Relationships & Sex

Disabled dating: my Tinder experience

Online dating can be fraught with mishaps and misadventures, possibly even more so if you have a disability. Wheelchair user Ross, who recently tried the online dating app Tinder, shares a post from his blog, A Life on Wheels, about his experience.

Hey, I’m Ross! Part-time blogger, full-time legend! I’m 25 years old and live in the pasty-land that is Cornwall. I have a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which causes muscle weakness and requires me to use an electric wheelchair.

I’m just like you – except I get to sit down 24/7 – so look who’s winning now?!

A Life on Wheels follows my journey through adulthood, where I share personal stories and review disability access along the way. 

Online dating with a disability

I recently told a friend about a dating disaster I had on Tinder and their first response was: “OMG you have to write about that on your blog!” So, I decided to share my experience. Let’s start at the beginning…

Tinder is an online dating app that matches couples based on their physical attraction. The app allows users to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ each other, based on a series of photos and a profile description. If both parties click ‘like’ (i.e swipe right), then it’s a match and you’re able to chat. 

You can also customise your settings to a specific age range, gender and location distance.

Last year I came to the realisation that I’m not going to meet my wife in Wetherspoons… so I swallowed my pride and decided to give this online dating malarky a go!

To my surprise, there was someone who I got on with really well. She lived locally, she was funny and we had similar interests.

*SPOILER ALERT: don’t buy a hat just yet…

I was speaking to her for about a week or so before I plucked up the courage to ask if she wanted to meet. This was quite a big deal for me. I’ve watched a hell of a lot of Catfish over the years, and meeting up with strangers isn’t something I’m that comfortable with!

Date night soon came around and we arranged to meet for a drink in town. I was running a bit late, which is never a good start. In a rush, I parked my car and began racing down the pavement in my wheelchair. Next thing I knew, the unimaginable had happened…


Why wasn’t I watching where I was going?! The stench was unbelievable and my luck was quickly running out. I tried to scrape off as much as possible by driving round in circles and randomly rubbing my wheels against the side of different buildings. 

Thankfully, despite this, I still arrived before my date – *phew!*

As I sat waiting, I became increasingly paranoid about the smell. There was also a very strange lady sat on the table opposite me, who kept staring at me.

Bless her, I think she was definitely a few sandwiches short of a picnic, as she was wearing at least three hats at the same time. At one point she even stood up and walked towards me. My first thought was: “Oh hell, I really have been stitched up here.” 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my date eventually arrived and the evening went really well. The poo story was a great ice breaker and all was forgotten. We sat and chatted for about three hours, and I eventually dropped her home. A second date was already on the cards. 

A few days later we met up for another drink in a different location – somewhere with no dog faeces in sight! Everything seemed to be going well.

However, a few weeks later things turned a little sour. I was out and about driving with one of my best friends when I received a text. Once I had parked up, I read the message and it said something along the lines of:

“I just saw you with another girl! Who is she? I waved and you completely ignored me!”

DING DING – the alarm bells are already ringing!

First of all, when I’m driving, I’m in my own little world. I barely notice traffic lights at times, let alone every person walking by.

And secondly… whoa, I barely know you and you’re already complaining about one of my female friends – not cool. A few more messages followed so I eventually decided to pull a Casper and ghost the hell out of her.

All jokes aside, I honestly don’t think I could ever take Tinder seriously. It’s the kind of app you download with your mates to have a good laugh at. Most people tend to use it for a quick hook up, and that’s great if that’s what works for you. 

It was a good experience and definitely a learning curve, but I think I’m more of a traditional guy. 

Maybe I’ll just wait for that Disney moment when she drops her books and I awkwardly can’t pick them up.

Moral of the story… Girls, don’t be crazy. Guys, watch where you’re walking/rolling.

And dog owners, pick up your shit!!

By Ross

Visit Ross’s blog, A Life on Wheels, to read about more of his experiences as a wheelchair user.

More on Disability Horizons…


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