Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Men Think About Your Disability

Hi Andrew,

I don't think I'm your target audience but found myself agreeing with many of your posts (mercifully they are short, to the point and well written).

When I am out and about I get a fair amount of attention from men and women. People smile often, say hello, compliment me on my hair, generally really nice to me. Well the women do. I even have complete strangers pouring their heart out to me. I notice men looking at me and once in awhile they smile. Without appearing 'full of myself' I know I have a nice, friendly, open face and personality. I do get very nervous if I'm aware a man might be interested in me. Consequently, all that easy breezy confidence I usually have disappears.

The thing is, I have weakness in my legs and I use a walker. I think this is an impediment (along with my age, although most people think I'm much younger than I am). I have had men approach me even though it's clear I need an aid. Mostly they do not. Most people really do notice my face first and then their eyes wonder down to notice my walker; they look back up then away.  My guess is that a lot of people are intrigued by the dissonance: a young looking, pretty woman using an "old lady" walker.

I appear very normal other than using a walker. I'm only interested in meeting a guy to date seriously. By the way, I'm 46.

I know my physical disability slashes my chances with most men but do you have any suggestions about how I may increase them?

Kind regards,
Nancy
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Nancy,

If I imagine myself in a public place where I was open to meeting women, and I saw an attractive woman with a walker, my reaction would be something like this:
"Woah, she is good looking. Is that a walker? That's kind of strange... but also interesting. It might be a little awkward trying to 'talk around' it [i.e. avoid bringing it up in conversation, or making sure to do so tactfully] but I still want to meet her. I wonder if it affects her ability to have sex? Would it be weird dating a girl like that? Would the walker be in the way all the time? I bet she is a good and interesting person." 
Then a series of images would flash through my mind about how the walker might play into a relationship with her. I might imagine helping her get seated at dinner, getting into and out of the car, etc.

This is not just a hypothetical situation for me. I had a similar experience one time, fairly recently, when I came across a cute girl's profile on a dating website. When I clicked-down into her photo album, I saw that she had deformed legs and a wheelchair. I remember thinking essentially the same things I've paraphrased above.

You can be 100 % sure that the sex question will go through any guy's mind if he is otherwise interested in you - whether it is for a temporary or long term relationship. In fact, I think it is safe to say that for any guy, this will be his biggest question, even if it seems obvious to you that there wouldn't be any issue. While it would be pretty awkward to convey your ability to have sex in a spoken conversation, you might consider internet dating, where you could literally add a note about it to your profile - maybe just a sentence at the bottom saying something like "By the way, even though I have a walker, I just want to put it out there that I am still capable of normal sexual relationship." This might seem a little awkward to post online, but it would be well received by the men, and it would remove an impediment - again, probably the largest - from their willingness to contact you.

If you date a guy and you get to a point where you would be comfortable having sex, I suggest letting him know indirectly that you are capable of it. You can do this by taking a natural opportunity in conversation to point out that your disability "doesn't prevent anything except your ability to walk." No need to wink, raise an eyebrow or even say it in a suggestive tone. Even if he doesn't understand that you are trying to convey your ability to have sex (in fact, it would be better that he didn't), that comment will be in the back of his mind when he thinks about having sex with you later, and it will have helped to form his understanding of the limited effect of your disability. He will therefore be more comfortable making a sexual advance. If he makes an advance before you are comfortable having sex, I suggest pointing out the reason why you aren't ready (maybe it's just too soon, or you are waiting for marriage, etc.), so that he knows that it isn't because of your disability. I do not suggest making an advance yourself.

The second biggest consideration will be the overall effect of the walker on day-to-day activities. I don't see this being a huge problem to an open-minded guy, but some men would prefer not to have to deal with it at all. The latter group of guys are probably not the kind you are interested in anyway, and I suggest just being happy that they won't waste your time. However, the ignorant and open-minded guys are the extremes on a scale. Different guys will consider your disability a "big deal" to different degrees, and it will play into each's decision accordingly. So with all guys, the best thing to do will be to help them become familiar with its minimal effect on your life as soon as possible. You can do this mostly by showing him how casual you are about it: if you go on a date, be nonchalant about your walker in any situations it creates. Mention the walker in passing without focusing too much on it, or casually telling a story in which it played a role, but moving on naturally in the conversation afterwards. Your casual references will speak volumes about the normal-ness of the walker in your life.

