Dating complexities are kicked up a notch when living with a disability

State Hornet Staff

People dating with a disability have to deal with all the same self-esteem, body image and sexuality issues as everyone else – just in a different package.

Dating, regardless of having a disability, can be a tricky situation to deal with. But once a disability – especially physical – is added to the mix, a whole new list of issues comes out.

One person that has experienced much of the trials and tribulations that come along with disabled dating is recreational therapy junior Jenny Zimmer. 

“I think (disability), adds a whole other component to think about,” said Zimmer. 

Going out on a first date can be awkward enough, but then having to figure the accessibility and adaptations that go with having a disability into that date just complicates everything.

“Going on a date, like any public outing, is complicated by being in a wheelchair. I have to know in advance if where I’ll be will have a wheelchair accessible bathroom. If it’s inside, it can be hard getting between chairs and tables, especially if it’s busy,” said communications junior Sara Hooker.

Hooker also said that a man having a car that is low enough for her to get into and will fit her wheelchair can be an issue. And if someone is in a powerchair it can be very heavy and not always able to be broken down, as opposed to a manual chair where the wheels are able to pop off. Another new stresser into the dating situation.

For disabled daters the best option, at least in the beginning, is to meet your date somewhere and figure out things from there. Girls with disabilities are even ignored in dating conversations with their peers, because it is often assumed they do not date.

These non-inclusive conversations exist because the stigma around disability still exists. This stigma creates a barrier, especially mentally for men with disabilities who are trying to interact with average females. 

“Often times people with disabilities are seen as asexual, undateable people, and overcoming that notion is a daunting task. The appearance (of a wheelchair) brings that stigma,” said business junior Kevin Coffman. 

Coffman said that as a man with a disability, dating brings up a lot of questions and can mess with a person’s self-confidence. One question being whether they are good enough, in other’s minds, to carry on a relationship with. 

Coffman and Hooker both agreed that someone who is interested in a person with a disability should just ask them out and see what happens. 

People with disabilities can date and be in relationships just like anyone else, and are open to answering questions about themselves.  

So ladies and gentleman, next time you see someone in a chair that you think is attractive – do something. Make eye contact or start up a conversation because chances are, if you think they are cute, they might think you aren’t half-bad yourself.