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There are so many pecks attached to dating a wheelchair user, but a lot of people still think that it would be weird to date or even go out with someone in a wheelchair.
Would you date a person in a wheelchair?
Truth be told, a wheelchair makes no difference to me. The only thing or the only person who matters is the person sitting on the chair. Unfortunately, most people don’t see wheelchair users that way.
Once you lay your eyes on someone in a wheelchair, you see a person is confined to a wheelchair and not the person.
Just imagine for a second, you are single and just walked into a cool party. You spot a very attractive girl sitting alone upstairs, you’ve been looking at her for a while and it looks like she’s single also since no guy has placed his hand around her shoulder for close to 30 minutes.
You finish your drink, looked for the staircase, ran upstairs, and saw that the attractive girl that you’ve been staring at for close to 30 minutes was in a wheelchair. What would you do?
Truth be told, most guys would just head downstairs to grab another drink. Even if she was the most beautiful girl at the party, you would rather hit on the second-hottest girl than the one in the wheelchair.
Thankfully, we’re not here to debate what you would do. You’re here because you would like to know how to date a person in a wheelchair.
Well lucky for you, dating someone in a wheelchair is not as complicated as it sounds. You just have to be extra creative to make the relationship work.
Tips for Dating a Wheelchair User
The first thing you should know is that there’s nothing wrong with dating a guy or lady that is disabled or rely on a wheelchair for mobility.
If you’re talking to a disabled person in a wheelchair for the first time, it can be difficult for you to know what to say or how to compose yourself.
But always remember that a person in a wheelchair is not different from another person who is not in a wheelchair.
They are both human beings with similar characteristics, traits, hobbies, jobs, debts, priorities, opinions, or physical appearance. One just relies on his/her wheelchair for mobility.
If you’ve decided that you would like to take a bold step with your friend in a wheelchair and make that person your girlfriend, this is a step-by-step guide on how to date someone in a wheelchair.
1. Ignore the chair
The first and most important thing you should do if you want to date someone in a wheelchair is to ignore the chair. You should learn to ignore the chair if you want the relationship to work.
Don’t think the person would completely rely on or be a burden to you because he/she is in a wheelchair. Just in case you don’t know, the person has been doing perfectly well in terms of lifestyle before you walked into their life.
So don’t think that they would need your help to get around places or do certain things.
When you see the person instead of the wheelchair, you’d learn to love the person. You understand that he/she is far from disabled.
That he/she can do things from that chair that you won’t believe even if you saw it in a blockbuster movie. My wife Lisa still makes some moves that surprise me to this day.
People in wheelchairs are people, not destitute.
Take it from me, dating a disabled person gives you a new view of life, and one of the most amazing experiences. Learn to see the person and not the disability. Once you get to this phase, the relationship would be smoother than you think.
2. Be Polite
Learn to be polite when you’re talking to your friend in a wheelchair if you plan to talk about your relationship to the next level.
Even if the person is annoying and enjoys playing pranks on you, laugh with them because it would help them understand that their happiness means more than your ego.
Even if you are the one that enjoys playing pranks and dirty jokes, set limits to the pranks you play. Don’t go as far as rigging her wheelchair to crash on the way so you have a hard laugh.
3. Act natural
You don’t have to put on a fake face to make your friend in a wheelchair happy.
Believe it or not, most wheelchair users are usually excellent judges of character. So it’s easy for them to detect when you are lying or feel uncomfortable.
Since they get stared at every day by almost every person they encounter, they become good at reading facial expressions. So it’s best to be yourself at all times if you want to be happy with your partner.
It’s ok to have awkward moments but the most important thing is being honest with each other after that moment of discomfort. All healthy relationships need trust, even if one partner is in a wheelchair.
Talk to your partner the same way you would talk to him if he wasn’t in that chair.
They need you to understand their disability, condition, and try your very best to be there for them when they need your help.
Try to avoid bad wits and phrases like I’m running late or I’ll catch you later. They understand exactly what you meant, but it may keep ringing in their head and make them slide into a very brief depression.
It’s also important that you mean what you say. Don’t edit your word choice or repeat what you said to avoid references to running or walking. You’ll just make matters worse.
But don’t be scared, most wheelchair users do not recognize these words as offensive terms.
As in any conversation, if your friend or partner says that they would prefer you avoided certain words or phrases, it is courteous to honor the request.
4. Always ask for their permission
Never move a person’s wheelchair without permission unless you are his/her partner or sibling. It is synonymous with stepping on your date’s toe every time you stand up.
They may have had it positioned the chair to move in a particular direction, and the extra nudge you gave when you touched the chair just ruined the whole setup.
It’s hard for a wheelchair user to ask for help but try on asking before you help them.
It’s time, they would stop asking, and it will be your job to do that.
If you feel a wheelchair user could use your help, ask first, and don’t be offended if they turn you down. The person is probably just very independent.
It’s not such a big deal to ask questions like you can ask, “Would you like me to get the door for you?” or “Would you like me to help you up the ramp?”. Offer your help; don’t assume a person needs your help because he/she is in a wheelchair.
Don’t push him/her chair without asking or try to help them get on a platform or car without asking. It’s kind of rude.
You can throw the person off balance and end up sending him/her to the hospital.
Try to understand that the person on that chair is an expert in what he/she does and has been doing that for eons.
5. Be considerate
It’s one thing to care about a person and another to show that person you care about him or her.
Most people in wheelchairs have trained their minds to be a fortified castle. By doing so, they handle notice anything that will bother most people.
I mean, you can insult a person in a wheelchair every morning when you walk up and he would just smile back at you. You can stare at them all day at the mall and they would hardly notice you.
But when you show them love beyond what they expect, they will remember you for life.
The thing is that, since they’ve made their heart a fortified castle, they hardly notice most things that you would do. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it, and eventually, they will start seeing it as a big deal.
You can start with small stuff like helping him set up his ramp when he comes to work in the morning or guying him your own parking space if it seems convenient for him.
Believe me, small stuff like this matters a lot, especially if the relationship is in its early phase.
6. Avoid sensitive comment about their condition
Most wheelchair users can handle a fair amount of teasing and abuse. No matter how funny your jokes sound, it can irritate you if you directed them to a person in a wheelchair or his condition.
These remarks only draw attention to the wheelchair and his condition, not the person sitting on it. Try not to make dirty jokes about your partner’s condition or wheelchair if you want the union to last.
7. Enjoy the relationship
Like I said earlier, there are so many benefits attached to dating a person in a wheelchair and it’s even better if you acknowledge these perks.
Dating wheelchair users comes with a lot of unexpected benefits like getting preferential treatment in airports, bus stops, train stations, concerts, movies, live theatres, amusement parks, and of course car parks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should date someone in a wheelchair to get front row seats in concerts, I’m saying that the universe rewards you for taking this bold step.
So there you have it, these are my top 7 tips for every smart guy and gal out there, making that leap of faith to date someone in a wheelchair.
If you can remember and follow these 7 easy tips, your life would be a lot easier and the bond between you two will only get stronger.