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We Need to Start Normalizing Interabled Relationships

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One of the biggest misconceptions about people who live with disabilities, like myself, is that we don’t have the desire to find love, or we simply just don’t understand what it’s like to be in a relationship, because we’re isolated from society.

Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s far from the truth. Many of us with disabilities do have the desire to find love and put ourselves out there.

It doesn’t matter to us whether it’s with someone who is disabled just like us, or someone who is able-bodied.

A lot of the time people assume that it’s abnormal for a disabled person to be interested in dating an able-bodied person because of their physical differences, or vice versa. People assume that an able-bodied person wouldn’t be interested in dating someone disabled because they lack understanding about the other person’s disabilities, and so forth.

This is exactly why we need to start normalizing interabled relationships. To fight the stigma surrounding interabled relationships, which could help society adapt to the idea of seeing someone romantically involved with a person who has a disability.

To be honest, it’s really not that big a deal for an able-bodied person to date a person with a disability. Interable relationships are just as typical as your average relationships, except they may have to deal with other barriers in the way. But that doesn’t mean they don’t adapt to those barriers along the way and experience growth — but that comes with every relationship in times.

This makes an interabled relationship just as “normal” as a relationship between any two people. Seeing an able-bodied person holding hands with a person with a disability might be unexpected to you, but it doesn’t mean that we’re some “inspiring” object.

We are ordinary people who want the same experiences as everyone else, because we are human and deserve to live our lives as fully as any able-bodied person.

Society labeling interabled relationships as “inspiring” makes us feel as if we’re not normal; it’s like we’re being forced to be a mascot. By calling us inspiring because were in an interabled relationship allows people to act condescendingly, like we deserve a reward because we are in a relationship that’s thought to be out of the norm.

The truth of the matter is we don’t want praise. We don’t want a reward. We just want to be treated like regular human beings in society doing regular things. I know for me one of the that is one of the biggest challenges I face when I tell people my story on how I overcame obstacles in the dating community in my autobiography, “How Do You Get a Man With Wheels?” People have praised me for being so inspiring for even dating at all because of my cerebral palsy.

This is exactly why I feel the media needs to dive deep into the wonders of dating with a disability. Feature it in more documentaries and TV shows that talk about this so that we can end the stigma. People have the misconception that interabled relationships consist of the able-bodied person being the caregiver. They think that it’s a burden for the able-bodied person just because they’re dating someone with a disability.

I feel like if people knew more about interabled relationships maybe the stigma would end. Then maybe we could live where this is normalized because, guess what? It is normal, and there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing inspiring about it. We’re just regular people who choose to be in these types of relationships.

We deserve love like everyone else, because love has no boundaries and we are human beings. We will always be here, so why not start embracing interabled relationships and end the stigma that has always surrounded us, so we can move forward in love and acceptance.

Image via contributor

Originally published: March 2, 2023
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