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Why Dating Has Been Challenging as a Woman With a Disability

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Dating has always been a challenging part of my life, mainly because of all of the misconceptions guys seem to have about my medical condition. I have spastic cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair, which has led me to have some unusual experiences in the dating world.

Cerebral palsy may make some everyday tasks difficult for me, but I do not allow it to stop me from living my dreams. I’m a college student working towards a degree in English literature. I have dreams and desires. And like any typical 23-year-old, I date.

Dating with cerebral palsy can be a huge challenge. One of the biggest misconceptions guys my age seem to have is that if you date a person with a disability, you automatically become that person’s caregiver. They assume they have to take responsibility for me, when the reality is that I’m a strong, independent woman who just happens to use a wheelchair.

All I want is a significant other who will love me unconditionally and see past my disability. I dream of simply enjoying my time with someone without them treating me like I’m fragile or “too much.”

I strongly believe that the reason why dating is so hard for people with disabilities is that society objectifies and misunderstands us. People tend to label people like me instead of seeing us for all that we are. They believe we will never amount to anything because of our physical needs. This makes it harder for me to step out of my comfort zone and open up to guys I’m into, because I’m always afraid they’ll see me as a diagnosis instead of a person.

Fortunately, my dating story has a happy ending. A few months ago, I met a young man who has the same condition as I do. We developed a deep connection and recently started dating. I love that we understand each others’ needs and don’t pay attention to the social stigma against people with disabilities. Still, I hope we can end misconceptions about disabilities so that other people like me can find their “happily ever afters.”

Getty image by Tatyana Stulbo.

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