“In the realm of dating, more often than not, people with disabilities aren’t seen as potential partners by those who aren’t disabled."
Christinne Rudd is a mom and blogger with cerebral palsy. There are many misconceptions that cloud the reality of intimacy, sexuality and relationships for people with disabilities that come from mainstream media, societal perceptions and sometimes even from potential partners and family members.
Pushing past the stigma to educate
“Everyone needs education on this subject, no matter how uncomfortable the thought of talking about it,” Christinne shares. Not only is it imperative for overall health and awareness, it also helps with social development. “The more accurate information we receive from our loved ones…we have a better chance of not being victimized in a social or dating situation,” shares Christinne. It’s important for everyone to be educated on what makes a relationship safe and healthy and to know what red flags to look out for.
Christinne sees dating as a natural and necessary activity for socialization skills. However, she found that she wasn’t always included in that normal social trend.
“The older I got, the more people seem to think I wasn’t interested in being in a relationship or having a family. I’ve seen looks of shock on the faces of healthcare workers when they find out that I, a person with a disability, got pregnant in the traditional way. Add into the mix that I take care of my son, and they’re simply blown away.”
“Once we can get our potential partners to see past our limitations, they might give themselves the opportunity to meet us, the people,” Christinne shares. And how does one achieve that? “Show them that we have interests and other factors in our lives that don’t revolve around our disability.” Many overlook the fact that people with disabilities have hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with disability. “Intimacy is more than just sex,” Christinne shares. These activities allow people to get to know each other in new and fun ways, and develop natural connections and ultimately that sense of intimacy.
Building a foundation of openness and communication
“An open mind…gives us the chance to learn about things we never thought were possible,” she shares. Add to that communication, and you have the foundation for a solid relationship. “The more the lines of communication are open, the easier it will be to talk about what seem to be the most difficult subjects,” she shares. This also includes helping a potential partner understand your disability. “It also may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have with your partner but, in the long run, you’ll probably both be glad and maybe even relieved while discovering things you didn’t know about each other.”
Someone may still feel overwhelmed by being in a relationship with someone with a disability. You can’t deny the importance of communication and it’s ability to bring people together.
“Coming together as a couple gives you a better chance to find solutions to any obstacle that might arise. Conquering the unknown, or even tackling something you or your partner thought would be impossible, can also increase the intimacy you share tenfold."
“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience life to the fullest,” Christinne declares. “Our disabilities don’t make us less of a person because we have limitations.” If it’s what someone chooses to do with their life, there’s no reason not to pursue it with a full heart.
Know someone looking for love? Share this post to make sure they know they too deserve a happy, healthy relationship!