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Dating with Disabilities - IG Post

setting the tone for your polyamorous dating

The Stigma

Dating, in general, can be difficult for disabled people, especially depending on how our disability manifests. Being polyamorous and disabled can trigger unsavory assumptions rooted in ableism (discrimination in favor of non-disabled people). Some people may assume a polyamorous disabled person seeks partners to be caregivers or dependent upon them. This societal and legislative devaluation of disabled people attributes to how people feel about disabled people dating and being in relationships. For obvious reasons, this can be discouraging when dating.

Don't Endure

You have a right to pursue polyamorous connections like anyone else. With that said, don't endure for the hell of enduring. Keep this as your standard on day one. You do not have to endure ableism from dates. You do not have to explain the validity of your invisible disability. You do not have to give personal details on how you navigate hygiene or s3xu@l acts. Harmful self-talk like "this is the best I can get" or "they didn't mean it that way" will lead to settling and possible trauma. Do not settle. Our disabilities do not mean we get the leftovers. Our disabilities do not mean we cannot have standards, expectations, and boundaries. Remind yourself of this constantly while dating.

Say What You Need

When making plans for a date, do not be afraid to state what you need for the date to be comfortable. Tell them if a suggestion is not going to work, do not just go to date only thinking of their comfort. Getting to know you means getting to know your needs as well. Being upfront about the things you need (or don't need) for your disability to attend a date is also a tool for vetting. If your date(s) acts inconvenienced or blatantly refuses to acknowledge your accommodations, it is a good sign not to go out with them. It is a good sign if they want to ensure the date is equally as enjoyable for you as it is for them.

Your Business

There is an entitlement to the personal lives of disabled people in society. Every conversation does not have to be centered around your disability, and you educating potential dates on it. Nor should it be centered on how you navigate intimacy. Of course, you can share your experiences but if you feel like you have to undress your entire personal life - take a step back. Get comfortable telling people, "I don't feel comfortable talking about that" or "that's personal." Some people mean no harm, and the conversation can continue as usual; others may continue to pressure the subject. Reminder again - you do not have to endure for the hell of enduring. Being disabled does not mean you have to reveal personal details about how you navigate life with a disability.

Your Dynamic is Valid

It is not unheard of for ableist people to challenge our preferred relationship style. Your ideal or current polyamorous dynamic does not need to be proven as valid or realistic to those seeking to date you. Questions about if you can keep healthy to meet the needs of your partners due to your disability are honestly loaded and probably not appropriate with someone you barely know.

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