Profiles in Online Dating: Woman with Disabilities Share Their Road Back to Love, Lust and Empowerment

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Profile #1
Gina

Feisty, 20 Something, C-5-6, Independent, Professional: Wants to “get out there, try new things, meet new people, laugh and have fun!”

“My hope is that you will get to know who I am fairly quickly by reading my introduction and following my video blog, and more than anything I hope they help disprove the stereotypes that are out there regarding relationships with people with disabilities.”

Why am I Doing This?

I recently became available again after a 10 year relationship; half of this period was spent in a marriage to my soon to be ex-husband. I chose to document my new dating experiences and what really happened in our marriage that led to divorce, because responses after the separation brought to light the many misconceptions our society has. The reactions family and I got from people regarding my pending divorce and dating made me want to document the entire process. Their assumptions could not have been further from reality. I am an open book, and I put it out there; the divorce was triggered because my ex-husband was unfaithful, but that’s not the real reason we separated.

Why the videos and not just a written blog? I want people to get to know me, and the best way is via videos. My humor often doesn’t translate well without voice inflection, and anyone can write blogs to be edited by a third party. However, a video is raw, all me, and honest. That’s what I want, I want to portray the real me and all of my dimensions. I do feel a little exposed, but I am who I am. So, get ready world for a dose of unadulterated, direct honesty.

What Led to the Divorce?

My divorce and past relationship is by no means the focus of this article, however, it is an important part of my journey in discovering myself and finding true love. My ex and I had been having issues for a while. He had changed. Luckily, I caught the cheating early. In fact, it had only been going on for a month, and she had been gone for two weeks of it. He always sucked at lying. He is an RN, and she was a traveling RN who occasionally worked in his unit. What made it easier to accept is that things had not yet progressed to a sexual relationship for them. They had kissed, and he had an infatuation with her at the time. No surprise there, he was always controlled by his emotions and made rash decisions.

After the divorce, people made comments eluding to the reason he cheated was because I wasn’t meeting his sexual needs. Ummmmmm, not even close! It was the opposite. One big issue with us was our sex life: I have a very high sex drive, and he doesn’t. That was just one of the few main breakdowns in our marriage. I was exhausted with feeling responsible for his happiness, and even more when he started to struggle with depression. The last few years of our relationship he became increasingly controlling and judgmental. The only problem is I’m a free bird, and controlling me is practically impossible. Yet, after some time I found myself begrudgingly doing what he wanted because it wasn’t worth the fight.

Since the co-worker he was texting with has the same name as my brother’s wife, my family chose to not soil my sister-in-law’s name. So my sister, who obviously loves the Harry Potter books, joked that we should call her “Voldemort, the one whose name we do not speak of.” Shortly later, I had a “pun epiphany,” which resulted in me now referring to her as Voldewhore. I’m not the type of woman who places all the blame on the other woman, but I can’t understand women who pursue married men. Trust me, I understand he’s the one with the ring, but she also knew all about me. Her interaction with me just hours after I discovered the texts contributed to the name as well.

A few months before he started texting with Voldewhore, I approached him about separating. He said he wanted to work on things, so we stayed together. Then, shortly before he started texting with Voldewhore, he said he wanted to separate. It seemed like it came out of the blue, and I wanted the choice to be based on rational behavior. I asked him if he would be open to going to sit and talk with my parents, who we both respect. They’ve been married 40 years, they’ve had ups and downs, but they love each other dearly. As we were driving back I asked him what he wanted, and he said he wanted to work on things.

While I’m not someone who has regrets, I regret not just letting him go. My mom tells me that she saw his true colors that day when he was emotionally detached, and his unrealistic expectations of never fighting or arguing in a relationship. If you never disagree, somebody is letting the other person run the show. It was obvious he didn’t mind hurting not only me, but my family who loved him. I stuck it out because I took my vows very seriously. I thought I still loved him, but I didn’t. I was in love with the carefree man I met and married. Not this stranger who slept next to me in bed, someone I now resented.

Three days before I found out he was cheating his parents had stayed in our home after a visit from out of state. I had put so much work into making sure they enjoyed their stay. To relax after having guests, he and I decided to have a lazy day. We spent the day together lying in bed, during which time he said as he looked me straight in the eyes, “I feel so connected to you right now, I feel like lately we haven’t been as connected.” He told me how much he loved me, and I believed it.

Later, as we talked, he mentioned he needed friends. He continued expressing the fact that he didn’t really have any. He did, he just hadn’t maintained the relationships. It was so rehearsed, so I bluntly asked him what girl at work he was wanting to hang out with. He adamantly denied there was anyone.

The next day, I went to hang out with my friend, and he text me saying that a coworker was having issues with her boyfriend and just wanted to talk. I’m not the jealous type, so I was fine with it, until he mentioned they ended up at Postino’s. Postino’s is the type of place you go for a first date; it is a wine bar with low lighting. I ended up being at the Apple store until after 10:00pm, due to issues they were having with my phone. I didn’t have my phone to keep in touch with him, but when I got it I found out he was still there. He always was annoyed if I was out late if he had worked that day or had to work the next morning, in this case he had worked that day and had to get up early the next morning for a class at the hospital. That just added to my concerns, I told my friend I had suspicions, and she said I was being ridiculous.

The next day I saw the receipt from dinner, and not only did he pay for her dinner, but there were two glasses of wine. He almost never drank. It added to my fears. I’m no snoop, but I just had to put my mind at ease. He syncs his phone with his PC so he can text from his computer. The next day when he was at that class I went into his office, clicked on his messages, and sure enough there were the texts. The first one I read was from him, “Miss you, been thinking of you non-stop.”

My heart sank and I felt sick as I read a short part of them. I called my parents and told them as they were driving back from a trip to California. I texted him and told him to come home. I wouldn’t tell him why, so he called. I told him I found his texts, and he said he was on his way. I printed out the 30 pages of text messages, and when he showed up he coldly responded after a short dialogue that he was sorry, but he didn’t want to work on things. I told him to pack his stuff up and leave. He expressed that this was our home, and I reminded him it was my home. I didn’t explode, because I have actively worked on not allowing my emotions to control me. I did almost lose it though when I saw he cleared out our accounts, and when Voldewhore called me and said some very vile things.

After he left, I started realizing how unhappy I was in the relationship, and how after he left, I instantly felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. He gave me a clean break, and I was grateful. Everyone commented on how happy I was after, and I genuinely was (and still am to this day). I didn’t feel the need to make his life a living hell, and instead things have been very amicable. That being said, I don’t have one bit of me that wants to reconcile with him, or have any relationship at that. That chapter of my life is over. Like I told my mom, “My marriage is ruined, but I’m not going to let him ruin my entire life. My marriage isn’t what defines me as a person, and like every other crappy thing I’ve dealt with, I’ll keep on moving forward. Heck, it could have been worse! It could have been in a year or two when I was bringing in bank and I would have had to pay him!”

I realized we had been emotionally divorced well before the separation, and I had been craving a loving, intimate relationship. I knew I was ready to get out there and meet someone who was a better match for me. I made the choice to start dating fairly quickly after he and I separated, and I‘ve received criticism, but this is my path. I wasted too many years living for someone else, I made the choice to be true to myself. That being said, I’m not looking to jump into a relationship. I want to experience what’s out there, and if I happen to find the true love of my life then so be it.

So Who Am I?

My name is Gina, I’m 28 (I’ll be 29 August 1, 2014), and I live in Arizona. I’m goofy, love to laugh, assertive, powerful, loyal, driven (but I drive my own car), and an eternal optimist. I enjoy the finer things in life as much as I enjoy the simple things. I’m passionate about food, and I love cooking. I have two dogs (Fred and Molly) and two cats (Cricket and Almond) who I spoil. I’ll warn you, I have a little bit of a wicked, wild side that makes my feisty side look tame. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am, pursuing education in order to achieve success. For you grammar people, I know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

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I have a better idea of who I am thanks to my life experiences; good and bad. I am stronger and more confident than I have ever been in my life. I take good care of myself, and I have a budding career. I recently graduated from law school and am sitting for the bar exam in late July. I’m lucky, because despite the challenge of getting a job as a new grad, I’ve already been hired by a great firm and I love it there.

