“It’s no mystery that romantic relationships take effort. They’re not always full of sunshine and flowers. They require good communication, patience, trust, and understanding. That’s not easy even for the regular able-bodied couple. If you or your partner happens to have a disability, this can bring about an entirely different set of difficulties,” says Leah Leilani who has muscular dystrophy.
“It is not impossible to find someone who loves you and sees past your ailments. Someone who wants you so much that they will go through the motions with you.”
Leah shares some of the challenges she and her boyfriend Will have faced throughout their relationship.
“He had just learned that the girl he’d been talking to for weeks was disabled. I thought there was no way he’d want to meet me now.”
The couple met online using the app called Plenty Of Fish. Leah says at first she chose to ignore Will’s messages, but finally gave in to Will’s persistence. As Leah was getting to know Will over the next couple weeks, she says she would drop casual hints about her disability. However, Will never asked her any questions about it.
Leah says one day Will sent her a text asking if she wanted to go to a restaurant on a date. She replied, “Yes, I will be the girl in the decorated wheelchair” as it was right after Christmas. Leah thought Will would not even reply to that message because this was the first time he had learned the girl he has been talking to used a wheelchair. But, to her surprise, Will responded with a time to meet at the restaurant.
Leah talks about her third date with Will when the couple went to a bowling alley. She called the alley in advance to reserve the “ramp” for her to be able to bowl. Will become more comfortable helping Leah as the date went along. “As the date went along, Will got better and better about picking up the ball and moving the ramp for me. We even playfully strategized about how best to position the ramp to roll a strike,” says Leah.
Will also become more comfortable about asking the specifics of Leah’s disability. She says since they have started dating the couple’s relationship has grown as they learn to overcome obstacles.
Will is always there to help Leah when she needs it. ”At first, I was opposed to the idea of my boyfriend also being my caretaker. I worried that my life would get too complicated for him and he’d become more of a caretaker and less of a lover. Now I realize that it brings us closer and I cherish the fact that he wants to help,” says Leah.
How did you meet your significant other? Share your story with us at AbleThrive.com!