Humor will be a very big tool for you in this regard. In fact, I think it can be your biggest ally if it isn't too forced. For example, I envision you talking with a girlfriend and a guy you like, and you telling a story that happens to involve a funny situation that was caused by your walker. For a split second after the punch line, the guy is mildly uncomfortable (because he doesn't know how he "should" respond), but that awkwardness instantly melts away when he sees you and your friend talking casually and laughing about the whole thing. Then you return to normal conversation, just like after telling any funny story - except that he now realizes a bit better how natural it is for you, and how natural it would be for him if he were to date you. If you can show him that you can laugh about your walker and disability, he will be much more comfortable with the idea of dating you.

The converse is also true: nothing will turn off men more than to get the impression that your disability is a big deal, and is awkward, and is an impediment to a normal relationship. The girl I mentioned earlier with the wheelchair on the dating website made one huge mistake: she put a disclaimer at the bottom of her profile saying something like "and if you send me a message asking about my chair I will find where you live and beat you up." Obviously her threat was a joke (she was tiny), but it showed that she was uncomfortable with any attention drawn to the fact that she was different. She thought her wheelchair was a much bigger deal than it really was, and that was a red flag to me and other men that we would constantly have to tip-toe around the subject. Ugh. I would have been so much more attracted if she'd had written "Oh, and if you think my wheelchair holds me down, just wait 'til I kick your ass on the basketball court! ;)"

The general idea, I think, is that your walker isn't a big deal and you just need to show potential boyfriends this. I can tell from your e-mail that you are very comfortable with its effect on your life. But realize that for the guy, it is a new thing with a lot of associated uncertainty. The sooner you can remove that uncertainty and replace it with normal-ness and humor, the more he will be able to envision himself living with it and you.

It is worth mentioning that your walker is certainly acting at least partially as a filter. If a man approaches you, you know he is interested in something more than sex. Therefore I think you can ignore any advice about gauging his interest or making him wait. This doesn't mean you should take the initiative yourself (asking him out or for his number, for example), because this will come across as needy; but it does mean that you can be more open to his advances than other girls. (If you aren't getting a lot of attention from men at the moment, this openness will probably come naturally, since you will be excited about the prospect of finding a guy.)

So maybe I can summarize by saying I suggest the following:

  • If possible, convey to him that you are capable of sexual relationship
  • Demonstrate immediately that your disability is not a big deal, and that you are comfortable with it
  • Recognize that a man approaching you has already been "filtered" so there is far less need to test him. Be open but not needy.

Oh, and about being nervous when a guy gives you attention: you can be sure that the guy is nervous about giving you attention, and most likely does not notice your nervousness - unless you show some painfully visible sign of it (shaking for example). The first time I hit on a girl at the grocery store I was nervous as hell. I'd passed her in the aisles a couple times and she'd made eye contact back at me, so I suspected she might be interested, but I was still nervous. I forced myself to approach her and she was clearly nervous too (fidgeting, awkward, etc.). All this did was to calm my own nerves, which in turn calmed hers, and we had a nice conversation.

I hope some of this helps. Good luck and thanks for the kind words about the blog.

Andrew
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Hello Andrew,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and practical advice. It is very helpful. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

You have helped me realize that I had made the walker more of an issue than needed. I suppose I lacked faith that any man would look past my disability. I'm glad you pointed out that I need not play hard to get with a man who has shown interest. It is a reminder that we really need to assess our unique positions when reading material on dating.

My confidence has gone up a notch. Now, all I need to do is get out there.

You really ought to write a book if you haven't already.

Once again; thank you.

Kind regards,

Nancy
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Andrew,

I was thinking if and when the time comes, do I need to be completely honest about how far my disability has affected my life? For instance, I am in continual pain but I have learnt how to manage it. Or do you think it would be better if I don't make an issue of it?

Nancy
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Nancy,

I would focus more on making sure he knows that you are used to it than trying to point out how bad it is. Just telling him how much it hurts isn't the whole story, because, as you say, you have learned how to manage it.

Recently my coworker and his wife bought a new house. They got a great deal on it, but realized only after they moved in that it was under the flight path of a local airport.

When they first moved in, they started hearing the planes, and were worried that they'd made a huge mistake. But after a couple weeks they literally couldn't even tell you when an airplane had passed because they were so used to it. If the real estate agent had shown them the home during heavier airplane traffic, or called their attention to it, they'd probably have immediately walked away, not realizing how minor a disturbance it would actually be. They would have missed out on a great deal.

Likewise, if it comes up in conversation for some reason, I would be honest and admit that yes, it hurts - sometimes a lot - but emphasize that you know how to manage it and it isn't a big deal because of that. I wouldn't even go into detail about how you manage it, because that calls more attention to it than it warrants. The point is that you do manage it, and it isn't a huge thing. End of story.

Hope that helps,

Andrew


Related Posts
1. You Are Responsible for Your Own Romantic Happiness
2. Self-Improvement Takes Time
3. Why You Don't Get Approached by Men

50 comments:

  1. I knew a cute girl with a missing leg.

    Mental energy devoted to missing leg: 5%

    Mental energy devoted to fully intact ass : 75%

    Mental energy devoted to wondering how she had such a nice ass with a missing leg: 20%

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    1. Here's a great WSJ article. Tho it describes the talents of dyslexics, I think the general stigma people attach to it. Same with physical disabilities, I don't think it will change.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324020504578396421382825196.html

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    2. I'm intereses in meeting you , do you have a Facebook account or an email

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  2. I don't think being approached when the woman is disabled/ill/bad looking, guarantees that the men approaching only get attracted by the personality rather than the sex.

    When I look uglier/ill, I get approached by men just the same, only by men from lower leagues. They approach me not because I don't look attractive so they like my personality, at least not all of them are. They do it because despite I am not looking my best, I am still good enough for them physically speaking.

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    1. Men who are like the ones you described generally do not want to put in much effort - they reckon that if you are not up to scrach, they will still do you if they don't have to put in energy or effort. Which means that if you have a physical disability, they will hesitate because they are not sure how much effort they have to put in to get the sex they want. Add to that the fact that should you cry "rape" they will probably be viewed as predatory, seeing that they "made use" of you in a vulnerable state.

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    2. Yeah well simply because you have a disability, doesn't mean you can assume that anyone who approaches you has the right intentions. Okay stating the obvious. But I saw a documentary about disabled dating and a lady on it was talking about how she comes across men who are attracted by the novelty or have some kind of wheelchair fetish. Disabled women have to filter through that as well.

      There may be some people who have a hero complex and are attracted to people they might get some kick out of helping. I'd like to think that if I was physically disabled, I'd want people to see me and not the disability. I imagine if someone made a thing out of a person's disability even out of perceived good intentions, it still wouldn't be helpful, real, or appreciative of the person they are.

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  3. I also do not believe in online dating well. Well I do hear successful matches from online dating, but the chances of people from online lying is higher. They may either do minor embellishment of their images or tell entirely distorted versions of themselves.

    Though I do hear people meeting from online dating even ending up marrying each other. So it may work for some. But I am not smart enough at handling potential frauds that may occur at online dating so I don't like it at least.

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    1. There are research articles and reports into online dating and it has been established that it is a good way to meet a wide range of people. However, because of the relative "anonymity" of internet daters, the lower need for personal investment by these people and the higher level of impersonality in having to deal with greater numbers, online prospects tend not to be as serious as other prospects you come into physical contact with on a regular basis. With online dates, you can dip you toes in because consequences of a "changing your mind" are less. YOu can simply not respond any more to their emails or cut contact easily. With others, the consequences of "changing your mind" are greater - particularly with work colleagues or children of the boss - so if you are going to dip your toes in, you had better be sure .

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    2. Yeah I totally get it. Whilst I'm online, I really find it a bit scary to use because of how seriously other people take it. A lot of people get butterflies in their head and you can feel through the messages they send. This puts me off because I like to take it slow and treat dates as a 'getting to know you' situation. I am serious about finding someone to date; I just dislike the contrived nature of online dating.

      There are some people online for the attention or simply for online conversation. I don't get angry about that because I know people use online dating for different reasons. However I want to develop an effective strategy for myself and know when is the right time to cut off a conversation and decide it's not going anywhere. The way I see it - meet as soon as possible because then you can't built it up in your head so much and you can soon determine whether there is chemistry.

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  4. I think as Andrew well stated to not focus on your disability.

    I knew a beautiful girl with a massive dark birth mark on her face who acted always nonchalant about it. The huge birthmark immediately turned off a lot of men. But here's the flip-side, it served as a filter. Only those with genuine interest were not deterred from it.

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  5. Andrew, can you give any advice on dating a man with a child and on a man who gave up his child in an open adoption so still sends presents, receives pictures, and hopes the child makes contact with him. My thinking is that a woman can't come first in a man's life if he has his child he cares for and their children won't either.

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    1. Unfortunately, when you date a man with a child/children, irrespective of the circumstances (part custody, full custody, open adoption etc), the child WILL ALWAYS HAVE TO COME FIRST. Women make no bones about this and always insist that the men they date accept this, and accept them as a package. So why should women expect men to have a different attitude. Double standards ?

      Children that are dependent have greater needs and need their parents much more than you need their father as a partner.

      Having said this, when his children come of age then they are no longer his moral and legal responsibility and he can devote all his attentions to you.

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    2. I agree with the above. It's why as a 23 year old, I can absolutely say that I wouldn't date a man with children, not because I'm not open-minded but because I just know I couldn't take that on. I'm sure if I was divorced with children of my own, I'd have a different perspective.

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    3. If you were divorced with children, Lucy, you'd be bemoaning all the single men who won't date you because you have a kid.

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    4. No I wouldn't. I'm not an entitlement queen. I present myself as best I can, then I either accept what I can get, move somewhere else, join new socials or I stay single. If a man is not into me, I try not to persuade him out of it (yes there were a few cringe-worthy moments but I generally know better than that).

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    5. My ideas on kids in relationships may be weird. But this is how I think about it:

      Ideally I hope if I ever want kids at all(well maybe I wouldn't even want kids), but I mean if I do plan on having some, then ideally I hope they can grow up in a traditional family. Which means I am even disgusted by the idea of having to be a single mother -- which would even make it a non issue regarding going out to find men to date with kids -- because only single mothers need to do it. I want the kids to have stable parents and a nice home. Just like my parents do. They never divorced so I don't need to be a single parent child. I think nowadays nurturing is way more important than genetics regarding how healthy and well the kids can grow into. Studies show that high IQ's are more determined by development after birth than mere genetis. Otherwise the IQ's of this generation would not have been higher than the previous ones. The different generations have similar gene pools, but the current one has better nutritions, educations etc. for people, that is why people are getting smarter. Now there is a correlation between being in upper class and being in traditional families without single parenting. I suspect the correlation is due to the fact that traditional homes raise more competitive kids who get to the upper class more easily. And mating strategies can inherit. Then the kids in upper class would remain more traditional, so on and so on. While single parenting often correlates with kids growing in poverty. And then the less advantaged kids would generally be less competitive and then inherit the mating strategy of single parenting to later generations.... Just my speculations. But it shows some reasons why I prefer traditional homes and parenting which would exclude dating with kids out of considerations.

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    6. If one day, women do NOT need men any more at all in raising up kids, then it would indeed be bad news for males while it would be good news for females.

      Because, in this case, women can then only choose men with the best genetics to have kids with then go separately as single mothers to raise kids. While in plain words means, all women can go way way out of their leagues. Then I suspect only the top 1% males would have mating chances at all to impregnate any women. The remaining 99% males would remain bachelors forever or at least men with no chances of any offsprings.

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    7. I have even done a sociological/demographical research on this issue here. I have found out those facts:

      1. High welfare countries have fewer traditional people and they are more liberal in relationships and they have higher percentages of single parents. e.g. Scandinavian countries have higher single parenting rates than the U.S.

      2. In the same country, being in upper class is correlated with people's relationships more traditional with lower percentages of single parenting.

      Fact number 1 supports my speculations: because in high welfare countries, women need men's help less in raising up kids. So if they stay as single parents, they have less to lose.

      Fact number 2 supports my speculations also, as I stated previous: because traditional homes with full parenting make more competitive kids who would later inherit the same mating strategies of staying traditional in relationships, and so on and so forth....

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  6. As a reader who uses a service dog, it will be interesting to see how other readers answer as to how total strangers might think or feel about another stranger with a disability.

    You think a walker is noticeable, try a 60 lb dog.

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    1. I would think a dog would be a great opener...?

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  7. This is relevant advice for everyone. A car accident could turn anyone physically disabled and older age wears a fraction down who take care of themselves, too. I want to remain attractive to my husband someday, regardless of whether something like that happens. Much respect, Nancy, to you for your positive and quietly tough attitude, which is very attractive, itself, and rare. In my experience, physical pain, from headaches on, is very eroding of moment to moment lightness of heart. That quality is one of the most attractive in women, I think, and lessens with age, stress, responsibility. It has not with you. Or so it seems from your writing voice, tone and words.

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    1. Thank you Marie. I'm touched.

      N.

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  8. My Junior Middle school's female teacher, her husband got disabled from a car accident when they were both at their 20's. He broke his spine so that his lower half of the entire body did not have any senses nor could it move. And he could not control venting nor could he sit up or get out of the bed for the rest of his life.

    It happened during I was still her student. They had a very young kid at that time also, a young boy. After that, all the burdens fell under her. She made the money to support the entire family including her, her disabled hubby and their kid. She did all the housework and took care of him because her hubby could not do anything except staying in bed.

    She did not leave her family, not him or their kid. In the difficult life, the rest of their lives, in poverty and struggling together, their love still remained.

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    1. That's impressive. I don't know if I'd be capable of doing what she did, but then I have never loved anyone that much.

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  9. Love is not just about romance, courtship, writing poetries to each other, or just anything like that.

    I think the romance between my teacher and her hubby was stronger than anything which a hollywood movie could describe.

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  10. Unfortunately Andrew, obvious physical disabilities DO matter to men. I should know because I have an obvious physical disability and did not have a boyfriend (and remained a virgin) until I was 32. I ended up married to the only man to date me and we are still happily together after 14 years. This is despite the fact that I was slim and had a pretty face (my mom was a beauty queen). The upside of this is that men who see past your disabilities are generally less superficial than men who don't, and value you for the person that you are. YOu may get fewer options, but those options are better. Having said this, you should also be open to dating men with disabilities too - not the same disability as yours, or life together could be tricky. I was open to dating a man with epilepsy but he unfortunately let his disability define him and did not wish to date with his medical condition.

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    1. I never said they didn't. In fact, I said that they did matter.

      The point I was trying to make is that a disabled woman (or person, for that matter) can make the most out of her situation by avoiding the belief that (a) her disability is more serious than it is or needs to be, and (b) her options are reduced more than they really are.

      A hot disabled woman with a great personality and confidence trumps a hot healthy woman with a shitty personality who is insecure, every time.

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    2. I hope you are right because from my experience hot shitty women get men all the time - sure, the hot/confident men with options will junk these women when they become too much to handle but there are many "wimpy" ones who will put up happily with all this nonsense because that is price they will happily pay to be with a hot woman.
      Sure, a hot disablied woman with a good attitude can sure give healthy hot women with shitty attitudes a run for their money -- IF given the chance. How can hot disabled women with good attitudes compete effectively if they are shut out ? A lot of men would not give these women a chance - not sure why, but the few men who may have been burnt in the past may give these women a second look.
      And disabled women (whether hot or not) tend to have a great attitudes because they are eternally grateful for whatever little crumbs they get.

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    3. "...eternally grateful for whatever little crumbs they get." You made me chuckle. I've had a few crumbs fall my way and I did not pick them up. I think I've always had a positive attitude - it has enabled me to manage this life change well. There are many sour faced disabled people out there. Disability does not guarantee a positive disposition.

      Andrew has helped me see that having a disability may in fact be an asset (it filters. What a blessing). I've noticed most people love to help and I'm happy to accept. In turn; they feel great. It's wonderful really.

      N



      N.

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    4. "There are many sour faced disabled people out there. Disability does not guarantee a positive disposition." So true. When you really treat people as an equal, you don't allow their disability to affect how you react to them. My mum works with disabled people and has noticed this happening (kind of controversial to mention it but it does happen).

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    5. People choose to accept crumbs.

      I think disability can be analogous to any insecurity [small penis, balding, income, family background, criminal history]... People might have difficulty accepting others but that's usually a reflection of that individual, not the person with the disability. On the other hand, a person w a disability/insecurity, can have a positive or negative attitude. A guy with a small penis could choose to get a girl really drunk before they have sex so she doesn't really remember/reealize that his penis is small. On the other hand, he can be upfront about it ad they can find a way to make it work.

      At least in my view, there's not need for people to be fack nice. I'm a transparent girl. If people have an issue with me having hot legs, that's their problem. Just as well, if people have a problem with anyone having a disability, that's their problem. People who accept crumbs (aka settle) don't realize that they dont have to.

      My wish in life is for people to get balls and not settle or be duped into relationships out of laziness or despiration.

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  11. Great post, Andrew. So good to read something on an overlooked topic. I enjoy your clear and precise writing style.

    I know a few disabled people and I have an idea of how hard it is(though I couldn't possibly know). There will always be people who ask them questions and want to know the disability before them. Some people don't want to ask, or can't get past trying to think outside the box of conventional sex. I think what mainly seems to put people off is the sex part. I like the way that you explained to the reader how to put across their sexual ability in a subtle/humourous way.

    I don't know whether this is within the bracket of 'disability' but it can be hard dating when you have a mental health condition as well. I always wonder what men think about that but I've never asked. I tend not to bring it up until I really know and trust someone although mine is pretty mild.

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    1. My comment below was meant as a reply to your comment.

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  12. Hi Lucy,
    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you're affected by some form of depression? I'm susceptible to clinical depression myself - it runs in my family (my dad killed himself when I was a baby) and the small amount of reading I've done on it seems to indicate a genetic basis as well as an imbalanced chemical level in the brain caused by unhealthy lifestyle. This is the same for many mental conditions.

    Luckily I've managed to deal with it on my own through diet, exercise, sleep patterns, routine and drinking alcohol very carefully. I haven't suffered a serious bout in six years (I had three life-threatening bouts between 16 and 23, even though I didn’t realize it at the time). I'm aware though that if I don't live healthily and a life event occurs (death of a relative, car crash etc.) it can recur at anytime - I'll have to be vigilant for as long as I live.

    The way I deal with it with women is to bring it up (my personal issue and family situation) in a matter of fact, even jokey way fairly soon into seeing a woman. For some reason I normally mention it the morning after first time sex when still in bed - maybe because it's a vulnerable time. Basically I let her know that for me it’s not a big deal and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed about it. It’s just part of who I am and that’s that. I rarely mention it much again. Most women are bit surprised about how forward I am and how it’s not a big deal to me. Not one of them has held it against me and it never became an issue.

    Good luck.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Thomas. I did have clinical depression but I very rarely have depressive episodes now. My main issue is Anxiety. Like you, I have to stay healthy to ensure that my life is in balance. It's very easy to tip off if something stressful and unexpected happens. I know what steps to take to counter my anxiety but I can't control how I will react. Therefore, vigilance is key (like you said). When something big happens, I reassess how I'm dealing with it compared to prior situations.

      I agree with that the matter of fact slightly jokey way of putting it across is a good thing. But I still believe that it's easier for men to display that kind of vulnerability. I feel a bit embarrassed about what I deal with and I don't want any man to think I'm not capable, or that I'm downtrodden so I try not to bring it up until a lot of trust has developed. I want men to admire me for my strength.

