Dating can be a minefield at the best of times, but things can become more complex if you have a disability, especially if that disability is invisible. However, having a disability or a mental health condition shouldn’t stop you from dating or finding love.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Planning For Your Date
What you can do on your date is likely not really impeded by your disability, but rather because of the limitations of the locations you could go to for your date or ability to get there, being limited only by if they’ve adapted to your disability needs or not.
For me, there are no real places that are off-limits for my invisible disabilities, although my reactive hypoglycaemia is often a problem. To get around my reactive hypoglycaemia I do like to check if I’ll be allowed to eat wherever I’m going, in case I have a hypo or if they offer low carb or slow absorbing carb food options. The latter is always a headache when eating out, so much so that I just don’t bother checking anymore and just take a snack for when the hypo eventually hits.
It always pays to make sure the place you’re considering for your date meets your personal disability requirements, like provides food options you can eat (especially if you have allergies or dietary limitations) and if they have the kinds of access you might requre (for example, wheelchair accessible). Most businesses and organisations will only be too happy to assist you as best they can if you reach out to them and make them aware of your needs. Thus, with a little pre-planning, your date can and will be fun.
Just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy going on dates like:
- Enjoying live music.
- Going to a comedy gig.
- Touring a museum.
- Visiting an art gallery.
- Going to a class together, such as a dance class (I went to a ballroom dance class every week with my partner and friend and we had a blind participant who was a great dancer).
- Watching a film at the cinema.
- Vising a zoo.
One of my friends uses a wheelchair and we wanted to go clubbing quite a few years ago now. However, the club we wanted to go to had a main entrance that was just a set of stairs with no wheelchair access. After reaching out to the club, they allowed us to use the back exit to enter instead. The same club, more recently, also allowed me to bring snacks to manage my hypos, which was quite a surprise.
Disability-Friendly Places To Go For Your Date
Below is a couple of examples of places you can go that are disability-friendly, but this is but a small snippet. There are lots of disability-friendly locations you could visit on a date or a getaway, just try googling disability-friendly locations.
One of the best disability-friendly museums in London, if not the UK, is the British Museum. The main entrance has a self-operable wheelchair lift, so you don’t have to rely on others to get you into this very old building that never had disabilities in mind during its construction.
Dans Le Noir?
Located in London, this restaurant offers a unique experience, dining in the dark, where you’ll be guided and served by a blind or partially sighted person. This one of a kind dining adventure could make for an interesting dating experience that will also help tackle disability stigma.
The National Gallery, located in London, is not only an amazing place to go but if you need a ramp, then the gallery has four step-free entrances for you to choose from.
Royal Botanic Gardens
If the weather is nice, then you could spend the day at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, which is also disability-friendly due to its efforts to provide the best possible access to all visitors.
My Thoughts On Dating With A Disability
Before my physical health started to deteriorate and I developed inappropriate sinus tachycardia, reactive hypoglycaemia, and got diagnosed with persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD), I was dating with mental health conditions. When I was dating with my mental health problems, I didn’t know if I should be honest about my mental illnesses, because, although mental illness is rarely seen as a disability, I felt like I was dating with a disability, if that makes sense? For 20 years now I’ve experienced psychotic episodes brought on by my anxiety disorders which were extremely debilitating. Every time I left my home my agoraphobia would start kicking my arse and the hallucinations would start. Luckily, thanks to graded exposure, my psychotic episodes are a lot less debilitating to live with.
I eventually decided to outline my mental health conditions in one of my online dating profiles because I’d rather weed out people that couldn’t handle being with someone like me, who couldn’t be understanding. Due to my issues with attachment caused by my borderline personality disorder, I just thought to myself, “why put myself at risk of more rejection than I need to” while dating, as if online dating isn’t already hard enough on your ego.
However, I can understand why some people would choose to hide their disabilities if they can, I didn’t exactly sing mine from the rooftops, I was just tired of how online dating made me feel. Thus, I can understand why people with disabilities might be reluctant to share their disability until after they’ve built a raptor with the person they’re engaging with through online dating.
Since developing my invisible disabilities, I’ve often feared not being believed, which was made worse by how people spoke about my mum behind her back due to her disabilities. Nothing highlighted that fear more for me personally like when I got my disability freedom pass, which allows me to travel for free around my city. I was so fearful of using my disability freedom pass and having someone question my disabilities, but it never happened.
My mum developed myeloma cancer a few years back which absolutely destroyed her back, causing her to need a rollator (a walking frame with wheels) and a wheelchair. My mum lost a foot in height as a result and has a problem with her bones due to her cancer. Thus, if using an online dating site designed for dating for disabled seniors is something my mum might benefit from and make her happy, I’m all for it. Everyone can do with the support of a partner.
One of the issues that often develops with having a disability is that you can struggle with body image and body confidence. Even though my disabilities are invisible, they nonetheless make me hate my body due to the limitations my disabilities cause. But there are a few things you can do to help love your body, for example, according to Single Disabled’s YouTube channel that focuses on a range of different disabilities in detail, you could praise yourself by using positive affirmations and follow social media accounts of people like you. Your disabilities don’t define you and your body is worthy of love, so rather than following people that just make you feel bad about yourself, follow those that make you feel great about yourself instead. There are wonderful disability bloggers and social media accounts out there worth following rather than people like the Kardashians.
I was lucky enough to meet my current partner who knew all about my mental and physical health issues and still wanted to be with me. But if I hadn’t met my partner, I would have tried using a dating site for the single disabled, simply because it would be nice to not have to worry about my health issues being an issue in dating. There is nothing more draining than trying to hide how much your disabilities are affecting you. I’ve been out on a date where I’ve been crashing so hard (hypo) that I felt like I was going to pass out, yet rather than seeking help for that, I was more concerned with the person I was on a date with not knowing what was going on with me. I don’t miss that.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences dating with a disability in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget to bookmark my site and if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.