Finding a partner to go through life with can be difficult. But once you find the right person, the effort is worth it. Several Singaporeans with disabilities, all wheelchair users, share their experiences with dating.
The Singles Scene
Theresa is single and looking for love. A Paralympic swimmer, Theresa has delved into the world of online dating, and says she always posts a photo of herself in her wheelchair. "I've never wanted to hide (my disability). That's always been clear from the start." While she admits that society often does not paint a “positive picture for people with disabilities," she also feels that the fact she uses a wheelchair has not been the primary reason she hasn’t found love. The connections just haven’t been there yet.
Eric is a quadriplegic. His wife Sharon is able bodied, and they have a great relationship. But for Eric, the road to finding love was bumpy. After his spinal cord injury, he had two long-lasting relationships that both eventually failed because of the objections of his girlfriends’ parents. "When others date people with disabilities, some may think it's quite special. But when it comes to their own children, there's a 'not in my backyard' mentality," shares Eric.
"Generally, society is still quite narrow-minded when it comes to people with disabilities - for example, parents thinking we're unable to support their daughters."
A Second Try
Jean became a paraplegic from a car accident in 2014. Her boyfriend at the time left her shortly after her injury, causing Jean to lose faith in her ability to find love. Fortunately, Jake entered Jean’s life and gave her a new perspective on love. "He doesn't complain at all,” she shares. “I've never heard him say, it's troublesome (to have to tend to my needs). He moved me with his patience and care. He gave me the confidence to give love another shot.”
Looking Beyond Disability
Jovin and Anna met four years ago, and initially Anna says she was hesitant about dating someone in a wheelchair because she was not sure if she would feel comfortable performing some of his care. Two weeks into their relationship, Anna had to help Jovin use the toilet, and she was unfazed. From that one act, she realized that being in a relationship with Jovin was more about the feelings they were developing for one another rather than her concern for assisting him when necessary.
Even with the excitement of a blossoming relationship, the couple says they felt plenty of societal pressures, like when friends wonder why Anna would date a wheelchair user. But these situations are minor for Jovin and Anna who choose to focus on love.
"If you let me choose again, I'll still choose him."
No doubt, dating with a disability can be a rough road to travel. But it can also be a rewarding journey once you get out there and give it a try. Share this post with others to encourage them to start down the path of finding love.