Easily, the biggest challenge in my life, related to having a disability, was dating. And that’s compared to learning to walk, learning to control my hands in order to put contacts into my eyes, physically taking care of an infant, and oh, yeah, dealing with the constant stream of judgments from people about my disability.
How about you?
It’s just so darn hard to get people, society, heck, the world, to see people with disabilities as relationship and sexual partners.
Hard, but not impossible.
But it takes hard work and if you don’t want to the hard work, then dating will always feel hard and if I can be real honest, you’ll also always feel like a victim.
What does this look like? Or should I say, sound like?
“I’ll never meet anyone who will accept me or find me attractive.”
“It’s easier for women (or men, depending on your perspective) with disabilities to date.”
“I will never let myself be that vulnerable to someone.”
“My disability just makes me unattractive.”
When you read these statements, do you feel the weight of the negative energy of these words?
My guess is even if you believe these statements, you don’t want to. You want to believe more positively about your chances in the dating world.
I’m also guessing that deep within you is a desire to be with someone, have companionship, fall in love, and share your heart with someone.
So, I have an important question for you. . .why not do the hard work to get closer to what you want?
I talk a lot here at Radiant Abilities about increasing self-esteem, growing confidence, and fostering empowerment in people with disabilities, but the truth is that all of these things take an incredible amount of hard work. Work well worth it, though.
By hard work, I mean developing positive beliefs for yourself, getting clear on what you want in a relationship, what kind of person you want to draw to you, and intentionally working on your confidence to put yourself out there.
Because it’s in doing the work, we transform and bring the results we want into our life.
Just the other day, I had a moment that once again reminded me of how my hard work in dating had paid off.
I was at the hair salon the other day and not surprisingly, the conversation turned to dating woes and challenges. And I certainly have a history of dating not working out for me.
I went on less than a handful of dates in high school and college. I rarely got ask to dances. I attended, usually without a date, the wedding of friend after friend. There were several years that I just didn’t date at all. I began to wonder how my life would be if I never “found someone.”
Yet. . .
I had this dream of having someone in my life and of having a family that JUST WOULD NOT DIE.
So I did the hard work of therapy, changing my beliefs, and building confidence because I refused to give in to the negativity and erroneous belief that because I had a disability, relationships would be more unlikely for me.
Back to the hair salon. . .two beautiful single women (with gorgeous hair, mind you) were complaining about how hard it is to meet a decent guy. I’m sure you men are thinking the same about women. Or the same sex if you’re gay.
They went into detail about difficulties with trust and meeting authentic people. I sat quietly, noting that among the three of us, I, the one living with disability, was happily married.
Then, as if reading my mind, my hairdresser, commented, “You got a good one, didn’t you, Kathy?” She then listed for the other woman my husband’s many attributes that do make him a kind of partner that many single ladies or men would long for.
I had a little moment of pride, to be honest. And some surrealism. I was the one happily married, not figuring out how to meet a nice guy.
My hard work paid off. . .
And it can for you! And I want to support you in every step of the way in doing the hard work of getting to where you want to be in the dating and relationship world.
In a couple weeks, I’ll be opening the doors again to Dating, Relationships, and Disability: How to Have Confidence and Succeed, an online course and coaching program. It will require hard work – building time in your schedule to do the course, watching the videos, actually doing the Take Action guide sheets, believing in yourself and the possibilities – but so worth it! And I’m there to coach you along the way – to get the results you want.
Next week, I’ll be offering a free introductory video course on Strategies and Tips for Dating with a Disability. If you’re not already on the Radiant Abilities email list, click here, to get helpful resources and notifications leading up to the opening of the course.