Most people don't get through life without experiencing a bad date or rejection at some point, and people with SCI are no different, except they can be left wondering-was it me or the disability? Sometimes you'll never know for sure, but Tricia painfully recalled the guy she dated in college who broke things off abruptly, admitting he couldn't handle dating someone in a wheelchair.
The flip side of this was men who were interested in her because of the disability.
They'd come up with weird pick-up lines, like, 'Hey, so how are we going to get busy on that thing the wheelchair? Over the years Tricia has noticed a pattern in the kinds of people she's been in relationships with. They were either 1 "carefree types who just don't care" about whether she had a disability; 2 people who already knew someone in a wheelchair; or 3 people in the health care field. Her worst date ever was at the movies with a guy she really liked. She hadn't had "the talk" with him yet-the one about the more private details of her disability-because she didn't want to "scare him off.
I wanted him to get used to me first," she recalled.
It was very awkward and embarrassing. But you have to deal with that; it's the reality of my life, unfortunately. Like anyone else, Tricia has had "good relationships and bad relationships. Fast-forward to the present: We bought a house together last year. One of his earliest worries was, "If I'm in a wheelchair, how can she really love me?
My Personal Thoughts on Sex and Dating | Information | Spinal Cord Injury Zone!
Maturity is another factor. Tricia found that college-age men were more reluctant than older men to date someone who was "different" or perceived as having "problems," like SCI. They dated me for who I was as a person. Sometimes friends or relatives try to discourage a person from getting involved with someone who has an SCI. A man in the audience reported that the parents of a young woman he was dating after injury pressured her to break up with him.
That was the first time I had experienced prejudice.
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It took me a while to understand that it wasn't about me, but about her family's issues. On the other hand, a person with SCI can be the victim of his or her own stereotypes. This same man pushed away a loving relationship soon after his injury because he felt he was only "half a person" and unworthy of being loved. Ted said he has to regularly check his feelings of inadequacy about not being able to do the things he used to do. For example, "I hate it when she has to get out of the car and fill the gas tank. I feel like people are giving me dirty looks.
If anything were to smash our relationship it would be my insecurities. And the thing that keeps those at bay is communication. For the most part, dating after injury is still dating. You date a few people before you find the right one. The wheelchair didn't have that much to do with whether a relationship lasted or not; it was all about personalities.
My Personal Thoughts on Sex and Dating
What makes you happy? I think men can relate their erection to masculinity similar to women do their breast for femininity. These are very deep issues for a lot of people who have complications relating to them. Compounded with insecurity and sensitivity because of the spinal injury, performance anxiety can be tremendous and some people may simply choose to avoid the whole situation. I have a history of taking things slowly. Maybe too slow to have gained real momentum at times but its important for both parties to understand that the physical thing is not the only thing. I have been very fortunate to have had a few beautiful and very special girls in my life.
I was still trying to figure the whole thing out and how I fit in. Wheelchair or not, I feel strongly about being financially secure, family oriented, good at managing independently and emotionally before entering into a serious relationship.
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Its probably going to startle your parents a little to bring home a guy in a wheelchair but its got to be better than the blue hair punk rocker you dated in high school. The girl I had been seeing at the time of my injury was very special and I respect her highly. Little did she realize that so much was possible and handicapped is more a state of mind. I am still learning every day that I set my limits. People use terms to describe people that can carry a negative connotation and invoke an image of helplessness. My goal is to live the best life I can full of adventure, responsibility, creativity, love and belonging.
If after you truly know someone and you still see them as handicapped, then look to their state of mind and question if that person has simply given up. The best compliment anyone can convey to someone in my situation is to forget the chair and see the person. Especially a loving, physical and mutually satisfying relationship. I really enjoy having a physical lifestyle of travel, cycling, riding four-wheelers, sport flying and all of those breathtaking things. What makes these things breathtaking are the people we share them with.
I could care less about spending another minute in a smoke filled bar or meat market. But sometimes you have to get out and be around people. Me giving advice on dating is as hypocritical as me giving advice on flipping off rope swings. I find that it is way too easy to go to work, go home and then do it all over again.
Being social is truly a skill. Some people even seem pretty normal until we get to know them!
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