Gina’s Online Dating Journey: Part 3 – Divorce, Self-Reflection, Desire and More Dating Wisdom

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Profiles in Online Dating: Woman with Disabilities Share Their Road Back to

Love, Lust and Empowerment 

GinaBoss

Gina’s Tinder Photo “Moment”

Well it’s been quite a while since I wrote my last article, and boy has a lot gone on. A quick recap: my divorce is final, I’ve been questioning whether or not I want to stick with law, and I’ve dated a lot…then some more, and I’ve really come into my own. When I first started writing these articles, I was still going through my self-discovery phase. I guess I never realized just how much my identity was tied up in my relationship and law.

My true passion has always been food—always. All of my greatest memories are centered around food. So when we had a few things happen with my family, you would often find me in my kitchen cooking in order to cope. I tend to self-reflect so I’ll spend time coping, holed up for a while, and it’s the best thing for me. I need to recharge sometimes.

Shortly after my last article, I started dating someone regularly—a handsome piece of dark chocolate who was just as gorgeous on the inside. He’s in the military, so he was about three hours away. He would come up for the weekend every once in a while, but we both knew it was impractical to even consider something serious. He had the goal of going to MSG school where they train Marines for Embassy duty. It’s no surprise he got accepted. In fact, he spent the last few days with me before heading out this morning to see his family for a while, before starting the six weeks of training. From there, he’ll be assigned to an Embassy for three years. Even though he’s leaving, he’ll always have a very special place in my heart.

He gave me the greatest gift. At a time when I needed to have my faith in men restored, he did that for me. I could trust him and I felt safe with him. After being in a critical relationship and subsequently betrayed by my own husband, he was the gentle and encouraging person I needed in my life. He offered me balance, he was everything I needed, and for that I’ll always love him.

I’ll be honest, when I first started dating I didn’t know what I wanted. I thought I wanted something more serious, but it didn’t take me long to realize that wasn’t the case. I needed to figure myself out and decide what I really wanted. What is that currently? I want to have fun. I want to be footloose and fancy free. I want to casually date. I want to be able to focus on bettering myself. What do I not want? A serious relationship. I don’t have the energy to put into a committed relationship right now.

When I realized I didn’t want anything serious, I made that clear on my Match profile and interest drastically declined. One guy asked why I was on Match if I didn’t want something serious. He was right. So I stopped using Match and got on Tinder. I freaking love Tinder.

Gina desertFor those of you who don’t know what Tinder is, it’s a dating application on your phone. Essentially, your profile is no more than six pictures and a very limited amount of words. When going through other profiles you just see the person’s main picture, and below it is a red ‘X’ or a green heart. If you’re interested you tap the green heart or swipe the picture to the right. If you aren’t interested you can either tap on the X or swipe left. If you want to see more pictures or read their profile (if they even write anything) you tap on their picture. Personally, I’m a serial left swiper. If you both like each other, a screen pops up stating “It’s a match”. You can only message with people if you both swiped right/tapped the green heart. From there you can post “Moments” which are pictures that all of your matches can see.

Sure there are a plethora of shirtless pictures and pointless quotes, but there are also some quality people on Tinder… I mean, duh, I’m on there! 😉 My profile is snarky and egotistical, just like me. In fact, one line is “Shallow like the pool I dove in”. I address the wheelchair straight up by saying, “In a wheelchair, that just means you can give me a lap dance anytime you want & I skip leg day.” I share my Instagram, which is Culinary.quad if you’re curious. You’ll see my love for food and selfies.

If you were to look at my matches, my taste for chocolate would be apparent. People often wonder what it is with me and black guys and I tell them, besides the fact that I’m attracted to dark meat, they’re often confident enough to handle a strong woman. Let’s be real, I’m a powerful woman. I’m not making a blanket statement, I’m just speaking from my experiences, and I like what I like. That doesn’t mean I exclusively date black men, character is more important than skin color.

