Internet dating and players

But in the online dating world, my disability was my secret shame. I started gradually, making references to my disability throughout my profile, then adding photos in which my wheelchair is clearly visible. For instance, OKCupid asks users to list six things they can’t live without; one of mine is “the invention of the wheel.”Still, I found myself having to make sure that potential matches had actually picked up on the trail of clues I’d left.

I grew tired of feeling like I needed to deceive men into being interested because society instilled in me that my disability makes me undesirable.

It was painful to realize that the hard part isn’t over once someone learns that I’m disabled.

Going on dates with me can be a crash course on disability, and I recognize that’s not always easy for non-disabled people to process.

I write and speak endlessly about being a proud, unapologetic disabled woman.

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I shut that down by explaining that my disability is part of who I am and it’s nothing to be sorry for.

Finally, I took the leap I’d been so afraid to make, opening up about disability to strangers whom I hoped would appreciate my honesty and perhaps send me a message.

Prominently in my profile, I wrote: “I’d like to be very upfront about the fact that I use a wheelchair.

Because I was born with my disability — Larsen syndrome, a genetic joint and muscle disorder — I’d already gathered a pile of romantic rejections seemingly big enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool by the time I downloaded Tinder.

This particular rejection, however, unleashed a wave of panic within me.

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