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Rejection dating and disclosing disability - a black and white image with a hand hiding a persons face indicating STOP!

Rejection, dating and disclosing disability

By | Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

Love Lounge Question

Rejection, dating and disclosing disability.

Hello,

I have Cerebral Palsy and I’m 30 years old. I’ve been online dating on and off for the last 10 years after I broke up with my first girlfriend. I haven’t ever had any success. I have met a few people on dating sites but ultimately I feel I’ve been used for sex as as after we get it on, there’s no more contact.

After a couple of years break from dating site I decided to give it another go.

I’m happy with the direction that my life is going, I’m learning to drive, I’m at college and I’m hoping to have a job in the near future.

To begin with I pretty much had a repeat experience in that I would message people, get a reply and start getting to know them. But I felt like I was lying as I hadn’t disclosed my disability in my profile. I always knew at some point I’d have to tell them how I am.
Now I am close to giving up. I’ve decided to avoid disappointment to be up front and honest,  changing my dating profile to reveal my disability, the way I want it to be. Nobody is interested. I will message someone, they’ll check my profile and not respond. Or I’ll talk to someone as before, they’ll check my profile and I’m ghosted.

I feel worthless.  Like no matter how much I have in common with someone they will never see me as someone to settle down with because of my disability.

I believe I’m a good person but that seems to matter very little. Any advice would be much appreciated. I need the help.

Our Answer

Reading your letter really resonated with me and, I’m sure, many other disabled people that have tried to use dating apps.
The familiar quandary of whether you are upfront on the profile about your disability, knowing that those who message you are obviously okay with it. Or do you hide it and let someone get to know your personality and then tell them, hoping they’ve liked you enough to give it a go?  It’s hugely risky and can be so damaging for ones self-esteem. No one can know the correct way, it’s a gamble – but do what feels best for you in order to protect yourself emotionally.

It sounds like it’s difficult for you to look at these dating scenarios objectively, without putting the emphasis on your disability being the issue.

Hearing you say that many times it feels you have been used for sex, I would say this is commonplace, regardless of ones abilities.  It might not be what you wanted but the reason for it doesn’t have to be because you’re disabled. It’s about re-framing your perception so that if such events occur, they don’t ruin your self esteem.
It sounds like you’re in a really good place in your life at the moment – hence you wanting to date again – with your driving and college. So perhaps when you’re left feeling ‘worthless’, remember to focus on what you have achieved.

Don’t let the negative feelings of dating suppress your achievements.  When you’re oozing confidence about yourself, this will spill out into the way you relate with others. Which leads me to another point…

It might be nice for your profile to show a fun side of your personality. Perhaps a funny comment regarding your disability, should you choose to disclose it.  Maybe be jokey or be flirty with it – “you never know until you try” type thing. If you sound comfortable and accepting of yourself, then hopefully the receiver will feel more at ease too.
Unfortunately, people are anxious about dating people with disabilities- it’s unknown territory for many.  I wonder whether choosing a photo which shows your disability may help to allow someone to see what your situation is. The imagination can lead people to think the wrong thing!

Again, only do what you feel comfortable doing.

If you give people a way out/excuse by saying ‘I know it will put people off’ then it may end up being a self fulfilling prophecy. Don’t give them the option to think that as they then might think they should be staying clear!
Again, it’s a true statement that if they’re not willing to accept you then they’re not right for you – and I understand it’s coming from a place of hurt and self protection.  I wonder whether you need to mention it at all, as the right people will come through whether you iterate this point or not.
You’re a good looking young man and obviously have focus, determination and goals to achieve.  I wish you luck with the dating and completely understand how disheartening it can be.  Remember your value.
** Pulling a positive from this Covid-19 situation – you won’t be going on dates anytime soon, so it gives you plenty of time to write and build up some good relationships with people, allowing them to get to know the real you.
Hope this helps, and sending all best wishes
Zoe
Follow us on Instagram @UndressingDisability and on twitter @ETUKUndressing. Learn more about sex and disability by purchasing our ‘Undressing Disability’ ebook priced at £5.99 All proceeds go to support our charity.
Mum, I'm an adult! - a young man stands outside a block of high rise flats. He is wearing a striped tshirt and navy jacket. His arm is across his face in frustration

Mum, I’m an adult! Sex and Disability

By | Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

Mum I’m and adult!

The Question

Dear Love Lounge,
My Mum has very strong views and believes that sex is something that can only happen within marriage. I’m 25 and think about sex a lot. Like 99% of the time. I can’t access porn as Mum has blocked those channels on our internet. I can’t have my girlfriend stay over because of her house rules, and I can’t afford to move out. Mum disapproves of me staying at my girlfriends house, her parents are cool with it as long as I’m not there all the time. Fair enough, it’s not a big house.
I had an accident when I was 12 which meant for a few years I relied heavily on both my parents whilst I got my health and mobility back.  The cause of the majority of our shouting matches is down to Mum treating me like a child. I still have some issues with movement on my right side but it doesn’t stop me having a love life, a job or living my life. When I say ‘Mum, I’m an adult!’ she says she ‘only wants whats best for me’ but I feel suffocated, and a mixture of frustration and guilt. My parents separated last year and don’t get along so my father prefers to stay out of it.  Can you help? It’s really getting me down.