      I'm not sure when to date. I hope to be making consistent progress and have a year without a crash. But I also know that, while I am getting better, it's not something that can be 'cured' as such. The Anxiety is hard because to many people it doesn't look like a genuine illness; and it might seem that I 'give up easily' or am 'a bit of a wimp', which is how people have perceived me at certain times.

      Thank you :)

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    2. Ah I understand - I won’t go too far into the issue as I’m not a professional but I don’t think you have anything to be embarrassed about. It’s a pity there’s still a certain stigma about psychological issues as we will never manage to deal with them effectively until it’s gone. We feel how we feel and that’s ok. Even the strongest and most resilient people I know struggle at times – we’re all human. I used to be embarrassed/ashamed as well until I realised I’ve nothing to be embarrassed about – it’s just the chemical soup in my brain is temporarily unbalanced and it just needs to be reset. Luckily for me exercise generally resets it quickly.

      Hopefully you’ll be able to manage your anxiety as the years go by and acknowledge that it’s just a part of your life that you will have to manage. It sounds like you’re making great progress anyway.

      As Andrew said, it’s far less of a big deal to guys than you might suspect – they’re probably thinking of their own issues, not yours!

      :)

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  13. Great post. What about having a hidden chronic illness, like lupus or another autoimmune disease? Unless symptoms are obvious, I feel it is harder to know when to address the condition.

    Through friends, I recently met a guy I am very attracted to. Our first meeting was in a group setting, he joked and teased me and threw in a few compliments but he jokes with everyone. Duing our second meeting we had about 20 minutes of privacy away from our mutual friends, at which time he voluntarily brought up his chronic illness, fairly recently diagnosed. I also have an autoimmune condition, I have had it for almost 10 years, though not the same as his. I think he was surprised and relieved to see that I was not judging him for his illness. He proceeded to ask me questions about my condition and I cautiously ventured a few about his that he did not hesitate to answer. Mostly I just listened. He mentioned something about how we were bonding.

    When a man voluntarily brings up something so personal, talks about it, asks about it, says he doesn't usually tell people...do you think he may be attracted to me? We are each single, mid-twenties.

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  14. That is a lovely response of you, Andrew !

    I feel happy for that woman :)

    Lee,

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  15. I commented on the "How Much Do You Reveal?" thread as well, but this is also an appropriate place.

    I am like the lupus sufferer, and have suffered from an autoimmune disease for 5 years. It is hidden, and I found no issues trying to date people. Most guys were open and sympathetic about it. Now I have an brain injury as a result of a drug interaction for my autoimmune condition.

    I wonder hiw to go about both managing mentioning this disability, and dating with it. It is completely different now because the brain is involved. How do you exude confidence when your entire sense of self is scrambled and undermined half the time due to these disabilities? I suffered it in a way that my personality and affect have been muted biologically, and my high IQ is sort of trapped inside myself. Conversations "on the dly" are incredibly difficult because of it.

    I know minimizing it, or making light of the situation, like you have a handle on it, comes off as more attractive. But I cannot promise the latter to anyone, and I feel like if I make light of the matter, it will be constantly "bringing the brain injury" to the table (even though it HAS to be there always, or there will be terrible misunderstandings.). Add to that a kind of social blindness, where I cannot read non-verbal cues anymore (great for lessening nervousness, not so great for figuring out intent!), and it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    I feel like simply describing the complexities of the situation make me sound "overly negative.". I actually, honestly wonder if it is selfish of me to want to date given my injury. Recovery is measured in years, if at all, so it is unfair of me to expect to ask someone to endure that.

    Perhaps I simply need to wait? I wasn't exactly the most charismatic person prior to the injury (eccentric, quirky, and intelligent.), and had difficulties. Now I worry the issues will be multiplied as I get knocked down the "totem pole," so to speak. I am attracted to, ans did attract, guys who found the brain to be the sexiest part of a woman. Not sure how that will work oiut anymore...

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  16. Aside from a physical disability, what about a mental illness like bipolar?

    My boyfriend of 1.5 years which also happens to be a pharmacist found out I struggle with ADD or manic
    depression. He is quite upset I told him much later.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    We sorta broke up, but he is willing to meet up in person to talk it out. Good sign? Completely nervous about this meeting. I feel he'll just break up in person. It's been over a year.

