Sunday, August 3, 2014

How To Talk About Disability With Your Date

Clearly, if you are using a disabled matchmaking service like dating for disabled, your expectation from the relationship is to date someone else with a disability. Clearly, you are not going to need to "disclose" the face that you have a disability with them. But just because you both have a disability or medical condition, does not mean you necessarily have the same kind, or for that matter want to talk about it. Just because you met on a disabled dating site does not mean this is a topic of conversation that is necessarily on the table. The other side of this, is of course, that your date may have a strong aversion to talking about their disability with you. So despite the fact that everything is on the table, as far as you both know about the situation, it is still a topic of conversation that should be approached with some degree of care, caution and tact. 

1. Let your date know off the bat what you are and aren't comfortable talking about. This doesn't need to be an awkward conversation, just put it out there what topics are off the table until such a time that you feel comfortable enough with them to talk about it. If you are in a wheelchair or paralyzed after a car accident, if you have a medical condition that has symptoms you aren't comfortable discussing, let them know politely that that is the case. Don't expect them to guess what you won't talk about.

2. If you bring it up: ask them if it's a topic they are happy to discuss, and if not, drop it! They will talk about it. if and when they are ready to do so.

3. When you both feel ready to have that conversation (it may be online, it may be on your first date, and it may be further on in the relationship). Whenever it may be, it is a subject that's important to talk about. You should get to know these thing about one another, and talk about those things that shaped your personality and who you are. One of the reasons people with disabilities sometimes prefer to date other people who also have a disability, is because they will understand. Having that kind of person to talk to and lean on is the foundation of any good relationship.

4. Be sensitive and understanding- don't forget that all experiences are subjective, and should be treated as such. Some things in life may have been easier for you to deal with than for them.
Same goes for comparison- don't compare yourself to them, don't try and compare who had a harder/better time of things. Just accept them for who they are and support them for it.

5. Take the time to talk about these things with the person you are dating- especially if their health related issues that can effect the relationship. Or in general things you think they should know. If there are things you can't do and it effects them then you should give them a heads up about it.

6.  Be supportive and let them know they can be open about these things with you- make it a safe space for them to talk about their medical issues and disability with that. The more approachable you are, the more likely that they will bring these

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