I enjoy good conversations, comparing educated opposing viewpoints, and politics. I align most with the Libertarian party politically, but I am open to listening to other positions. I would like to have children someday, but I’m not so hell bent on kids, I would turn away my soul mate. However, I am open to dating someone with kids.

I have my own home on just under three acres with an orchard of approximately 100 fruit trees and small gardens. I would ultimately like to turn it into a chef’s urban farm, where local chefs can put in orders for produce to be grown for them, then after the orders are picked up we offer first come, first served on whatever is in season and available. Can you tell I grew up on a farm?

Then, of course, my claim to fame: my wheels. When I was 18 years old, I had a diving accident that resulted in a SCI. I was at the edge of the pool, asked if it was deep enough to dive, and the guy in the pool told me that it was. I quickly came to find it was only 3’ deep as I hit the bottom of the pool with the top of my head and heard my vertebrae crumble. I went into spinal shock and couldn’t move at all. As I lay floating at the bottom of the pool, with my hands lifeless and the sun shining through the blue water, I thought it was my time to die. It was the most serene moment of my entire life, and that provided me with a lifelong a sense of peace.

I suffered a SCI at the fifth cervical vertebrae, which is shortened to C 5/6 because I have function at the sixth cervical level. So what does that mean in laymen’s terms? I don’t have the use of fine motor skills in my hands, but I have the use of wrist movement (which is called tenodesis). My triceps are paralyzed, but I have the use of my biceps, and I’m paralyzed from the breast line down.

Despite my achievements and hobbies, that’s not what defines me to the general public. Often, people see me as the “girl in the wheelchair,” and not the “woman” who happens to use a wheelchair. That being said, my wheelchair and my Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) have made a huge impact on just who that “woman” is. I’ve been humbled, and forced to reflect on who I am, which has led to continuous efforts in self-improvement.

First, Dad, before you continue please skip this paragraph. Usually, the first question I would get when I was younger and I would go out was, “Can you have sex?” I’m sure part of it was fueled by liquid courage, but it gave me insight as to what guys were really thinking. I used to look at them with a serious face and say, “Actually, you know what? When I broke my neck it sealed up like a Barbie Doll!” They would have a moment of confusion and surprise, until they picked up on my devilish smirk and laughing friends. The real answer is “Yes, I can.” Do I need to go into detail? No, let’s just say I’m very comfortable with who I am and my body, which subsequently leads to a very healthy sex life. 😉 I won’t lie, it’s not the same as when I was AB (able bodied), but by no means is it mundane. Mom, PLEASE make sure dad skips this paragraph!

I don’t complain about my situation, so I don’t have much sympathy when those around me complain about the little things. I feel there’s no point in complaining about what you can change, just take control and change them! Now, I can understand complaining about things that are out of your control, but I simply choose not to. What’s the point? It just makes people hate being around you. In my head, I think, “Just change your attitude, if you can’t change your circumstances.”

Despite being in a chair, that risk taker and adrenaline junky still lies below the surface. Heck, my first time I went sit skiing I decided I was going to go all out, and I did. However, I have learned that icy conditions and rolling a sit ski equates to a wicked, awesome black eye. Yes, I flipped the sit ski, busted my eye, popped back up, and kept going. I’m a quadriplegic, not a porcelain doll. I feel alive when I’m pushing the boundaries of my mental and physical abilities.

My hope is that you will get to know who I am fairly quickly by following this video blog, and, more than anything, I hope it helps disprove the stereotypes that are out there regarding relationships with people with disabilities.

