The idea of putting yourself out into the dating world when you’re single and you have a visible disability can be horrifying. What if you can’t find the right person for you who is able to look past your condition and your additional needs? As a young 23-year old woman with Cerebral palsy, as well as chronic illnesses and anxiety, online dating for me has been an adventure, to say the least.
What I’ve Learnt
If I’m honest, dating for me as always been an adventure in general; from the time I entered middle school and had gone through the normal things young ladies go through. While in middle school, I really had a desire to have an able-bodied boyfriend. This was because I felt that maybe, if I had a boyfriend, then I would be able to fit in with the rest of the girls in my grade. Needless to say, looking back, if I could tell my younger self anything it would be to not worry about rushing into relationships. I would have told her that once you learn to love yourself above anything else, then the love of your life will come along.
That’s one of the main takeaways that I want you guys to gain from this article. In order to put yourself out there in the dating scene, you must have confidence in yourself. Only then will the person you are dating be able to see you past all your disabilities and chronic illness. This being said, I think it’s very important that you be open and honest about your conditions.
For example, when I was single and was on Tinder, I made sure that when I was setting up my profile I wrote in my “about me” section that I’m a 23-year old with Cerebral palsy and chronic illness. I wanted any young man that was interested in getting to know me to know that I did have these conditions and that I’m not ashamed of it. Most of the young men that messaged me were okay about it, while some were complete jerks about it. These negative experiences, however, didn’t take away from my experience of online dating and learning about how it works.
Know What You’re Looking For
The truth of the matter is that dating with chronic illness can be difficult, but as long as you know your boundaries and what qualities you’re looking for in a person that you may potentially date, it then becomes easier.
I personally look for someone who is from a good family, who has a life plan and a stable career. I also look for someone who is excited to explore the world and try new things. Positivity is an especially important characteristic for a partner to have in my opinion because when you have a condition such as mine, I think it’s important to date someone who is going to simultaneously push you and support you.
The most important thing I have learnt about dating with disability and chronic illness is that when it comes to the dating process, it all starts with you.
Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.