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What I've Learned From My Partner With Cerebral Palsy

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I think society can be critical about how relationships between people with disabilities should be handled. Some say those with disabilities shouldn’t pursue relationships — just live their lives alone and be done with it. They won’t know the difference.

I’ve come to learn that mindset isn’t true. In my friendship and courtship with my partner, Billy, over the past decade, I learned love has no limits. Love has no boundaries when people have the ability to make their own decisions on how to live their lives and what they want out of it. Like any other person would.

My visit to Rhode Island a few weeks ago rekindled a relationship years in the making. It initially faltered due to pressure from society as well as pressure from outsiders looking in. Some people looked down at Billy as a person with many limitations, because of his cerebral palsy. In reality, he has the same wants and needs as anyone else: companionship and a sense of belonging that comes with any relationship. Isn’t that what everyone in this life deserves?

I was surprised how things have changed in the last decade of knowing him, especially the mindset of my friends and his care staff and their understanding of this random situation that is my relationship with him. They’re all for it now because our relationship brings us great happiness. They see us as regular people in love.

Regular people.

I know my time with him may be shorter given the age difference and his needs, and our relationship will face challenges others may not face, but the fact remains the same.

Everyone on this earth deserves to be happy and find their soul mate, and it just so happened that the universe chose this for us. As to why, who knows? The universe works in mysterious ways.

But I know for a fact that the last decade has taught me to see love from a different point of view. It may not be the relationship everyone wants for me, but however this plays out, I know I made an impact on him and others who have stuck through our challenges with us.

Billy has taught me how to love, how to be patient, how to look at things from a different angle and how to see the world as a beautiful place despite its rather dark exterior.

Fate made us click. It’s a strength that has held us together in my journey to find myself. It’s the power that brings you up when your spirits are low.

I may not have the “normal” path set forth by society in front of me, but I’m adventurous, spontaneous and not afraid of where this road will take me.

Love is without limits. As it should be. And how it will be.

Follow this journey on Legally Blind Bagged.

The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? If you’d like to participate, please check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 13, 2016
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