Our Answer

Hi there, and thanks so much for writing in to us at the Love Lounge.
This is a really tough situation to be in, and a question we get asked a lot.
The key? Communication, communication, communication.
Whilst it’s so tempting to shout ‘Mum, I’m an adult!’, it sounds like you’re going to have to sit her down and explain how you feel a little.  Ask her if she’d feel the same if you hadn’t had your accident and weren’t disabled.

Is she worried that you’re vulnerable or could hurt yourself in any way?

If this is the case and she is treating you like a child through worry – calmly explain all the differences between when you were 12 and now. She might just need to see and understand from your point of view just how much you’ve changed and become a man.

Come to a compromise

Say that you are old enough to live your life, but you will respect her wishes whilst you are in her house. But this will mean that she will also need to compromise and relax when you stay over at your girlfriend’s place. And perhaps even support you to spend non-sexual time with your girlfriend – taking her on dates or having a baking afternoon in your mum’s kitchen, for example.
It might be that once your mum gets to know your girlfriend a little more instead of panicking about what you’re both doing behind closed doors, she’ll relax her rules a little. It might also be time to have an honest chat with your dad and ask for his support. Maybe you and your girlfriend could spend a bit of time at his place?
We really hope this helps – and good luck with starting a moving home piggy bank! 🙂
Em x
Have you got a question for our Love Lounge sexperts? Write in and we’ll reply privately to your question and then make it anonymous and share here on the website to help others in your situation.
Follow us on Instagram @UndressingDisability and on twitter @ETUKUndressing. Learn more about sex and disability by purchasing our ‘Undressing Disability’ ebook priced at £5.99 All proceeds go to support our charity.
Ted Shirres smiling

Disability And Intimacy – a musical tale.

By | Disability, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

Ted joins the Love Lounge team.

Ted recently joined our Love Lounge team and will be answering your questions in his own unique way. With his fair share of relationship ups and downs he’s got plenty of experience of dating as a disabled person. Ted promises to be straight talking and considerate in helping to solve your dating, relationship, and disability and intimacy dilemmas. The following article is about disability and intimacy.

A Musical Tale

I thought I’d start with an analogy for disability and intimacy that I’m pretty sure only I could come up with. You see I’m a rather obsessive fan of the musician Neil Young, to the point my girlfriend refers to him as my boyfriend.  The few willing to indulge me in my musical obsession know there’s one ‘act’ I prefer: Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Yes, that’s right, they are to be referred to as one band. Neil and the three others will refer to themselves as ‘in the band Neil Young & Crazy Horse’. Two have become one – to quote a song I obviously have no time for.

Pure Magic

So I bet you guess I think they’re all wonderful musicians? Well, erm no. Neil just plays guitar in his very unique yet messy style, and the three others are very primitive to say the least. The bass-player seldom manages more than the route note of the chord whilst the drummer has a somewhat restricted range of tempos. And the rhythm guitarist appears to leave the main rhythm to Neil and then copy him when he’s off on a solo. That’s why Bob Dylan once asked Neil why he plays with those “f***in’ idiots”. Having said all that, when Neil gets with these guys it is pure magic. Something just clicks. I always love his guitar playing but it reaches a special grade of awesomeness when he’s with these guys.

Chemistry Counts

And frankly, that is what disability and intimacy is all about. Yeah technique and skill are great things, but when there’s a click and tonnes of chemistry these things seem superfluous. As a disabled person seeking to be intimate, or indeed a non-disabled person seeking to be intimate with a disabled person, you may occasionally ponder how the restricted movement won’t restrict the quality of the sex. However, as I remember every time I listen to my favourite group, if the chemistry is perfect between the two, the end-product will be too!

Can we help?

Got a question for Ted or our Love Lounge non expert sexperts? Get in touch.

Discover more about sex and disability with our free resources or buy our Undressing Disability e-book priced at £5.99. All proceeds go to our charity.

Join us on Instagram and twitter #UndressingDisability #LoveLoungeUK.

a couple laying on the bed cuddling

Love Lounge Top Tips – Sex that’s out of sync

By | Disability, Sex & disability, The Love Lounge

Positioning, pain and having those oh-so-intimate conversations in the bedroom – topics that we regularly get asked questions on at the Love Lounge. Seductive Hollywood movies and porn films are full of sleek, perfectly angled bodies having sleek, perfectly angled sex. But what happens when what really goes on between the sheets isn’t quite as in sync as we’d planned?

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