With eased regulations and vaccinations, we are finally emerging from our pandemic bubbles. This could be a perfect opportunity for you to re-join the dating world – if it was put on hold. While many dream of meeting their perfect match in a more romantic way, for example bumping into them at your favourite bookstore or sitting next to them on a bus, it is much more likely that you will have to put in some effort.
Fortunately, dating sites and apps have made it much more convenient to meet people of all walks of life. For people with disabilities, this can lead to a dilemma. Do you stick to disability dating sites? How do you disclose your disability? How do you navigate the first meeting? There is no right answer, but there are a few things to consider.
There are several dating sites that are specifically targeted towards people with disabilities. Many or most of the people who make use of these sites have a disability. As a result it might not be necessary for you to speak about your disability in detail or at all as it is already assumed when you make use of the site. In addition, you are likely to meet people who understand and can relate to your experiences and challenges as a person with a disability.
However, as it is a disability specific site, it does mean that you excluded people without disabilities from your dating pool – something that could be a pro or con.
Non-specific dating sites
Other dating sites or apps are also available to people with disabilities. There is no active exclusion on these sites, although there might be accessibility challenges. Tinder, for example, is not accessible to people who are blind.
While these sites offer a wider range of people from all walks of life to engage with, they present the challenge of disclosing your disability. It is up to each individual to decide how much and how quickly they want to talk about their disability, but it is something that will inevitably have to be discussed if you are serious about the person and want to meet in person.
There are several ways to broach the subject of your disability. If you feel bold and confident, perhaps you can include a photo that depicts your disability (for example, an image that shows your chair). You can include it in your bio, or mention it when you first start with a conversation.
Alternatively, you can wait until you’ve decided whether you enjoy speaking to someone or perhaps before you meet. Be sure to consider how long you wait carefully. Waiting months to disclose your disability might make the other person feel deceived or misled. However, it is important that you feel comfortable to discuss it before mentioning you have a disability as there are sure to be some follow-up questions.
Also be prepared for some strange reactions. Someone might feel uncomfortable due to a lack of exposure to people with disabilities. Or they might just be rude. In the end, you want someone to love you and everything that you bring to the relationship. Don’t be discouraged by those who are not accepting of your situation.