All joking aside:
There are some questions I’ll probably never totally come to a decision on.
Q: In what other ways are your interpersonal relationships affected by disabilities?
Examples might be that it’s harder to form or maintain relationships or that people treat you differently once they realize you have a disability.
A: Yes. Yes. Yes.
One way this is the case is in dating, but today I will speak specifically about online dating.
I could write a whole book on this subject, with the experience I have had with it over the last five years, but up until now I have resisted writing anything to do with this fast-growing method of finding love.
I have resisted, not sure why that is.
Dating is one interpersonal relationship issue I have yet to write extensively on.
It is, indeed, harder to form this kind of relationship when you can’t locate a stranger, out of a crowd, with whom you might have an interest in. It can narrow down the places where meeting someone is possible. All of this, and yet I was determined and I have had some success.
The question here is one I struggle with every time I begin speaking with a new guy online.
Of course, in person it is obvious, often glaringly so. I like to think I can fit in, in public, and not stand out as the blind girl. This isn’t always very realistic for me to think.
Online, I have never been able to decide when and how to bring it up.
Do you, perchance, know the answer to this?
Do I mention it first thing in my online dating profile? Do I casually attempt to sneak it in the middle somewhere? Or leave it until the last few lines?
Am I looking like I mean to hide the fact, if I don’t come right out and say it? Do I ruin things before even getting started, scaring someone off, if I make it the first thing they read?
I don’t want my blindness to be all I am; it’s not.
I want to be able to show that I am a well-rounded person, with many interests and passions. My blindness is a factor, for sure, but it can’t be how I define myself overall or that is how others will start defining me too.
Yes, people do treat me differently when I do reveal this one detail in particular. This, I understand. I can empathize.
Whether I reveal it in my first message, during a subsequent phone call, or when they show up to meet me face-to-face.
I have experienced different amounts of shock and surprise. I have heard it all, from the pause of several seconds, to the stuttering response, to the normal array of curiosity and its companioning questions.
Like anything else, it isn’t a good idea to leave it out and just show up for coffee, cane in hand. This, like being less than honest about current weight or age, it can result in a bad rapport from the start. I know not to pull this on anyone. It really is not fair and it leaves me awkward and fumbling too.
I like to know, somewhat, what I am getting and I want the other person to have the same courtesy from me.
At the moment I am watching a tribute special for Stevie Wonder.
Of course, it is no secret that Stevie is blind. He doesn’t seem to have had any trouble meeting partners in his own life. I doubt this “wonder” has never had to utilize online dating to find women.
then again, who knows.
At one point, host LL Cool J asks everyone to take a moment and close their eyes, even going as far to darken the screen, while the song Stevie wrote for his baby daughter years ago is being performed by a few fans and fellow performers.
This is certainly an interesting part of this special. I was wondering when they were going to address his blindness. I figured they would.
Now I am no Stevie Wonder.
I haven’t had his talent or fame to help me meet people.
Stevie Wonder has been the main spokesperson for the blind community, world-wide. When most people think of blindness, they think of him. He has been extremely successful in his life, blindness notwithstanding, but dating, love, and children are experienced differently when unable to see the faces of loved ones.
I know it is a touchy subject sometimes. I wish there was a one-hundred percent agreed upon answer to my main question of this post.
I know online dating works. If I keep my eyes open, pardon the pun, I can and have found those who are willing to be flexible and give dating a blind woman a shot.
I have never been accused of trying to hide my blindness when commencing conversations with anyone online. I’ve found the right time to slip in my blindness in there. It works and I am always navigating the turns and the bumps of dating online.
I guess some questions will never have definitive answers to them. This, I greatly dislike. I like to know which way to go when I am struggling with a question and when no answer presents itself to me, I rail at the uncertainty.
I don’t want to be treated different, but unfortunately this is unavoidable in most instances.
Someone who has never before spoken to a blind person will not usually know, right off the cuff, how to handle themselves.
I try to make them feel at ease, by simply speaking of your normal, run-of-the-mill things that anyone who’s just getting to know another person might discuss.
This is often all it takes to keep things moving forward. And forward is the only way any hoped-for relationship will have a chance.
Sure, some may halt any further conversation, but there’s always more out there. Sometimes, the shock of it is just too much for a person to handle. That is their prerogative.
I could always start a new series on this blog, online dating adventure series, but i think I’ll continue to resist this impulse.
You never know. Maybe this week’s question will have started something, but then again I am not sure people want to hear about such things on a regular basis.
I wonder if there’s a site out there, devoted only to online dating stories, good or bad.
Well, while I’m off to investigate that further, please offer your thoughts and/or opinions on my question and I will leave you with my favourite of Stevie’s lesser well-known hits.
Stevie Wonder – PArt Time Lover – YouTube
Have you ever tried online dating?
Did you ever find out something about someone you were talking with that surprised you? When is it important, do you think, to provide certain details?
How have others reacted when you’ve offered up something you’ve been nervous to mention?
On next week’s Memoir Monday post, for the
Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,
is a question that is at the heart of this whole thing.
Do you have preferred language when it comes to disability?
12 thoughts on “Dating in the Dark”
Reblogged this on Rose B Fischer.
Reblogged this on Bohemian Nerd and commented:
Very inspiring about a member in our blogging community.
Thanks for the re-blogs guys.
It was an awesome post. What can I say? 🙂
When I decided to try online dating, I threw myself in with gusto. At first I did include mention of my disability, and even had a photo of me in my wheelchair. I got no responses. I reached out and initiated conversations, but after two months had not gone on one date. I created another profile on a different site which included the exact language but I did not include the sentence self-identifying as a woman with a disability and I did not include any photos which showed my wheelchair. I received at least 10 responses per day in the first week. Many were from the same men who had duplicate profiles on multiple sites – men who had politely turned me down on the other site where they saw my disability.
I committed to online dating for a year. I went on 56 dates, kissed 25 men and made one genuine friend. I kept copious notes thinking they would be great fodder for the book I would write someday. In the end, it left me jaded and bitter about the entire process though. I know it works for some, but I won’t be signing up again any time soon.
I am very sorry that your experience wasn’t an overly positive one.
It is hard, not to grow bitter, when this happens.
I wish people weren’t so shallow, when it comes to dating and love.
Thank you for sharing your story with me here.
I can somewhat understand where you’re coming from, in the respect of…do you let them know something upfront, or wait a few conversations to let it come up. For me personally, I was in a really bad car accident about almost 15 years ago. I had gone through multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, and it was really rough for me for a long time. I was dating someone, up until I turned 35, and I ended it for my own reasons. That was 4 years ago. But during that time, and still to today, I don’t work. I’m in a position over the last 2 years where I’m physically better and can take on that endeavor, but I’m not rushing into it just for the sake of taking any job.
I’ve done the online dating profile that states clearly, that I was in an accident, recovered, not currently working, but looking to get back out there. I’m not looking for someone to take care of me, I do that very well on my own etc. It was met with extreme distaste. I would be asked outright if I can walk, do I use crutches, a wheel chair. The answer is no, but the way the approach was, was very rude and crude. I felt for the person who would be asked these questions and their answer was yes. Simply because of the delivery of these questions. How can someone be so mean, putting it mildly. I tried leaving it out, which is the current state. And when the question…What do you do for a living? Comes up. I say..I worked in advertising, but had a car accident a few years ago, I’m looking to get back out there, but luckily for me I don’t have to just take any job. Kinda like dating, I can be picky. Some will be ok with it for a while, and others will be like..so when are you getting a job? Are you looking at least?
Like I said, I can somewhat understand where you’re coming from. It’s by far not the same situation. I don’t think there is a perfect time to say anything. But one thing I have learned, who ever it is that is meant for you, will accept you for all that you are. They will look past what others may have looked too long upon. It won’t be a factor for them. That’s when you know it’s real. I only met one guy since my dating adventures, that didn’t mind my situation. It didn’t work out, but he accepted me for who I am. Oh boy I kind of went off on a tangent there, sorry for that.
No problem. I’m a fan of those.
I enjoyed your post. I have also had my go at online dating and did it for less than a year.
Although I don’t have a disability that’s been documented many find my upfront no-nonsense approach to life and freely speaking my mind often leading to calling a spade a spade could very well be a handicap as it puts so many people off.
Quite honestly many just cannot handle the truth and prefer to be unconsciously lied to which is the only other option to the truth you know, then bitch and moan at a person later for not just “being honest”.
I think its fair to note that I teetered back and forth as to whether or not I should chime in on your post as if I focused only on the “disability” portion of it I would be missing the forest for the trees.
So here I go! I wasn’t looking for anything substantial from anyone in the Online dating community when I entered it.
Fresh out of a nearly 20 year marriage and about 40 or 41 if memory serves me correctly I was just looking for some ‘playmates’ with zero-strings attached.
No commitment and an “open” relationship setting aka: u do your thing imma do mine and when I see you I’ll see you.
I laid this out on my online profile and in any and all communications with all prospects.
They all loved it! Especially when I’d immediately inform them of the “rules” which were to not get attached to me, ask me where I’ve been or what I’m doing as well as to not call me their girlfriends or anything else remotely close to committed partnership.
In return I granted them the same respect and boundaries.
I would learn quickly that despite my brutal upfront honesty 100% of them fell hard and fast even though they agreed to the “contract”.
I’d end up cutting them all loose except for one as they really irritated me when they didn’t keep their end of the deal.
Of course I said I’d never marry again and as sure as I uttered the words 3 years later I’d end up marrying the “one” who managed to stick to my rules in life and on the POF website where we met.
At one point during it all I became so frustrated with the liars who couldn’t handle a non-committal relationship that I considered for a flash of a minute giving up my 100% honesty trait as it appeared despite it people still sucked and were fake.
Came to my senses and said f* it I ain’t changing my roll as I’m not the one havin issues with it; they are.
In my time on POF the chosen site for me I met some really nice people who I stayed friends with after the sexual part of the connection died for me but ended up releasing them too as I realized with time they only agreed to be friends in the hopes I’d reconsider seeing them intimately again.
I think online dating is a fantastic way to meet people of all kinds and if you let it it can aid you in building one hell of a thick skin. AND a importantly becoming a honed machine at “reading people” you don’t have to be able to actually “see” a person to actually “see” and sense their inner workings.
And it beats the hell out of the rare chance of meeting a compatible up close and person say at the market or church as the odds are simply greater online.
Don’t give up people I think I found my guy because I wasn’t looking for anything lasting or long term. It appears that was the game changer 😉
That’s just fine. I wrote it from my point of view, but that is why I asked those questions at the end. I was interested interested in any and all people offering their experiences and opinions. Online dating, as it is these days, such a broad topic.
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