Note: This article was written after speaking with a woman who has a disability, but the advice can easily be applied to dating disabled people of any gender.
So, you’ve found yourself feeling attracted to a woman with a disability for the first time and can’t help feeling a little scared. That is totally understandable since we live in an ableist society where having romantic feelings for a disabled person is considered somehow unnatural and weird. It’s not.
On the other side, you can be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing that ends up hurting her.
After speaking with a girlfriend who has a walking disability I found out that your fears are perfectly justified - dating with a disability is not easy. She told me about everything she endures on a daily when she’s dating able-bodied men. Based on those stories I’ve rounded up seven most important things you should know before asking out a girl who has a disability.
Get ready for lots of questions
Prepare yourself for a ton of questions when people find out that you’re going out with a disabled girl. You will find yourself surrounded by your family, friends and even strangers asking about every intimate detail of your relationship. Why are you dating a disabled girl when there are so many “normal” women out there for you? What happened to her? How do you guys have sex? Is she good in bed? This is something she goes through almost every day. People on social media feel entitled to ask very personal questions about her disability. Be patient, understanding, and most importantly – don’t answer any of these questions without talking to her first and getting her consent.
Don’t think they will fall for you just because no one else would have them
Guys have hit in her before, and guys will hit on her after you – she’s not desperate. But a lot of the guys she’s dated before didn’t deserve her, so she may be a little reserved in the beginning. If she’s being cold and reluctant to show emotions when you start dating, it’s because she’s been hurt before. This is where you should show patience and understanding.
Be aware of fetishizing their disability
You may find her disability hot, and that’s fine, no one is kink-shaming here, but if you want to be in a relationship with someone you must see beyond their disability. Do you like her as a person or is she just a sexual fantasy to you? Do you want commitment or just sex? It’s very important that you resolve these questions by yourself before stepping into a relationship. Be open and honest about your intentions with her - if it’s just about sex then say so.
Don’t be ashamed of them
This happens a lot – a guy is attracted to a disabled girl but doesn’t want anybody to know. And it happens more than you think, because of the stigma surrounding disabled people. If you have genuine feelings towards someone you should be proud to be seen together. It goes without saying that she’s a person like everyone else and deserves the same respect you would give to other women.
Wait for them to explain what happened - if they want to
Maybe she’s blind, or deaf, or she needs help walking – whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t push her to explain what happened unless she’s open to doing so. Maybe she was born like that, but it may be possible that she experienced trauma and is wary about disclosing it. I understand you have all these questions running through your head, but it’s probably best that you wait and let her come to you with this info. And she’ll tell you when she wants to. Maybe she’s not ready, and maybe she never will be. Just be careful not to pressure her about these things.
Help them out if they need it
People with disabilities must rely on others for help in their daily life. However, this doesn’t make them weak. If you see her struggling with something, offer to help. You offering to help will show compassion – you shouldn’t worry that she’ll take it the wrong way. If she asks for help by herself, that is a big deal because it’s a sign of trust. It may be easy for you, but helping her out means much more than you know.
Be ready to work hard for this relationship
You shouldn’t treat someone differently because of their disability, but at the same time, you can’t pretend it’s non-existent. Her disability is very real, and it will affect your relationship, so you should come to terms with that fact. You may get nasty looks, you will receive even nastier comments. Sometimes she will be too much to handle, but relationships are hard and require a lot of work. This one will be no different.