What Do I Want

OK, so this might sound bad, but I told my ex-boyfriend (from 10 years ago), men are like Skittles, and I want to taste every flavor of the rainbow. In other words, I want to see what’s out there. I want to find someone that fits me best from the beginning, not someone who I hope changes. Even if I found the love of my life, I’m not jumping into anything. I know there are a lot of guys out there who want a committed relationship ASAP. For those guys, I’m simply not the one for them.

I got on Match.com and I quickly came to realize that men were hesitant because of the wheelchair, and I can understand that. What I didn’t understand were the ones who would use words nearly verbatim from my “About me” in what they were looking for while mixing in some generic lines like, “Looks only go so far,” and so on, then not respond to a wink or like from me.

I understand it may not just be the wheelchair, heck, it probably isn’t! I’m direct, so it could be a variety of other reasons; I can be intimidating, I may not be their type, or it could be some other random factor. I do the same thing going through profiles. There was one guy’s profile that sounded so great…until I read: “Yeah, I believe in gender roles.” Explaining women stay at home with babies, cook, and clean. Yup, he’s out. I recognize I have a very masculine energy in ways, and I am very powerful, but I’m still pretty sure the main reason I don’t hear from guys is the chair.

Mr. (Almost) Perfect

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One thing my ex gave me was a better understanding of what I want and what I don’t want in a partner. So what am I looking for? Well, I have realistic expectations in knowing that nobody is perfect, and I want my potential partner to have the same expectations. That being said, I want someone who will hold me accountable, help me strive for perfection, and continuous personal growth throughout life. I would like someone close to my age, but I’m open to dating someone up to 40 years old depending on how well they’ve taken care of themselves. I want someone who is sweet, loves me, supportive, and enjoys just spending time together. Someone who is passionate about food, and likes gardening is a major bonus. Most important, someone who takes personal responsibility for their own happiness, because I take personal responsibility for making myself happy.

I would love someone who is social, but as comfortable at home as they are in social settings. A professional would be great, at least someone who is a life learner. Intelligence is so attractive to me. I don’t really care about how much money someone makes, but it would take a lot of pressure off of me if the person were equally as successful. That is by no means necessary, I just don’t want to be someone’s sugar momma. Honestly, I don’t have to have all of those things. I would be perfectly content with a food loving, funny, supportive, loving man who can communicate well. By communicate well, I mean communicate regarding positive and negative aspects of the relationship. The last thing I want is someone who bottles everything up, then later blows up and brings up every little thing they’ve filed away.

Let’s get to the fun stuff, and that’s the physical aspect. I’m in a wheelchair, I’m not blind (no offense to anyone who is blind). People assume because I’m in a wheelchair I’ll take anything because I must be desperate. Wrong. I’m picky, and I can be (there’s that ego my mom desperately tries to help me keep in check). I told my mom shortly after my injury, “I’m not lowering my standards just because I’m sitting!” I’ve lived by that motto.

So what do I like? Of course it’s a given that I like a good body, but that means different things to different people. To me, it’s someone who is toned, but not too beefy – I’m into muscles. I need someone to be able to pick me up. Tehehe. ☺ Even though my chair makes me short, I’m not necessarily into really short guys, and tall guys don’t work for me either. I like guys that care about how they look, so nice haircuts and good dressers are a bonus. However, if a guy wants help with that, I’m the makeover queen. I’m a sucker for a guy with nice eyebrows, that way, if we have babies, they’ll rule the world. That leads me to the next big topic…

Babies. I actually want babies, and I can have babies. I’ve always wanted to adopt, and I’m open to men with children (minus a crazy baby-momma). Like I said, I’m not hell bent on kids. This is such a touchy subject for some people, I can assure you I am not one of those people.

So clearly, if you’ve actually made it through this entire article, you have come to realize I have some expectations. Don’t we all? I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I would like someone who is equally ambitious. That being said: watch out single men, I’m back on the scene.

