LifestyleRelationships & Sex

Meanderings of a single disabled woman

Confidence isn’t easy to come by, so it gives us solace to hear how one reader came to realize that beauty is on the inside and acceptance and believing in yourself are key to gaining confidence.

I have just returned from a staff party, which was my first social event with my new electric wheelchair and I feel like I am back!! Back out there, back being comfortable, back being myself and having a good time.

The party was slightly tinged with sadness as I learnt that someone I am very fond of is now attached. But at the same time there is hope that now socialising won’t be such a darn effort. I will no longer have to worry about my back/feet/knees killing me; I can just focus on meeting new people, making new friends and, who knows, maybe meeting someone special.

When I say special, I am not expecting the world or for someone to carry me off to some paradise island. But I do rather fancy spending time with someone I click with, some who makes me laugh, who understands and loves me even though I am a constant worrier, stubborn and rubbish at telling jokes.

I have always loved cuddles, and if I were physically able, I would be a naturally tactile person. When I see someone sad or upset it is a source of frustration that I cannot initiate some sort of comforting gesture. It just isn’t the same if you have to ask the recipient to come over, lean the right way and pull your arm round them! My alternative is that I can comfort people or show affection with words, but I still crave physical contact and wonder what being intimate with someone would be like.

There have been a few people that I have fallen for, albeit unrequited falling. I am extremely guarded about expressing these thoughts and feelings to anyone but my closest confidantes. I just haven’t had the self-confidence that, firstly, someone would find me attractive and, secondly, that the disability would not be a big issue.

For a long time I have avoided mirrors, relying instead on trustworthy carers who can tell me if I have toothpaste on my chin or if my hair is a bit Ken Dodd like! If questioned, I have explained that what I see in the mirror is not how I see myself; I don’t want to be reminded how much my back bends, my shoulder sticks out or my fingers are stuck. However I am getting more of a handle on my own body image. I put this new found understanding between me and my appearance down to getting older, wiser and more accepting of myself. My past hang-ups have originated mostly from myself rather than other people. My friends and family don’t see my physical differences, and I don’t see other people’s, so why is it when it comes to members of the opposite sex, and more specifically those that I warm to, I am still doubtful they will see me for who I am?

I am not sure I can answer my own question. All I can say is that I am getting better, more confident and more positive about myself. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but I know deep down that there are a lot of genuine people in this world, and I have just got to find them. I am realising that he (the man I hope to meet) won’t know I’m here if I don’t leave the safety of my house.

I began writing this while I was slightly inebriated; I think I find it easier to discuss things like this when I have had a few! My reason for doing so is that I wanted to capture this feeling and share it with people who might be in the same position. Something changed the night of the party, my mindset has altered and I cannot wait to do other things. The future, though uncertain as is the nature of my disability, looks brighter and my rediscovered freedom has given me hope of forming new relationships, being myself and having fun again!

By Anonymous

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, and it’s one which resonates with me. My life partner ended our relationship the same weekend I was told I would never improve, and would be disabled forever. His timing wasn’t great – I needed comfort and instead got dumped! Apparently I would cramp his lifestyle, and my disabilities would cause him too many problems and compromises.

    However, I realise that a partner like that would not be worth keeping. If we had met when everything was fine, he would have been a great partner. But who needs someone who turns their back on you when life throws you a curved ball? My self-esteem took a bit of a battering after this episode, but even I believe I deserve better than that.

    I hope you find who you are looking for. The benefit of being disabled is that if a partner is with you because they can see the person behind the disability they are in the minority, and have the qualities that anyone, disabled or otherwise, would want in a partner. So long as they can stay the course and don’t disappear the minute the going gets a bit rough.

    Good luck, and thank you again for sharing your story.

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