Profiles in Online Dating: Women with Disabilities Share Their Road Back to Love, Lust and Empowerment
Dating can be crazy, fun, and an exciting adventure. It can also be pretty awful. I’ve learned that as you age, your social circles become smaller and smaller. In turn, this makes meeting new people pretty difficult. Whether they are a new friend or potential partner, it’s not so easy to meet someone organically these days. I suppose it would be too easy just to bump into your soul mate at the grocery store or have a magical connection with that guy at the coffee shop. I’m sure it happens for the lucky few, but for the rest of us there’s online dating.
Online dating can be a great way to go. If you use a site like OkCupid, you can ask all sorts of questions and weed out those you wouldn’t be compatible with. I can’t say much about other sites like Match.com or E-harmony.com as I’ve never used these. I like OkCupid simply because it’s free and from my experience, it’s not just a hook-up site like some sites that I won’t mention (cough) “Plenty of fish” (cough, cough) “Tinder”. Anyway, it’s all about being yourself, putting up some pictures that are a good representation of who you are, and just being willing to take a chance.
With all that said, how does having a disability play into the world of online dating? After all, I am disabled, and have been since the age of 3 when my nerve disease first began to develop. It’s not something new for me and, honestly, it’s not something I think about very often. It’s become a part of who I am and I’ve learned that some folks can accept my limitations better than others.
Now, as far as limitations go, I’m a very capable and independent woman. I am unable walk or stand and have not been able to do this since age 10. I use a mobility scooter to get around. Some have asked why I don’t just use a wheelchair. Well, I stopped walking when I was 10, after struggling to remain walking for about a year. It had got to the point where some sort of medical device was going to be necessary and I was about to go to middle school. I was going to have to travel between buildings and there were a lot of hills. My Dad suggested a mobility scooter instead of a wheelchair. It seemed like a cool alternative, so that’s what I began using.
Over the years, I guess I could have switched to a wheelchair but I personally find them too confining. Anyhow, other than the need for a scooter, I have limited dexterity in my hands. This symptom developed at age 6, so I simply learned how to write and type another way. I hold a pen differently and type with the sides of my pinkies quite quickly (about 65wpm) so it doesn’t slow me down.
So, yes, I definitely have some limitations, but I’m the master of adaptation. I still drive, hold a job, swim in the summer, go out to bars with my friends, ride roller coasters, do yoga, have sex… you name it. If I really want to do it, I’ll find a way. Oh, and I’ve modeled since the age of 19. I started on a whim because a photographer liked my smile and, since then, I’ve been with several agencies and have been published multiple times. One of the biggest misconceptions about having a disability is the lack of a love life. I have been very fortunate to not really have an issue with dating. You could blame it on my looks, which I’m sure help, but I chalk it up to the fact that I am confident in who I am.
Confidence is so ridiculously important in many ways. In life, in general, having confidence can take you far, but having confidence as a woman is something the vast majority of men find incredibly sexy. When it comes to online dating for me, I’m very candid. My profile definitely mentions my disability. I don’t go into any depth, but I make sure that it’s a known fact because it’s part of who I am. I have no need to hide it, but I don’t let it define me.
In my experience, these are a few tips I find important:
- Being truthful about who you are. It will take you far 🙂
- Have real life pictures with friends or family, not just selfies. But nothing too professional because men will wonder if you’re real or not. On my dating profile, I have a few of my more casual modeling shots. Mainly because I don’t take enough candid shots (it’s something I’m working on)
- If you are a disabled woman on a dating website, be prepared for questions. I’ve had some ridiculous questions. Messages that I normally delete, but honestly wish I had saved to give as examples here. Ha-ha.
Really though, be prepared! Men will ask questions. Don’t feel that you have to answer them, especially if it’s the first or only thing they say to you. To my mind, that’s just not proper etiquette. I realize people are curious and have questions, but my disability does not define who I am. I am so much more than that, so get to know me a little before you bring up those questions. Most of the time people simply haven’t been exposed to someone with a disability and they aren’t completely sure what correct protocol is.
- Some men will throw out a joke, right off the bat. For example, “What kind of mileage do you get on that hog?”
These are the men who I find to be quite “ballsy” for lack of a better word. They have no idea if I’m easily offended, so they’re taking a pretty big risk by joking with me. Fortunately, I am a very difficult person to offend and jokes tell me more about the person telling them than offending me in anyway. In my psychological opinion, a man who throws out a joke right away is using this as his way of coping with a situation that he may not necessarily be sure about, but is curious and wants to know more. So jokes can be taken any way you want, but just know that they aren’t normally coming from a mean place.
- Oh, and umm… Well, no easy way to say it, but SEX seems to be a big area of curiosity. This could go in with the other questions, but frankly it deserves its own section.
