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But in the online dating world, my disability was my secret shame. I started gradually, making references to my disability throughout my profile, then adding photos in which my wheelchair is clearly visible. For instance, OKCupid asks users to list six things they can’t live without; one of mine is “the invention of the wheel.”Still, I found myself having to make sure that potential matches had actually picked up on the trail of clues I’d left.I grew tired of feeling like I needed to deceive men into being interested because society instilled in me that my disability makes me undesirable.The first time I forayed into online dating, I let my wheelchair show just a little in my photos.
I ended up going on one date with him, and then another.
For the second date, my bagel suggested a painting night (a social event that involves paintbrushes, canvases, acrylics and, usually, wine) since I’d told him how much I enjoy them.
When I found myself newly single, I turned to online dating in the hopes of easing my fears that no one else would ever accept me as I am, that lightning doesn’t strike twice. In this virtual world, I could pretend my disability didn’t exist.
Not one to be deterred, I persevered, downloading every possible dating app and creating accounts on various dating sites. I kept up with this facade for a while, messaging matches who were none the wiser.
My disability is part of my identity and I’m a loud, proud disability rights activist, but there is so much more that defines me (you know, like the stuff I’ve got in my profile).
I realize some people are hesitant to date a human who experiences the world sitting down.But I wasn’t helping the situation by keeping the existence of my disability concealed, springing it upon people only when I thought it felt right.In retrospect, this served only to contribute to the stigma I usually work so hard to fight. In every other area of my life, my disability is front and center.Finally, I took the leap I’d been so afraid to make, opening up about disability to strangers whom I hoped would appreciate my honesty and perhaps send me a message.Prominently in my profile, I wrote: “I’d like to be very upfront about the fact that I use a wheelchair.He found a Groupon and I researched a location, picking out a restaurant in New York City that was supposed to be wheelchair accessible.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating