Dating confessions of a 20-something disabled guy: part two

Dating confessions of a 20-something disabled guy: part two

Dating is rarely straightforward, and sometimes less so if you have a disability. It certainly involves time and energy, often mishaps and embarrassments, but if you’re lucky and have humour, then you can find the thing we all desire… love. So there are bound to be some scintillating stories from this single  20-something, disabled guy, as he shares his dating diaries…

“You’re just not attractive.” 

3 mistakes NEVER to make when you’re rejected and what to do instead…

Imagine this, you’ve been on a dating site sending messages to girls for the last hour, you’ve not had one response, then all of a sudden you get one, and from a nice looking girl too. Awesome, you think as you message her back:

You: [Answer a random question about music first then:] “I’m barely ever on this site, text me on xxxxxxx if you want to chat :)”

*BING* As if by magic, you’re iPhone goes off, there’s a text from a random number.

Her: “Hey [your name] its [her name] from Plenty of Fish, send me another picture.”

You: [Replying with picture] “Here you go.”

Her: “OK, you’re just not my type, too skinny, not buff enough. You’re not attractive, no point carrying this on. Bye.”

You: “Ha, fair enough, at least you’re honest.”

This is the point where you’re meant to feel like you’ve been suddenly stabbed with a little sharp knife (or maybe a rusty screwdriver) right in the chest because you’re not good enough, you’re not attractive, you’re weird and you SUCK!

If you’ve felt like this before you’re perfectly normal, it happens to everyone. However, I didn’t feel like that this time. You’ll find out why in a moment, but first…

You can think of online dating like a farmers market or a charity date auction. Everyone lines up and bids for each other in full view of everyone else, all using the same cliched profiles and messages while feeling more than a little exposed or like you’re standing naked in a crowd, or hugely validated by all the attention.

If you’re anything like me, you fall into the former category, disliking being defined by a bunch of check boxes, a 500 word profile about yourself and a God awful mug shot.

But there are two profiles, only two on the entire dating site that have held my attention for any length of time as they’re miles better than mine and certainly funnier. I’d LOVE to meet either of the girls who own them, yet for some reason, I’ve contacted neither of them. Maybe I’m just nervous. I’m going to contact them today and if they ignore or reject me, there are three mistakes I’m going to try desperately NOT to make.

1. Take it personally

If you’re doing the online thing, there’s no time to be hanging around with people you’re not interested in, better to just tell them and be grateful if someone does the same for you, don’t you think?

When someone rejects you, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with you, it’s just that you’re not right for them. It’s the same with job interviews, they’re not judging your worth as a person, they’re judging your compatibility for the job.

If you allow other people’s opinions to form the basis of your self-worth, you’ll be miserable and confused your whole life, like the cliched celebrity who has everything they want then self destructs because they realise it’s all a lie.

Your self-worth and confidence is your responsibility, you cannot control what happens to you, your circumstances or how people treat you. You can only control the way you react to your situation.

If you’re disabled, the reality is you probably are going to get rejected for it at some point because not everyone will want to deal with it. That’s their problem, not yours. It’s no different than if you have an obsessive hobby, obscure fetish, weird personality trait or frankly, an ugly face – you’re just not right for some people.

You only need to find one person with whom you’re compatible and you’re done, that’s it. Even if you have a few failed relationships, which is normal, you’re looking at five people max, ten if you’re really unlucky, that’s achievable, right?

2. Blame the person who rejects you

Nobody else is going to tell you this so I’m just going to be honest with you. You have to sell yourself, it’s your responsibility to convey yourself in a positive light and get people’s attention, especially if you have a disability. More importantly, it’s your responsibility to become a ‘catch’ and live your life in a way that makes other people want to be with you.

Martyn Sibley, the dude who co-owns this website, is an example of someone who’s done that properly and relatively publicly, so you can check him out as an example!

3. Give up

Nothing worth doing is ever easy, you always start out rubbish at whatever you try to do.  If you’re trying something new you should always start by copying people who’ve accomplished the same thing before – it makes sense right? I’ve not actually been successful yet so with that in mind, I suggest you look to two other people and who approach online dating in two different ways:

Either, decide that online dating is a numbers game, where you send a bunch of messages a day (like the awesome James Altucher), go on as many dates as possible, say no as soon as you realise someone isn’t right and become immune to rejection through constant exposure.

James found the love of his life by messaging people on JDate without uploading a profile picture so he could create some ‘mystique’, crazy huh?!

Incidentally, if you’re feeling miserable, stuck, or you’re not sure what to do with your life, then you should get James’s book, Choose Yourself for a very practical approach to becoming happier, healthier and richer in every way.

Or decide that online dating is about quality over quantity, where you ‘repel to attract’ by writing a detailed profile saying who you are, what you like and dislike, and the kind of person you’re looking for (like the master marketer Gary Halbert). The story of his personal ad was nearly turned into a movie because it was so successful.

My profile is actually a complete rip off of Gary’s ad. The idea is to actively repel the kind of person you don’t want and attract the type you do. If you’re like me, this approach is appealing because:

A)  You’re busy so don’t want to make time to go on a bunch of dates with different people you probably aren’t into.

B)  You want a real relationship with someone who shares your beliefs, interests, values.

C)  You hopefully minimise the amount of rejection you actually have to deal with.

The biggest downside is you’ll get far less people responding, but your compatibility with people who do respond will be higher.

Just so you know, I’ve no idea which approach is better, it probably depends on what you want and what you’re like as a person. Do what works for you and if you take nothing else from this article please at least try to. Allow yourself to see rejection as a happy stepping stone to finding the person for you.

Speak soon!

By a 20-something disabled guy

Check out…

Dating confessions of a 20-something disabled guy: part one
• Faiza Siddiqui: my sex life after injury
• The Undateables: what’s it doing for disabled people?

Dating or in a relationship and want to tell your story? Get in touch by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons, emailing us at editor@disabilityhorizons.com or leaving your comments below.