Dating, as most of us know, is bloody difficult. It’s even more difficult during a pandemic, throw in dating with a disability and life is harder than normal.
I have a chronic illness and I’ve talked previously about travelling with Fibromyalgia, and as none of us are doing much travelling at the moment my thoughts have gone to dating. After my terrible relationship ended around a year ago, I’ve reached the point I am considering dating again, but the prospect of introducing someone brand new to a health condition that can affect me in varying different ways is a little bit scary. Dating with Fibromyalgia means that sometimes I can’t do what I’ve planned because I’m having a bad flare at the last minute, sometimes I can’t hold much of a conversation because my brain fog means I’ve forgotten the word for kettle (yep, that happened!) and sometimes I’m really cold when everyone else is really warm, Not a lot of fun when you’re trying to impress someone new.
There are sites out there aimed at introducing you to someone else who is disabled, which solves the understanding problem. If you’re deaf and you’d rather date another deaf person you can use a free deaf dating site, or somewhere like https://www.singledisabled.com will help you to meet people with a broader range of disabilities. If you have Fibromyalgia or something similar, there are a few things I do when I’m speaking to someone new to try and make things easier on myself.
Explain about your condition before you meet up
This isn’t for everyone, and you shouldn’t NEED to do this, but it can help. If you’re getting on with someone, and you’re excited about spending time with them, in my opinion its good to make sure they’re understanding and supportive about a condition that affects your life BEFORE you fall for them. With my ex, he knew about my Fibromyalgia before we got together and I presumed that meant he was supportive. He wasn’t, my needs came second to his always, and I’ve lost count of the times I cried in the car because I had to go out and get us food, he wouldn’t get out of bed and I was in so much pain I could’ve done with a day in bed myself. Leave quickly if you find yourself in this situation, it doesn’t get any better.
Plan something you know you will be able to manage
First dates don’t need to be anything fancy and whilst it’s a good idea to do something active so you’ve got something to talk about, there’s nothing wrong with meeting up for a coffee, so you know you will just be sat at a table, and suggesting a location you know you can park near.
Ask a lot of questions
If you’re having a brain fog moment, or your energy levels are low, don’t feel the need to be the one talking all the time. I am so bad for this, especially when I’m nervous, but it’s good to show interest in someone, ask open questions about them, and really listen to the answers. If they tell you they’ve travelled to somewhere you want to go, for example, ask them more about it-what did they do there, what would they recommend…people feel good about someone who shows an interest in them and their life.
Do you have any tips on dating with a disability?