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How to Date a Disabled Person

‘Don’t Miss Out!’

Andrew

This is a guest post from my partner, sharing his top 5 pieces of advice after dating me (a disabled person) for 3 years. Obviously this is based on our relationship, and therefore is not about casually dating, though some of these tips might be helpful for both! – Blossom

Communicate

It’s the most important thing in any relationship, but it’s particularly important when someone is disabled. This is because you have to learn each other’s limitations. Make sure you are both comfortable enough to ask questions to quicken the learning process.

Plan

Make them as comfortable as possible by planning everything before hand. This will mean they aren’t as stressed about going out because they can prepare beforehand and also adapt the plan if they feel like it’s too much. Examples of planning a trip with a disabled person can be found here!

Nobody is a Burden

Make sure your partner does not feel like a burden. Just because they don’t have the same abilities as you doesn’t mean they can’t be fun or do fun things, it just means you might have to get a bit creative with activities. So don’t pressure anyone into doing things or assume what they can/can’t do. This could be anything from going on a walk to intimacy.

Understand

A Relationship with a disabled person might get serious more quickly than others- this isn’t something to be frightened by. The reason this happens is because they often have to think a lot more about the future than other people. Don’t be scared by this, just take it as a compliment and move on. It doesn’t mean they want to get married this second, it only means they have to think about things in more depth sometimes.

Adapt

Everyday is different- Chronically Ill people can have very fluctuating energy levels and this means that one day they could be feeling ok and they next they are in more pain or too tired to do anything. Just remain flexible and make sure you are ready to help on the bad days. You can do this by asking questions like ‘what do you need right now’, ‘Can I do anything for you?’, ‘Do you need *insert medication, hot water bottle, drink, etcetera!*’ Once you know the person better you will be able to anticipate their needs more, like turning on their comfort show during a flare up or having their favourite drink prepared before they ask!

Some of the most funny and interesting people are disabled! Don’t miss out on great people just because of presumptions you’ve made about them.

How to Date a Disabled Person

Written by Andrew

Every relationship has difficulties, and every relationship will probably be impacted by illness at some point, so don’t be afraid of the unknown! Disabled people are just people, we all have different needs and likes and dislikes, complexities and flaws. If you both want to be with each other, there’s nothing you can’t work through together. Thanks for reading!

HB x

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Planning A Trip with Disabled Person

After plenty of stressful trips out, I have quickly learnt that my version of spontaneity has to be carefully constructed. This list is something I wish I had known when my mobility first started declining, and it’s something I wish I could have sent friends to help them understand my needs better. A few reminders for people like me before we get into it:

It is ALWAYS okay to ask for help

You are not a burden, you just have needs. Name a human who doesn’t!

Life can still be fun, even if you are disabled/chronically ill

A note to friends/family/partners/colleagues of disabled people:

Holidays or day outs can be infinitely more complicated when one member of your party is ill or has a disability. But this is no reason to exclude them! You should research their condition if they’ve shared it with you, and invite them even if you think they’ll say no. It is so important to make sure you don’t make anyone feel left out! Having fun with a disabled person just means you need to put a little bit more effort into planning, and you will develop skills that will help you be a better human being because of this!

10 Tips for planning a trip with a Disabled Person

  1. Phone a venue ahead to check accessibility
  2. Book accessible tickets for a movie, play, concert, or event
  3. Check how near parking is to where you want to visit, see if there’s disabled parking if you have a blue badge
  4. Research the area you’re visiting to see how flat it is, what the weather is like, how many allergen friendly restaurants there are, etc.
  5. Before you leave make sure you have a bag packed for everything you might need in case of an emergency (this varies depending on the disability but could include portable ice or heat packs, an epipen, a tens machine a salty or sugary snack, and maybe keep a first aid kit with you!)
  6. Ask what plan your disabled friend is most comfortable with (for example, a picnic might be less stress than going out to eat because you have more control over the food)
  7. Show your disabled friend the menu of where you’re going to eat so they can check for allergens or safe food, or make sure you’ve eaten before hand so that food can be avoided
  8. Check for accessibile places using a helpful websites like these  MeIncludedEuan’s Guide and AccessAble
  9. If you really have your heart set on an activity like ice skating but know that your friend can’t manage that, why not invite them over afterwards, or plan a more accessible activity on a different day!
  10. Get travel insurance

More advice can be found here!

Perks

There are plenty of perks to going out with a disabled person- Many places offer a concession, allowing one free admission with each disabled person’s ticket, a disabled parking badge gives you free parking, and depending on the situation you can even skip queues!

Access in a lot of places suck, and ableism is everywhere, so even if you’re alone, please advocate for access!

Send this list to a friend please!