Rolling Without Limits

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Online Dating and Disability: Tales from the Front Lines
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Online Dating and Disability: Tales from the Front Lines

While cleaning off my computer I found this article that I neglected to post. I wrote it a couple years ago.

For the last couple of months, I have been dabbling with online dating. I had short stent years ago, and it worked out fairly well. I changed a few things this time around. First off, I was absolutely truthful; I know it's shocking that someone wouldn't be entirely sincere online. However, I liked the idea of getting to know someone without them knowing my secret. 

This had negative side effects that I didn't expect. I couldn't completely be myself and had to hide a lot of who I am. I'm not defined by my disability, but it’s a part of me, and I can't deny it.

It turned into this huge deal that it didn't have to be. No one cared. Even though, I didn't have problems dating off-line. Just thought it would be fun to meet someone this way. I had been working a lot and I just didn't have time to meet someone off-line.

The online guys in the past each has a different story how they found out about the "Wheelchair." Here's one such guy...

Michael said he was in the US on business he wasn't going to go home until we finally met. We had been emailing/talking for a few months, and since he lived in Germany, I couldn't say no, so I had to think quick, so I said I broke both of my legs, and that's why I couldn't walk. I would have told him before we met, but I didn't have a chance. He never asked why no casts. He was wonderful when I eventually did tell him, and we had a great laugh and dated for a few years.

I don't know what I was thinking. Well, I kind of do. Sometimes you just don't want to be that gimpy chic. You want to be you. It turns out being me is the best thing I could have done. Chalk it up to being young and dumb. It is tricky growing up with a disability. It's always there and when you are young and dating you want it to disappear for a while and online dating gave me that for a little while.

I decided when I posted my personal ad in July 2010, that I would be completely honest. I talked about all my interest trying to give them a sense of who I am, and at the end I simply said: "P.S., I use a wheelchair if you have any questions just ask."

I was pleasantly surprised at the reactions that I received. So it comes down to this: you have to be completely confident in yourself. I'm more confident today then I have ever been. Being 39 gives you a better perspective on things.

I'll keep you posted on my online dating.

 

Leave a Comment

  1. Admin
    Admin
    This is a terrific post, Tara! Thanks for taking us with you on your dating adventures! We've posted this to the Rolling Without Limits Facebook page. We can't wait for the next installment!
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  2. Wheelzup
    Wheelzup
    My buddies managed to talk me into trying the online dating thing and in their infinite wisdom they didn't want me to mention my disability or even let it show in the profile photo. While I did get plenty of conversations I wasn't comfortable not saying anything about it. Boy did I ever get chewed out by a couple who cared enough to do so, the others never answered any more messages. I went to a different site and didn't hide it at all. I was surprised at how many contacts I was able to chat with and they didn't mind my disability, instead they wanted to know more about my abilities. I ended up meeting 4 that I felt very comfortable with and while the first time I met each one was a little awkward I did continue seeing one and she could care less about my disability though she did ask how it happened. Other than that we had a normal relationship filled with love and ups and downs. If it wasn't for the fact that she had a huge job offer we'd still be together today. Granted we were both older mid 40's and as she told me one day that had we met earlier in life she would have married me in a heartbeat. I couldn't help but smile about that. So being honest about my disability and upfront about it gave then an idea that I was an honest guy not just out looking at numbers, I was and still am to old for games.
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  3. SSWEENZ
    I needed to read this! I have tried the online dating thing without much luck, I am often times very conflicted about how to approach the subject of my disability because of the negative reactions I have received throughout my life. I do realize how important it is to be upfront and that it will not matter to the right person,but it is a struggle to put it out there..
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    1. Tara Richardson
      Tara Richardson
      It's no fun pretending to be someone you aren't. I made up stories about what kind of "accident" I was in in my early 20's and even though it gave me a feeling of freedom for awhile it also burdened me. Telling the absolute truth always wins out because if they don't want you .. Oh well.. Move on to someone you can have a real relationship with. Don't take it personally. Most of all have fun!!!
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