Part 2 – Gina’s Online Dating Journey: Part 2 – Concerns, Fears and Strengths


 

Gina’s Online Dating Profile

“Once you go gimp, you know you’re a pimp”

I’ve been told I have the humor of a 13 year boy, I admit sometimes I can’t help but find a dirty joke in almost everything. However, I like intelligent debates, educated people, and open minds. I like to try new things, and am very open. I grew up on a farm in California, so I chose to find a little bit of that in my home (I have just under three acres with a small orchard and gardens). I love cooking, dining out, relaxing, and working. Food is my true passion. I’ve been known to enjoy a glass of wine or good scotch occasionally. 😉 I’m independent and I’m happy with where I am in my life. I’m confident, and I like confident people who are comfortable with who they are. I absolutely love to laugh, and I have a completely goofy side. However, I have a professional, assertive side as well. I recently got back into going to the gym regularly, so I’d love a gym partner. I am very close with my family, and I love to have them over to my house. I respect and love my parents more than I can express. I would do anything for my niece and nephew, my tough side melts and I am putty in their hands. Who said you can’t buy love? I recently got out of a long term relationship, so I’m looking to date and have fun more than anything, however if the right person comes along I would think about settling down. 😉 My career is very important to me, so I would like someone who can understand that.

Well to get it out there on the table, I’m in a wheelchair. Don’t come to your own conclusions, they’re probably wrong. 😉 I am pre-judged by being in a chair, but I am completely different than what people often expect. I am sexy (HA), happy, inappropriate, confident, assertive, and educated. For those who know about spinal cord injuries, my injury level is C 5/6. I might be in a chair, but I make a point to take care of myself, and would like that in a partner. I’m very open about my injury, so don’t be shy about asking. However, I don’t recommend your first question being whether or not I can have sex. That’s what Google is for. 😉 Though I will say I was bored with “Fifty Shades of Grey” by the third book.

I have always had a dream of restoring an El Camino (yes, I know) that is a 60’s or early 70’s model, so if you love cars and motorcycles that’s a bonus. I want that baby to chirp when I hit the hand controls. 😉 I also like practically any type of live sports. So if you haven’t figured it out now, I can hang with the guys, but I’m also a girl’s girl.

What makes a man sexy to me:

  • Good teeth and overall personal hygiene. I know that sounds superficial…because it is.
  • A man who is a challenge, I like a man who isn’t afraid to question me or respectfully disagree.
  • Someone who is logical, people ruled by emotion don’t work for me.
  • Humor. I love clever, goofy humor…and puns.
  • Smarts. It’s crazy sexy when a man has good grammar and intelligence.
  • Not jealous or self-absorbed.
  • LOVES food.
  • Independent and not needy.
  • Nice ass. 😉 Let’s see who actually reads this far down.
  • Someone who has drive in life to be successful, not necessarily financially, but in life overall.
  • When someone can handle my sarcasm and wit without getting their panties in a twist. 😉
  • Last but not least, drop dead sexy doesn’t hurt either. When a man takes care of himself both physically and mentally, I’m impressed. So if you meet my psycho list of requirements, message me and I’ll cook you dinner. 🙂

 

If you would like to introduce yourself as a dating candidate to Gina, you can do so here and we will share your info with her.  Your information will not be shared publically.

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Deborah Davis

Deborah is a Speaker, Disability Inclusion Consultant, Entrepreneur, Writer and Business Owner of Wheelchair Lifestyle Enterprise Push Living Inc.

She was a Former Dancer, Accident Survivor (C 6-7 Spinal Cord Injury resulting in incomplete Quadriplegia 1985), College grad (BBA Finance 1991 U of Miami), with a background in Sales and Marketing and Non Profit Development and Management.

She is now embarked on new path creating a market for Disability Inclusive Stock Images with the creation of PUSHlivingPhotos.com and publishing an online enterprise: PushLiving.com. The mission is to create Inclusion for people with disabilities through stock images for advertising, marketing and editorial uses, providing accessible properties for travel, swap or purchase, publishing an online magazine for improved health and well-being, providing information and opportunities for Accessible Travel, and operating an online store with products that improve lives.

She is most passionate about building a network of people with disabilities who are empowering, supporting and creating a more inclusive world. Personally, she is a mother of two beautiful, wise and exceptionally bright young women, and residing in South Florida.

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