Dating Disabled

Dating as a person with a disability can be quite tough. There are many dating sites out there for people with disabilities to help them date. Unfortunately, there are also some sites out there that are just gross too and prey on people with disabilities. Some people are big fans of using dating sites as a person with a disability. I have had several friends (with or without disabilities) that have had a huge success with them. However, I just don’t think they are for me. I am too paranoid (Thanks Mom and Dad :)) to use a dating site because really, I don’t know who is at the other end. I also am visually impaired and feel as such, I could be in danger’s way even more. I have a good friend though who is completely blind and uses dating sites and just meets up in a public place and often times for the initial meeting, she has a sighted friend with her. Thought that was pretty cool. Have you ever googled “Disabled dating?” If you do, you will see all the different sites for this population. But again, this isn’t for me.

And luckily, I haven’t ever felt the need to use one. Most everybody who knows me knows I have been dating the same guy S for many years. We started dating in high school, dated awhile, then broke up when I was moving away and it just wasn’t a good time for us to date, then we got back together and dated for about 4 more years, and then broke up for 6 months, and are now back together again. He is a sweetie and actually what inspired me to write this particular post. However, in those times that S and I were broken up, I did meet a few other people.. and I was amazed at how nobody really cared that I was visually impaired. They graciously picked me up and we went out. No biggie.

S has always been so gracious too. We knew OF each other when I was in 8th grade and he was in 7th, which was when I was diagnosed with my disease. However, we didn’t really get to know each other until high school. He is the only close friend in my life now though that I can say has known me since I was diagnosed. In 8th grade, I really didn’t care at all about this diagnosis. I just knew I would pass out a lot when I went from dark to light or light to dark situations – it was my body panicking because my eyes weren’t functioning properly. But other than that I really didn’t care. I started to really care, I would guess, during 11th grade or so. S knew me through all of this, which is pretty neat and special to me.

S has never once complained about the additional responsibilities he has due to dating me, someone with a disability. He always picks me up, without any complaints, and is just so gracious about it all. After doing this for over 5 years and him seeing me go through a lot of transitions with my sight, I finally asked him the other day, “Do you care that you’re dating someone who is blind?” I had asked him this awhile back and he said no but we really didn’t get into it. This time we did. He said he didn’t care at all, the only thing was that me not being able to drive was sometimes an inconvenience. Now, you may be thinking “why would he say that?” And at first, it was a bit of a shock to me too. But really when you think about it, not having your partner be able to drive IS an inconvenience, whether it is due to a disability or not. He went on to say how it would be cool for me to sometimes come pick him up in a “bada** car, because I KNOW you would have a bada**” car. (I like fancy cars.) And I agree with him.. I share in that sentiment. It would be cool for me too to just drive to his house sometime and surprise him. But I can’t. And that’s okay with me, and luckily that’s okay with him too. But it’s just a bit inconvenient. 🙂

I appreciated his honesty. I wanted to know how he really felt about dating someone with a visual impairment, and he was so honest. We do get looks all the time.. especially now that I have a guide dog. People talk to him, rather than talking to me (which is funny because if you know me, you know I usually make the decisions and talk the most – so he just always goes “ask her” anyway). I don’t notice a lot of things, S has to point them out to me. I occasionally knock things over, spill things, etc. I get really close to some menus, he has to read things out to me.. There are just a lot of obvious differences. But what one of my best friends (again who is blind) told me many years ago which has really helped is that you find ways that you can help your partner or make up for what they do for you. S and I have gotten this figured out and it really does help on both ends. I can help him with some things on a routine basis that he isn’t strong at and he can help me. It works.

Dating can be tricky and emotional, with or without a disability. I am very blessed that I have had many good experiences with dating and have found a wonderful partner in crime. I love him and Makiko loves him… it is perfection. However, I do recognize that dating can be tough for people with disabilities.. and sometimes it is tough on me because I do feel bad that he has to always drive or do this and that.. but again, it really helps that I am so independent and there are many things that I can help him with. We’re a team. 🙂

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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

11 thoughts on “Dating Disabled”

  1. Jessica – this is an interesting post. Similar to you, I ended up with my high school sweetheart, and we also had a length of time in which we were broken up. I can relate to your feelings about your partner having to do all the driving. That can be tough, but like you said – there is give and take in every relationship. I think the way a potential date responds to the subject of vision loss says a lot about that person, and I’m glad that you had good experiences with that when you were dating. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! I wasn’t diagnosed until being married for 30 years and never thought about how it would have been to be diagnosed young. You have a great outlook and I enjoy reading your blog. 🙂

    1. Hi Shelli. Welcome to my blog. I am so glad you are here. Yes – that is quite different already being married so long before getting diagnosed. However, I am sure that being married and then getting diagnosed also comes with its own set of challenges. I just checked out your blog and look forward to following it more. 🙂

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