Why would they date YOU?Mar 12 11:07
It’s one thing dealing with proposed suitors on a first date who are full of prejudices, its quite another when your family also holds the same begrudges, and they’re not even the one you’re going out on a date with. I’ve noticed over the years that my family doubts every guy I’ve ever brought home - doubting their “realness” in liking me, if they’re genuine in their affections, etc. The wheelchair should spurn every man, they think. If a guy dates her, they think, he must be a jerk.
How in the world can a person combat this? It’s already hard dealing with a world who doesn’t understand disability. Its quite another when its your own family.
At first I brushed off their dislike of guys I dated as protectiveness. It took me awhile, but I‘ve recently figured them out. My family, and maybe yours is the same way, has loved me, helped me since my injury, but they haven’t grown more disability sensitive like me. They still view a “girl in a wheelchair,” me, as someone no one would want to date. It’s no surprise then when I bring a guy home that they instantly assume he has ulterior motives. He’s using her for her place, her money, for sex….but no one would certainly want to be with someone who can’t walk.
They always think the worst.
Obviously, it hurts when your family thinks those things about you. You want them to respect you and to think any person should call themselves lucky to be with you, but as the old adage goes, since you can’t pick your family, you also can’t choose how they think. You’d think years of having a family member with a significant disability would change their misconceptions, but this isn’t always a swinging guarantee.
I hope in the next 18 years of living with a spinal cord injury they may prove me wrong. But in the meantime, I’m perfecting the skill of letting go of the desire of family approval. And this I believe is the best solution.
Have you too experienced this frustrating situation? How have you found is the best way to deal with cynical family members?
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1. tandi | Mar 12 10:13
there have been predudices, and perceptions since life began. Disabled or not is not the issue. It's a condition of life itself. The desire for continuance, preferably without obstacle or hindrance. Conception of produny a prime primal motivation. Of course family is intrinsic, their support if needed, desirable, but not essential. Focusing on known achievements, moving forward into unknown territory, and watching out for opportunity for experience, aids motivation and sense of achievement. Sharing hopes and desires, and situations to challenge and overcome, making every personal effort possible where able, are by nature positive and tangible. Focus on the things you know and in yourself be true; don't expect to alter the manner and lives of others. It shall never be for 'me' to do. However our example may influence a change. Pleasant surprises can reward with unexpected pleasure and happiness.
2. Tiffiny | Mar 14 05:57
Tandi, you sound like a horoscope ;) Great advice though! Thanks
3. stevorino | Mar 16 05:11
An interesting perspective, having chatted with you in the past, is that though you are not that way, other girls, and guys, in chairs often feel the same way as your parents although they may not realize it or admit it. "why would this guy be contacting me?" "they know I'm in a wheelchair so they must think I'm easy or be interested in my disability which is devoteeish and weird." Tandi said it, there will be those who are bad for you and those who are out for the wrong thing when dating...disabled or not, and it's sad that the disability community, the sexy para models, etc, want to be wanted (as every human does) yet question a mans intentions primarily because they're in a chair and someone must have ulterior motives for wanting them. I know there's more to it and that you've had your share of good and bad experiences with devotees...some of which dont even like the word because of the bad apples out there...but just something to think about :-)
4. Steve Mark | Mar 16 06:22
Your family sounds loving and concerned. Now they have to trust in you. If they know you to be bright, self-reliant and courageous, maybe even a stronger person than before you were injured, they need to let go, watch from afar and let you prove to them that in matters of the heart you are just as bright, self-reliant and courageous. I'm 63, C-7/8, injured at 18 and had little dificuties with women, none of whom I ever felt were dating or mating for any reson other than they were attracted to me. Likemy family was proud that my injiry didn't stop me from a full life, yours should revel in your spirit. By the way, I met some incredible women in wheelchairs over my life who were fantastic, all of whom had great mates. Good luck.
5. NsayN | Mar 17 01:34
I certainly understand your concerns. As with many disabled individuals, I was happily married for 15 years prior to my accident.And than after accident I was abruptly left alone. I have a similiar situation with my daughter accepting my chosen dates. Ironic isn't it? She also belives that the women that date me are just basically after my checkbook. Oh well,I have let go of family envolvement when it comes to dating anymore. Its hard enough being disabled and dating, let alone acceptance from family. At least your family is still concerned about your well-being
6. katya | Apr 21 08:47
My family is the most loving and caring it could be, though i doubt they ever understand the way i feel, and i believe they should not and i dont want them to. No matter how sweet people around us, it is only for us to feel what we feel. We should be a bit tolerant to the people around us. You should stand for your choices and feelings and keep falling in love - it is the most beautiful thing in life, and once it happens to you or anybody not in a wheel chair - what difference does it make?
7. Tara | Apr 30 02:13
Family approval is a tough thing.. My brother doesn't understand how you can meet someone online (dating site) talk - text- email-skype all day everyday for 4 months and then meet and have mad chemistry and it be real... It is... we are in love and I am happier then I have ever been in a relationship... It totally undermines my feelings makes me feel like they are not validated in the least.. It's not the first time either... I've dated long enough to know exactly what I want... sigh...
8. wheelinallover | Sep 01 06:50
I lived being "the male" who dated then married a wheelchair bound woman. At first her parents and siblings were set against her even dating. Once they learned that I had been wheelchair bound things changed. They could then understand her being in a wheelchair just didn't matter. I became wheelchair bound again during the marriage. This time they say for life. After my wife died I dated "walking women." My family had no problem with it.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.