Seriously. We all do it at some point in our lives… Or for the most part we all do. Some cultures have prearranged marriages, but most of the world goes on dates. For those who use a wheelchair, this is no different.
In my personal experience I have had wonderful dates that turned into relationships that became lessons. My first girlfriend was when I was about ten. She dumped me for my best friend at the time because I was too young for her. The next few girlfriends came years later and were athletes, hockey and rugby. These relationships ended on account of my own stupidity. The next few were high school relationships. By this I mean ones I specifically only had in school. They didn’t exist outside. They laste a few weeks, but lessons again. Finally college came and two more girlfriends, both new experiences and both very different in their own way.
All of them had something in common… They all didn’t allow society’s view of me to stop them from dating me. You see, all too often people will stop and ask themselves “Will his condition stop us from leading a productive relationship?”, that or they will just “Not date guys in wheelchairs.” As one girl so bluntly put it. Apparently all guys in wheelchairs are still the same, who knew… Sure, I get that I was socially awkward for a while.. Sort of still am… But my quirks are what make me, me. I was a loner for years until I came out of my shell and grew out of the small group of friends I held on to like a life raft for years. It was refreshing.
It was nice to make new friends, one in particular seemed to share my quirkiness. We would eventually find common ground… Or at least we would sing “Hotel California” for hours on end. It’s really nice to know that these kinds of people exist, you see.. This friend and I recently reconnected and picked up like no time had passed, our connection strong as ever, maybe even stronger now.
As I think about the social stigma that exists still, I wonder just how many people say no to me and how many say no to my chair. I recently had a friend tell me that I am too passionate and that I put too much emotion in some things… But isn’t that what life is about? Throwing caution to the wind and giving it your all!
Well I might not have this dating thing down yet but I do know one thing… If ever someone wants to know how much my physical differences will affect a relationship, all they have to know is it will take me a little longer to get up that flight of stairs… But I’ll do it if it means we can see the stars better.