No, my significant other isn’t in a wheelchair
Most people assume that wheelchair users and otherwise disabled people exclusively date other disabled people. And while this assumption can be true for some of the disabled community there is no “one size fits all” concept, much like typical relationships. Assuming that people with a disability only date other people with a disability is the same as if I were to assume an average able-bodied tall person only dated other tall people. We all have our own preferences just as a typical person does.
For example, I am a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy. My boyfriend has a slight, barely noticeable mental disability but is otherwise able bodied.
2. There’s not really any privacy
Speaking largely from experience about this; there is very little privacy in relationships such as mine. Now some may ask why this is, and the answer is simple: I need help. When it boils down to it, I can’t take care of myself by myself. What that means for my romantic relationship is that my boyfriend must be comfortable with the omnipresent “other person” when we’re out in public because I like dry pants and being able to go to and from places. I don’t drive obviously and yes even need help using the bathroom.
In addition to in public there isn’t much privacy in our home lives either. My boyfriend and I both live in homes run by a private organization that serves the disabled. So basically, there are staff everywhere 24-7 . Add to this the fact he lives an hour away so more often than not I see him at events hosted by one of the houses in the agency, usually mine. So again staff everywhere.
3. Technology is a Godsend
Being that my boyfriend live so far from me things like FaceTime or phone calls suffice as our means of communication. We don’t often text as he has difficulty reading. It is with the help of technology that my boyfriend and I kept in touch in the early stages of our relationship often utilizing the Facebook messenger video chat feature because he wasn’t always #TeamIphone.
Speaking of Iphones thanks to the ability to FaceTime my boyfriend has attended albeit briefly things like family Christmas and “met” the majority of my siblings. Although things like phones and videochat are no substitute for physically being in the others presence, they help.
4. Sex can happen
Although in my case it has yet to happen sex can happen in relationships involving those with disability. Much like who we date, if we decide to date at all our intimate relationships are much the same. It all varies on preference and ability. Rest assured though that contrary to popular belief not all disabled people are asexual. Some might be but not all.
5. We want the same things average people want
People are people whether we are disabled, able-bodied, white, black, blue or purple. So that being said disabled individuals want the same things as our able-bodied counterparts.; to be happy with those we love.