Whether we’re going on a first date, sleeping together for the first time, proposing, getting married or having children, we can often feel a distinct amount of pressure when it comes to taking the next big steps in our relationships. And the amount of pressure is definitely no less for disabled people!
Whether you’ve got to plan ahead for an accessible date, discuss painless sexual positions with your partner, or think about the practicalities of becoming a disabled parent, there’s undoubtedly plenty to consider! Here are our top tips for taking those next steps – good luck, and enjoy!
Tip 1: Ensure you are comfortable
This first tip might sound a little obvious, but peer pressure and societal pressure play a big part in the direction that many of us take our relationships in, and the speed in which we develop them. Whatever you do, don’t take a leap into commitment because that’s what all your friends are doing, because you’re at the age where you ‘should’ be doing these things, or because a family member has told you to hold on to the non-disabled ‘saint’ your partner is often viewed as. There is no right or wrong way to move through a relationship, and certainly no right or wrong time to do it. As long as you feel utterly comfortable and confident in your decisions, you will know that you are doing the right thing for you.
Tip 2: Research your Support Network
If you still live in the same town as your supportive parents and long-term friends, that’s brilliant; you might have all the support network you need. But, for a lot of disabled people wanting to live independently or have children, a bit of extra support has got to be found, especially if you live somewhere different to where you grew up. If you think you might require personal care when living alone, or the help of a nanny or child minder when you take the next step of having children, make sure you do your research and are happy with the choices you find. There is no shame at all in asking for help, especially when that help is going to ensure your own safety and care!
Tip 3: Don’t get so caught up in planning that you don’t enjoy the ride.
As disabled people, most of us are real planners. Let’s face it, we’ve had to be from a young age, and everything from driving to going on holiday and getting work has taken extended time and effort. When it comes to making big decisions in your relationship, though, make sure that you save some time to enjoy yourself, too! Planning an accessible wedding or an amazingly romantic weekend away is great, but is it really any fun if you spend all your time worrying rather than marvelling in the next step that you and your partner have taken together? Remember, all the best journeys are ones that you can look back on with love for every single step.