    Dee

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  17. Aside from a physical disability, what about a mental illness like bipolar?

    My boyfriend of 1.5 years which also happens to be a pharmacist found out I struggle with ADD or manic
    depression. He is quite upset I told him much later.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    We sorta broke up, but he is willing to meet up in person to talk it out. Good sign? Completely nervous about this meeting. I feel he'll just break up in person. It's been over a year.

    Dee

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and what about past issues such as suicide attempts and depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia, anxiety? When and how should a woman disclose this to a potential LRT?

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    2. Hi Dee, you can get me at emilybbb548@yahoo.com ..just email me at this account and I will pass you on my real details.

      Emily

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    3. ADD or manic depression? You're not sure which? Or did you meant to say "and." Those are pretty different things.

      Anyway.. a really good question. I was in a relationship for 6 years with someone who was bipolar. He never really told me per se, but I figured it out pretty quick. He was kind of in denial about being bipolar (even though he had been diagnosed.) Anyway.. It wasn't a deal breaker for me. I'm not sure what's the best approach. It's definitely important to be open with your partner about your illness once you are committed to one another. But.. I'm not sure what's the best way to handle it in the beginning. My inclination would be not to mention it until several dates in. Then when you really start to confide in one another and talk about personal stuff you could bring it up.

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    4. hey sally,

      he thought it was one or the either. however, i was diagnosed with both. however, i believe it's a mild case of both. adhd is the official diagnoses.

      i kept it away from him longer because he worked in the medical profession. he told me about countless negative experiences he had. one pharmacy classmate enlisted in the USA army and he is canadian. another, med student who displayed some erratic and violent behaviour was shot to death on the toronto street car and while working in the psychiatric ward, a patient reminded him so much of the girl from the ring.

      do you mind if i ask what happened between you an your ex-bipolar boyfriend? thanks for sharing

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  18. he admitted he misses me. that's definitely a good sign :)

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  19. wtf do you tell someone that you intended on breaking up with that you missed them?
    to just tell them you can forgive them about concealing their illness from you and feel that they intended to keep it away from you for good?

    i feel likes it's a cop-out. anyone agree? it's like a switch suddenly switched off. all because i'm bipolar. or seriously, because LYING about my illness to you is so detrimental and by no means a 1.5 year relationship no longer holds anymore worth or value?

    some educate me here!!

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  20. Hi Nancy,

    I have the exact same issue as you, I use a walker, look about 38 but am 51. A guy met me online 4 years ago and we have a great relationship and great sex and my disability hasn't been any trouble at all..good luck to you! Stay positive, have fun!!--Barb

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  21. I haven't had a serious relationship since I've been in a wheelchair, which has been about 12 years. When I was in college, I had men approach me in school all the time. However, none of them would ask me out. One of my classmates would ask me to hang out in school all the time, but wouldn't ask me out. When I asked him to hang out outside of school, he made excuses. There were no hard feelings until he started dating a girl that resembled me. I took it hard and started resenting him and a lot of guys because I felt they thought I was pretty and had a decent personality, but wouldn't look past the wheelchair. I had a poor attitude after that and in hindsight, I wish I could take that back. If they weren't asking me out because of my disability, then it weeded a lot of people out who clearly are not my match.

    One thing about having a disability is that it does weed out a lot of the "wrong" men. I was a cheerleader in high school prior to my accident, and I was faced with guys who just wanted to have sex with me. If guys prioritize sex and think our sex life would be boring now that I'm in a chair (not true), then it saves me from a short-lived relationship and all the heartache that follows.

    I hate to sound cliche, but the right person will come along. In the meantime, don't let it affect your attitude or confidence.

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  22. Andrew-this is a really good post. It's a difficult subject, and I like how you address it. Someone I know had a hard time telling me about a related issue, and I was completely shocked since it's something I didn't realize. We didn't finish our conversation, but you're right--it's usually not a big deal. I was actually more interested in finding out when I'd have sex with him, but that conversation didn't get finished either.

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