When I was a teenager some of my wishes included- wining every argument, solve every mathematical problem, travel to wherever I want and date whoever I like. After I sustained a head injury, I still tend to win every argument, I now hate anything to do with numbers, I still can travel to wherever I want but can’t date whoever I want.
Back to the question, I often pose it to acquaintances and friends, particularly ladies. What I gathered is many answer it reticently and with careful consideration. They fear to reveal they truest opinions to try and not offend disabled people.
In my utopia or in a socially, politically & morally perfect society; I want to see more disabled people getting hitched to abled people so as to support each other. However this is the real world where many abled people avoid dating the disabled like plague, more so noticeable disabilities such as wheelchair users. One open minded European lady I met in London (Cansu) said to me “…because it can preclude a relationship” and she asked me if I want kids. “Yes of course, so that I can see part of me with no head injury and ideally I want to be espoused to someone non disabled like you” I answered with a cheeky smile.
Indeed, in an idealistic world, love is all about loving the person, just the way they are (Bruno Mars). Or all about kindness, intelligence, humor, and other aspects of personality. In the real world, intimacy is a requisite to maintain relationships, where ability is deemed a paramount factor. “Expectations to perform are high… Good intimacy fuels marriages” said she. Other key aspects for keeping a relationship afloat are, mutual interests and spending time together. There is a saying which says that, a family which eats together stays together. I’m afraid the same doesn’t apply to a husband and a wife. “Having one person in a wheelchair would cause significant friction” said the lady.
From her point of view equal footing is important in a relationship. A friend of mine once said to me “it’s easier for you to find a wife because you go to church”. I told him that, wether a lady is from church or not, they naturally share the same desires, wishes and fantasies. I metaphorically added that “I have more chance of getting hitched in the house of Judah than the house of Joseph”.
Finally someone who is not afraid to state his opinions.
“When I was 21, I dated for several years, someone who was slightly disabled. I adored her personality, and she was so much stronger because of her physical condition too. When entering the relationship, I believed that it wouldn’t be much of an issue, and it really wasn’t! For many months, being together was awesome”
“However… there was so much waiting. Most activities we did together moved at a necessarily slower pace. When I walked with her, I had to cut my speed in half, and we split walks into half-hour segments for rest. She had always wanted to ice skate, but we discovered together her ankle couldn’t take it. I wished we could explore the city by bike together, but alas, no biking, no running, no hiking, no climbing… As someone who moved quickly and valued efficiency, I wondered how much of my identity I had to compromise to be with the person for whom I cared so much.
It ended for a variety of reasons, but sometime in between I admitted to both myself and to her that I was struggling to stay patient with her physical condition. Call me cruel if you’d like, but it was true, and I’m not proud of it”.
“And what if it gets worse? Illnesses have a tendency to worsen, either through natural progression or increased strain from compensating. Where are you willing to draw the line? Bedridden? Paralysis? Vegetative state? Are you going to abandon them then? You’ve heard stories about how a serious illness can tear a family apart. Dating someone in a wheelchair means willingly entering a similar situation”.