Dating a guy in a wheelchair
I had been loved for a long time and I want that again, so I tried everything; the Internet, singles events, singles bars, organized singles dance parties (that last one may not have been the best choice for me, all things considered! But my peer group hadn’t shed the negative messages about disabilities that we were all taught as children.
At 50, on a business trip to Cairo, I met someone and we really hit it off.
(Of course, as so many women do, I see myself in the worst light possible).
Then there were the nitty-gritty matters: my anxiety about how and when to tell a romantic interest that I control my bowel and bladder in a manner wholly unfamiliar to most people.
Heck, some people won’t even talk to me because of the wheelchair, much less date me.
Yet my passionate desire for life and love is fully operational.
Back in the dating world at 43, during the 2000s, my insecurities—the beauty and body issues—returned in force.
But in the climate that prevailed at the time, people were shocked that I dared to hope for romance and physical intimacy. I was taught all of societies’ biases: that people with disabilities are different, sub-human, to be avoided (which is why we segregated them).
It was as if, somehow, my disability made me less human to them. And yet, when I became one of “them,” I was, still me.
The injury was devastating, but the societal condemnation that came on top of it was worse. In the United States, we were still sterilizing people with disabilities against their will.
The kindly advice from my doctor was to check myself into a nursing home for the rest of my life to avoid being a burden on my family.