Shane and Anna are no strangers to other people assuming that they are siblings, or if Anna is “the one who takes care of him.” While people might speculate two people having a nice meal out together are dating, the same assumption does not seem to be made when one of them is in a wheelchair.
“The mindset that causes a stranger to automatically assume that any female in my presence is a nurse, or family, is one that ignores the reality that people with disabilities can and do have ‘normal’ romantic relationships."
And “normal” does not mean that their love is any different from other romantic relationships, rather, it is “because I’m not sure if there is such a thing when it comes to love,” he adds.
A relationship is about giving and taking, and that is the basis of Shane and Anna’s relationship. Rather than fixating on what they cannot do, they focus what they can do instead. “I can’t go mountain climbing with her, but I can make her laugh. So we find other activities, and we make it work,” Shane writes. Although Shane was initially afraid to overwhelm Anna with his “Helper Lessons”, Anna’s promise of being excited to learn how to “care” for him has reassured him. Not only that, it has helped develop a deeper sense of trust and emotional connection between both of them.
Growing up, Shane was worried that his physical limitations would make him unworthy of receiving romantic affections from others.
“I worried even more that a girl would date me out of pity, silently putting up with the annoyances of my disease because she felt bad for me."
However, he now lives by the belief that he is capable of love, and that “an able/disabled relationship can be even more satisfying than your average romance” because of the profound bond and trust that either party shares with each other. And this realisation that there are people out there who are more than happy to “make it work” has dispelled Shane’s fear of being unloved.
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