free to let me know if you’d like to continue getting to know each other. If not, I wish you all the best.”
4: Be prepared for the possibility of being ghosted once you share your disability –
It really frustrates me when someone claims that your disability doesn’t affect their feelings, only to vanish shortly after. They go from texting nonstop to not texting at all. Why not just be straightforward about no longer being interest? The problem is, many opt for the easy way out, running away instead of being honest and direct. It just highlights their lack of maturity and their unwillingness to take time to learn something unfamiliar.
5: You are truly amazing! Remember, if they have an issue, it’s their problem, because having a disability doesn’t diminish your worth as a person-
If someone isn’t willing to see past your challenges and appreciate your wonderful qualities, then they don’t deserve your time and energy. Your disability shouldn’t be a barrier when their interest is sincere and they’re willing to put in the effort to make things work. In fact, they’re actually helping you out by bringing you closer to finding that special someone who will accept and love you for who you are. Meanwhile, as Ariana Grande would say, “Thank U, Next.”
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful and that you’ll incorporate some of them into your dating journey. I’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts and whether you agree with me or not, so feel free to leave a comment below.
Stay Beautiful XoXo
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