Dating When Disabled: Why My Disability Is Not A Burden

Written by: Jenny Woodward

What does it feel like to be in a relationship when disabled? Unsure, with low self-esteem and feeling like a burden on your partner? But what if instead, you could feel confident, happy and like anyone else would in a relationship?

One of the most common feelings that disabled people in a relationship experience is that of feeling like a burden on their partners, simply owing to the fact that they have a disability. But it doesn’t have to be this way at all - disabled people can also have normal, healthy and fulfilling relationships.

Reasons why your disability should not be a burden

1. Your disability does not define you

Remember that your disability is just ONE part of you, as is your job or your hobbies or your being a parent. It does not and should not define you.

2. You do contribute to the relationship

Agree you might be unable to do certain things owing to your handicap, but that does not mean you are useless or cannot contribute financially or in any other way to the relationship.

You might be unable to go to work as you are in a wheelchair; however, you could start and have a successful online business instead.

Or if you suffer from a mental health condition, you could use your experiences and help others going through the same problems, and start a successful support group.

Get the gist? You can use your other skills and talents and prove your worth in the relationship in other ways.

3. Your partner may require support too

Don’t ever feel indebted to your partner just because you have a disability.

While he or she might be supporting you physically and helping you go about your daily life, you might be giving them support in other areas such as emotional or financial support.

These might not be obvious to a third party, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

How you can overcome the tag of being a 'burden'

First and foremost, value your worth

Keep your self-esteem up and don’t settle for anything less than you want or deserve. Don’t give up on the relationship or partner of your dreams just because of your disability.

Don’t feel guilty

Don’t feel guilty; the guilt can lower your self-esteem and make you feel worthless even when you aren’t.

Remember, you are giving back to your partner/ spouse in your own way, with love, care and emotional support, even if you can’t be of much assistance in a practical way. And, realise that you would do the same for your partner were the roles reversed.

Definitely ignore what other people think or say

Knowingly or unknowingly, people might pass comments on your partner being the one carrying the entire weight of the relationship/ you being nothing but a burden to your spouse or hindering their career progress/ it not being fair for your partner etc. Ignore these comments and remember you are worth much more than your disability.

And as long as your partner knows that as well, all issues can be worked upon. Every relationship is about give and take, and has its ebb and flow.

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