Whilst lamenting my singularity, my not-so-single partner in lamentation suggested I look at some dating sites which cater specifically to people who have disabilities. I am hesitant to explore this avenue due to my desire not to shape my own identity around my disability. I imagine that some of the readers will be asking “How can you not be defined by your disability, given that it affects so much of your life?” The answer to that question is simultaneously very simple, and extremely complex.
The simple answer is that no matter what my feelings toward my disability, the impact it has on my daily life means that my actions, and other people’s observations thereof, are to some extent defined, or at the very least affected, by the presence of my disability, to deny that would be to bury my head in the sand and pretend that I am a person without a disability, which is not a healthy way to live.
The complex part arises from the related question “How much do I care about my disability?” For me the answer is “not much” in that I choose not to allow my disability to be the centrally motivating factor for anything of great value in my life, including my relationships with other people. I find greater value in relationships based on attributes that I value such as mutual respect for each others values, and in shared experiences rather than shared physical properties such as disability, race, or skin colour.
Set against this background, it’s hopefully easier to see why I couldn’t be involved with someone simply because they had or lacked a disability. At the end of the day, a woman’s disability is not going to turn me on as a body might, nor engage me like a sharp mind. These are the things I look for in a potential partner, the presence or absence of disability in that person is something to consider if present, but never a focus, therefore I couldn’t spend my life with anyone, in either a platonic or romantic capacity, who chose to value in me something that I value so little.
So, would I date a person with a disability? Yes, if she was mentally engaging and physically attractive.