Would you date another wheeler?Jul 06 04:37
I had a guy in a wheelchair write me the other day asking if I'd ever date another wheeler. He wasn't hitting on me. He just wanted to know my opinion (and for good reason too).
He was on a disability message board and this question was being bantered about. Much to his surprise, most of the wheelers said they'd never date another person in a wheelchair. He was appalled at the hypocrisy. Yes this is hypocrisy bro. I don't blame you for getting annoyed.
But I've long known about this attitude; an attitude that is very prevalent in the wheelchair-using community. It's an understandable and practical mindset to have. I'm usually 98% in this camp as well, to be honest. And not too long ago - I was 100% against dating guys in wheelchairs.
I had dated two guys in chairs in my teenage years when I was new to being in a wheelchair. I thought it was a good idea because none of the guys my age who could walk were interested in me. They were great, but it just didn't work out when it came to being intimate. With his mobility disability and mine, let’s just say our hormones weren't getting pleased (and I just don't think I could ever have a PCA help us; just not my thing).
Lately however I find myself looking at the subject differently. Maybe as I’m getting older I’m able to gain a deeper appreciation for people who can really understand all aspects of who I am. Also, it just doesn't sit right with me to say blanket statements like that anymore. You just never know who you'll click with. And don't you hate it too when people say they'd never consider you?
Even though happily dating an able-bodied man, the benefits of dating someone in a wheelchair are attractive. The main one being: They really understand what you go through each day.
If you’ve been in a wheelchair for awhile, from dealing with a spontaneously broken chair to getting stared at, you know you can’t deny how good it feels when you're with someone who can get your plight withought even saying a word.
What do you feel on the subject? Would you date someone in a wheelchair or do you think it's ridiculous?
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1. BlueZoneCJohn | Jul 06 05:17
Awesome work per usual, Tiffiny! While I am so fortunate to be happily married (to an AB), I must admit that I really only sought out AB women when I was dating. But to be clear, I never had to address the issue of whether or not I would actually date somebody in a chair, as the opportunity never presented itself. In all honesty though, given who I was while dating, I probably would have been in your 98% against it camp. I think my perception at the time was there would have been simply too many logistical issues (in addition to intimacy) to overcome. And while hypocritical, I like to think I somewhat redeemed myself in that I often subjected myself to the potential for ability discrimination by giving my first dates an easy out (admitting that the AB CJohn more than likely would never have dated a woman in a chair - I wanted someone to cycle, ski, & skate with, etc.). But your point about having somebody who would instantly understand our disability situation is very well taken!
2. born handicapped | Jul 19 03:58
it doesn't matter.
3. Crystal Rose | Jul 19 02:25
I'm a widow and have not started dating again. I don't know if I ever will. I had a great marriage and have not met anyone in or out of a chair who would measure up. If Mr. Right comes along, I won't be worried about whether he's walking or wheeling.
4. Robyn | Jul 22 05:10
I was SCI injured in 1974 at the age of 15, I had always had "boyfriends" starting in 8th grade. Once I was injured, those able bodied boys didn't want to date a quad. I went for years without dating, but in my mind I always thought I would date another "wheeler". In my late twenties I started dating an able bodied man. This relationship was good for me at the time, but it really wasn't going anywhere. IIn 1991 I reconnected with another disabled guy I had spoken with in 1985. We really hit it off and got married in April 1992. I can't say it's always been easy, but we really get each other. We have been married for twenty years and we couldn't be happier!!
5. Tiffiny | Jul 23 02:39
@Crystal Rose Hope you meet a guy eventually! :) @Robyn Whoa that's a great story! Any tips to share?
6. Kent Teffeteller | Dec 22 10:10
I did better than dating a wheeler, I married one. And she is my boss at work too. And she is totally wonderful, practical and a head for business and broadcast engineering. After 2 years together, the bond is only closer. She's the best.
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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.