Dating with Disabilities

Dating with Disabilities

If you have not done so yet I would like to see an article on having a relationship with someone who has a disability. Using myself as an example…I have epilepsy and like most people with a disability I am on a fixed income. My disability prevents me from holding down a “regular” job, so I try to find other avenues for income, such as photography. It is because of that I have not had many long lasting relationships. They have all pretty much ended once my illness has shown its ugly head.

Dating with Disabilities

Dear Dating with Disabilities,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and concerns with me. This is a subject we have not addressed in the past, so I’m grateful that you have brought it to my attention.

Let’s start with the reality that dating is tough. It can be fun, exciting, it can teach us emotional and spiritual growth, but it can also come with grief and heartache. I can only imagine that dating with a disability brings much of the same, with the added challenge of having to overcome a date’s fears, misconceptions, and downright discrimination against a person with a disability. Because of this, you are in the Olympics of dating.

As an Olympian, your “work outs” are going to be much more difficult than the average dater. You are going to meet people who will judge you and walk away without giving you a chance. You will meet people who will miss “you” and only see your disability. While recognizing the difficulties in dating with a disability, I would also like to challenge you to explore other reasons why your relationships may not be working out. Like everyone else, you may have fears or anxieties from your past experiences that may make it more difficult for you to trust or open up to others. You likely have a lot of feelings about your disability, and how those express themselves may be a challenge for you. Each of us has our “work” to do to prepare ourselves to be the best spouse possible.

Your question was about dating someone with a disability. My sister is married to a man who is disabled. There are many things he cannot physically do. However, it is by far the best relationship I have ever seen for her. She is a better person for being with him, she is happier, and she is fulfilled in her life as a wife and mother. Her husband believed that no one would ever love him enough to marry him, but they found each other. He cherishes her and the relationship. My sister was never concerned about his disability or how it may affect their future lives together. She saw a man she could trust and emotionally rely on. When the right person comes along, they will see who you are, complete with abilities and disabilities.

Christ clearly teaches us that each person has inherent dignity and worth, and He asks us to see as He sees, not as the world sees. Christ sees our heart, our dreams, our disappointments, our victories, and our struggles. When you find the right person to date, you will be able to show her who you are in Christ’s eyes, and you will have the blessing of seeing someone else the same way.

I want to encourage you that people with all types of disabilities meet and marry every day. Unemployed people marry every day. People without a lot of income sources marry every day. The same hope is extended to you that is extended to anyone searching to meet a marriage partner: in God’s will and timing, He will send you the partner perfectly prepared for you. Our participation in this great miracle requires that we prepare our hearts and minds in His ways. I would encourage you to learn His ways, to submit your dating life to His ways, and to only seek out someone who shares the same path.

Good luck, God Bless, and thank you again for your question.

Michele Fleming, M.A.