I’m not looking for a “yes” man, that’s the last thing I want, but I don’t need opposition either. I’m looking to have someone (or a few someones) I can go to dinner with and have a good conversation and laugh. I’m telling you, there is an epidemic with men right now. What is that, you might ask? It’s really two things. First, the inability to carry on a conversation. Second, the inability to spell. Seriously, there are times when it takes me a few minutes to decipher a sentence. I’ve even had to write what I think they mean and ask if that’s what they meant. I know I sound like a jerk. It’s because I am.

Ginagansta

Gina’s Tinder Dating App Photo “Moment”

 

We’re a lazy society. I can assure you I will never send a text with “tho” instead of “though.” My friend Jenn sent me the funniest meme, because she knows I’m big on grammar. It said, “There’s a difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.” I laughed so hard, heck I still grin every time I think about it.
So, you might ask, if I’m not looking for a relationship, what direction will I take with the blog? Well, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from women on how I’m dating as much as I am. Not to brag, but my record has been four dates in four nights. Yes, they were all different, but two of them were repeats. BOOM!
I’ve been noticing patterns among people with disabilities that hinder dating and applying what has or hasn’t worked for me to discover there are common mistakes. I’ll still talk about my dating, but I’m hoping I can offer advice that helps some of you achieve the relationship status you’re looking for.

A Few Starter Tips

My advice doesn’t apply to everyone because we’re all different but I can assure you, if you’re begrudgingly single, it’s because you’re doing something wrong. If you’re blaming your lack of a love life on something like a disability, that’s a bad sign. Self-reflection and self-responsibility need to come into play. It’s likely not the actual disability, but instead your representation of the disability… or you’re just clingy. Nobody likes clingy. Some of these men get clingy and I can’t roll away fast enough.

If you’re negative about your disability, the person you’re on a date with will see it the same way. Imagine the person you’re dating is a mirror, they’ll reflect what you project. Take control of the situation and you’ll set the tone. I’m the first one to address the disability. Usually I nonchalantly say, “Oh yeah, the wheelchair…” followed by a quick explanation of my level, and I finish with, “Feel free to ask any questions. I don’t mind talking about it, it is what it is.” They may have a few questions, but they’re more interested in getting to know me because I don’t make my disability a big deal.

I make fun of my handicap to lighten the mood. When people can laugh at themselves, it’s attractive, beyond attractive. Laughter bonds people in ways that are unexplainable, so make sure you laugh. Nobody likes to be around those people that are duds, disability or not. Let’s say you’re not the best with jokes. Make sure you laugh at their jokes, even if you don’t think it’s that funny, because we all love our ego to be stroked.

GinaCanCook

Gina’s Tinder Dating App Photo

You should never let one topic dominate the conversation. That means the topic being you and/or your disability. If I want to hear people complain about their health problems I’ll volunteer at a nursing home. Dali Momma (my mom) always said, “If you want someone to like you ask them questions about themselves. Everyone likes to talk about themselves.”

It’s a narcissistic thought to assume everyone should understand your thoughts and perspectives on disabilities. So many of us were once those ignorant able-bodied people, why would you have standards for everyone else that you couldn’t achieve yourself. Have realistic expectations and don’t assume everything is an insult. If you need to correct someone, do it in the most positive way possible.

 

A lot of the issues people have with dating aren’t disability related. You may just be a weirdo. Ask yourself, “Am I a weirdo with awkward social skills who blames all of my issues on everything under the sun besides myself?” If so, those are just excuses. Stop making excuses. Like I said, take control of your life. Dali Momma would say, “Don’t be a victim. Be an owner.” Look in the mirror. Are you an excuse making victim or a self-reflective owner?

Gina Schuh, Editor, Law and Advocacy

Gina, a C-5/6 quadriplegic, describes herself as a “politically incorrect foodie who is an equal opportunity offender.” Beyond that, Gina is a law school graduate who grew up on a farm in California. Gina’s true passion is food, and you’ll often find her posting food pictures on her Instagram under Culinary.Quad . Raised by a strong mother who had an insatiable appetite for any educational psychology materials, Gina swears she was raised by an unlicensed psychologist which led to her being so introspective. After people observed her success in dating, they asked for tips, which eventually led to her regular contribution here at Push Living on issues of dating, disability parking, and medical supply reimbursement, leading to the role of Editor of Law and Advocacy.

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