dating with cerebral palsy a reflection

Note from Laura: This is a guest post from a friend I have known offline for years he asked if he could write this post after reading the post on online dating and cerebral palsy

I’m always chasing something but I never seem to find it…. In my
head it always comes back to the same thing: I’m scared of being alone
because of my CP. Now when I say that, I don’t mean that I’m a shut-in
or something, because I am quite the opposite. But even though I have
a big family, a good cross section of friends and colleagues and am
pretty active within my community; that sense of being alone is always
there even if I try and keep it buried.

As a point of information, I should share some specifics about myself.
I’m a male, twenty-something college graduate (well, almost). I’m very
mobile, and I walk with a walker and use a wheelchair for long
distance activity. As I said above I’m active in my community, and
over the last number of years that has really shaped my direction in
life; along with jobs I’ve had in both the public and private sector;
and the professional relationships that have formed since.

What brought me here? I’ve known Laura for many, many years since
before she began blogging. However, I contacted her about writing this
very posting because I was searching Google and came across a guest
post on this blog by Zachary Fenell on the subject of online dating
and Cerebral Palsy. Fenell talks about his experiences relating to
disclosing having Cerebral Palsy on e-Harmony. It got me thinking,
“Hey, I’ve gone through the exact same thing!” Read his post–if you
haven’t already–it’s really good. Plus that way I don’t have to repeat
what he already wrote!

I have a few friends and family (all able bodied) who have had
successful experiences with online dating so I tried it a few times
with the mindset that it was just to see if anything came from it.
Anyway, long story short, it didn’t take. Ninety percent of the time
women that I did connect with ran for the hills when the subject of my
CP came up. Looking at it logically, I think it was a lack of
understanding that did it. Many look at people with disabilities as
someone who needs help, or as someone to be cared for. It didn’t
matter that I am fully self-sufficient and able to look after myself;
women can’t really see that over the internet.

Looking back, I can try and remove my feelings from the equation and
look at it on an impersonal level. Still, and especially at the time,
the rejection hurts. But I get it now, meeting people should be done
in person, that’s the only way to really get to know someone and in my
case, for someone to get to know me. So why doesn’t it happen?

I’m not going to win any ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ titles but I’m not a bad
looking guy if I do say so myself. Plus I know what I want in life and
I know where I’d like to end up. Isn’t that what people want in
relationships….stability? Obviously I know there’s more to it than
that, but isn’t stability a part? I’ve met many women over the years
but nothing serious has ever developed. I’ve found myself wondering
about if I had wealth or power if that would make a difference and if
being bigger than life could overshadow the fact that I have CP.

I guess this post doesn’t have a real ‘feel good’ tone and for that I
apologize, but I can’t be the only person (male and female alike)
thinking about this. So ask you dear readers: Am I alone in thinking
this way? Should I keep chasing what I want? If I’m not alone, and if
you too share some of these thoughts, how do you get by? Are my fears
valid?

Thanks for reading!

–RK Wheeler

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3 Responses to dating with cerebral palsy a reflection

  1. Troy Wittren says:

    Dating with cp. 24 years ago, my only contact with girls was at church…none of them were interested in me. Before that, in college, I had girls who were friends, but I knew if I made a move on any of them, I’d be out a friend. I met up with Jodie, a girl I had gone to a special school with 16 years prior. Jodie also has cp. She had also tried dating non-disabled people. We were hot for each other…what can I say.

    We accepted each other’s disabilities. Jodie was on crutches; her speech is not affected. I free walk, though now I use a walker, and my speech is somewhat affected. We compliment each other well. I am a better writer; Jodie is a better speaker. Having disability in common has taken pressure off. We don’t need to constantly minimize our disabilities to each other.

    Would each of us found love with non-disabled? Perhaps…maybe…who knows. Accept your disability. Have friends who accept who you are. As to when to disclose your disability on dating sites…I don’t know. I use to hate hearing advice…so I am wary to give it.

    Love and accept yourself. Others will too.

  2. Thanks for this Troy I will insist RK read your comment if he hasn’t done so already

  3. RK Wheeler says:

    Thanks for your comment, Troy. Your and Jodie’s story sounds like a real blessing.

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