If you’re on a reputable dating side, you may not run into it as often but it’s a huge part of a relationship and men are naturally going to wonder. Now, if you’re on one of those aforementioned hook-up sites… Good Luck!!!!
It is not an area that I have any problem answering questions about, but only after I’ve gotten to know someone. If a man comes at me with a sex question right off the bat, they get deleted. I understand that it may just be curiosity, but unless you get to know me as a person first and foremost, you can go be curious somewhere else.
Dating online can be scary or seem overwhelming, especially for a woman who has more of story to tell. I completely get that, but how will you ever know what’s out there though if you don’t ever try? Creating a profile for the first time can be intimidating. You’re putting yourself out there for the world to see and you don’t want to get hurt. Fortunately, when you date online you have all the power. You get to choose who you message back, who you send messages to in the first place, and who you end up deciding to go on dates with.
I’ll tell right now, I’ve used online dating on and off for years. I’ve also had plenty of relationships with men I’ve met through friends and other sources, but online dating opens up a new realm of possibilities. Fair warning, you may get overloaded with messages, go on a ton of dates, and not end up having a spark with anyone. Thus is online dating (lol) but sometimes you’ll meet someone and everything clicks and you end up in a wonderful relationship. Just like everything else, dating takes time and effort. It may take quite a few Mr. Wrong’s to find a Mr. Right, but I guarantee it’s worth the journey 🙂
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Remember how I said that some are more accepting of my limitations than others? Well, that’s been an important lesson that I’ve learned. Some people can only handle so much and because of this are only given so much to take on. As a woman with a disability, I am well aware that some people just can’t handle me and that’s perfectly fine. If someone is unable to accept me in my entirety, then they are not someone who I am supposed to be with. It’s as simple as that!
I hope this helps to reveal some of the mysteries of what it can be like using online dating as a disabled woman. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I am happy to assist in any way I can. I wish you all the best of luck in this crazy journey we call life!
Anna’ Dating Profile:
Hey I’m Anna. I work from home and don’t really get the chance to meet many guys so I thought I’d check this out. I’m a bit of an artsy type. I love to sing, mainly to the radio haha and I’ve modeled on and off for several years. I love getting together with friends to grab a bite or have a drink. I stay in shape by working out, eating right, and I’ve recently gotten into handcycling, but it’s pretty pricey so I haven’t gotten to enjoy it as much as I’d like to. Anyways I thought I’d check out this site because I love meeting new people and I’m not a fan of meeting a guy at the bar lol I’m really laid back, but I go after what I want. I love being spontaneous and trying new things. I’m always up for a fun adventure!
Just so there aren’t any surprises you should know I’m not quite what you would consider your typical woman. I’ve had a nerve disease since I was 3 and am no longer able to walk or stand. So, I have a scooter to get around. My condition does not hold me back in any way, actually it hardly affects my life at all. I am an extremely capable and independent individual. I strive to do my best and I work very hard in all aspects of life, so don’t think something like not walking could ever hold me back. I still drive, work, have my own place, swim, and whatever else I put my mind to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions I totally don’t mind at all 🙂
What I’m doing with my life
Staying pretty busy! Working, designing a website, writing articles, doing photo shoots, working on my book, and of course enjoying life
I’m really good at
Ummm smiling, making people laugh, making lists, researching, spring cleaning, playing poker, blowing bubbles, finding clothes that fit other people perfectly lol, singing in the car, and I learning tons of really random probably useless information.
The first things people usually notice about me
Either my eyes or my scooter, but I’d say my scooter is a bit hard to miss lol
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
I haven’t read anything in a while, but I need to find a new author so any recommendations are welcome 🙂 I really love, Gillian Flynn. She writes psychological thrillers and the ones I’ve read are fantastic! Also, The Shining Girls, The Millennium Trilogy, World War Z, Brain on Fire, Sex at Dawn, Pandora’s Lunchbox, etc
As far as movies and TV go I love crime shows like NCIS, Law and Order SVU, and Criminal Minds and thrillers like Fight Club. But, I also love comedies like Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Archer, And of course… Orange is the New Black and American Horror Story. Newest TV show Bates Motel
When it comes to music I can listen to just about anything, but I’m not a huge fan of country. And for food, I love trying new stuff. Some favorites are: Italian, Chinese, Mexican, and Seafood. Oh and a new favorite would have to be Thai, yum!
The six things I could never live without
I spend a lot of time thinking about
A lot of random stuff and then I end up having to google the answer so it won’t bug me haha
On a typical Friday night I am
Depends on my mood and how busy my day was but either chilling out at home reading a good book or out with friends for dinner or a drink.
You should message me if
You’re open-minded, able to think outside the box, like to have a good time, like to try new places to eat, and can keep up with me 🙂
Introduce Yourself to Anna