What it’s Like to Use a Dating App when you’re Disabled

Is online dating becoming more accessible for disabled people

It’s not always easy to use dating apps when you’re disabled. We can deal with derogatory comments, discrimination and stupidity. Difficult in this situation to have confidence in yourself and find great love. Kristen, 30, has been paraplegic since the age of five. A follower of dating apps, she shares her experience.

At 30, Kristen works in advertising and seeks love. Registered for a few years on a meeting application, she has met with several people. From Los Angeles, Boston, to New York, she tells of her adventures.

Finding love when you’re disabled

My first love relationships

At the age of 5, I had a car accident with my family on my way back from ice skating a few days after Christmas.

In the hospital, the diagnosis falls, I suffer from a fracture of the spine. So it’s been a while since I’m in a wheelchair.

Most of the men I went out with had no problem with my disability. But everything changed the day I registered on Tinder.

The creation of my profile

I come from Los Angeles, then I moved to Boston for work and now I live in New York. I thought that my dating app experience would vary by city, that was not the case.

The first time I enrolled, I did not know if I needed to mention my disability. I thought of putting a picture of myself in a chair, but my friends told me that I did not have to.

Indeed, my disability does not prevent me from doing the activities I like and does not define who I am. But when I thought about it, I felt that I was not being sincere with people.

I have changed my profile picture countless times. To finally choose one where you do not see my chair distinctly.

My Wheelchair does not define who I am

I just want men to get to know me as a person and not as a person in a wheelchair.

Most of the time, people treat me differently when they learn that I am disabled. I work in advertising and my clients are far away. They do not even know I’m paraplegic.

And that makes me happy. I do not have any special treatment. I want them to expect from me what they would expect from any advertising. It’s exactly the same for my Tinder profile.

Dating app: managing your first date when you’re disabled

The first time I went to an appointment, I did not tell my suitor. We had been talking for two weeks, about our careers, about our childhood …

I could not wait to meet him because we were both from the same small town.

But when he saw me in my chair, he did not look me in the eyes of the whole evening. And we had dinner to avoid talking about it.

It was the most embarrassing meeting of my life. In the end, I could not take it anymore. I ended up asking him if everything was fine.

He said, “I do not know how to talk to someone in a wheelchair. I do not know what to do. ”

I replied, “I do not know what to say to you, since we’ve been talking for two weeks and the conversation does not seem to be a problem for both of us. ”

I ended up asking for the bill. It was really weird. He told me that I was a very kind person.

When I left, I replied: “That’s it, good luck for everything. “. He then replied that he might be ready to see me again.

But I told him he did not need to pretend. I have no time to lose.

After this meeting, I was very upset. Against him and against me. Against him for his ignorance and the way he acted.

Against me, because I should have told him earlier that I was in an armchair.
Dealing with discrimination on dating apps

Inappropriate reactions on dating apps

For six months, no appointment. Whenever I told the guys that I was disabled, they disappeared.

I never knew when to tell them the truth. So I was testing things. After a few weeks of deep discussions, I started. Or when the conversation took a very hot turn.

But the result was always the same, they were running away. Or, they asked me stupid questions: “But you can still make love? “.

I wanted to answer them “Of course I can poor con. You can not imagine the number of times a guy asked me that.

A little later, I sextais for several weeks with a guy. And I ended up telling him the truth:

– “Oh yes, by the way, I’m in a chair. ”

– “Oh, and it’s permanent? ”

– “I do not think it will change anytime soon. ”

End of the exchange, he never answered me again. It really hit me. All this rejection, just because I was in a wheelchair.

I started to lose confidence in myself

It’s hard to trust yourself after that. At first, by registering on Tinder I thought I was a kind person, rather pretty and had a good career.

Then, I started to see myself first and foremost as someone with a disability. I can change everything except the fact that I am in an armchair!

I unregistered the dating app

I ended up deleting the app. My experience has made me more unhappy than anything else. I do not think the problem comes from the application and I do not regret anything.

I just think that the reaction of these guys proves how much the disabled are stigmatized. Because as soon as people see you, they start to make a false impression of you.

At first, I thought that if people got to know me before I knew about my chair, they would know who I really am.

That I am a normal person, able to travel alone, to live alone. But they did not leave me this chance.

For them, I am above all a handicapped person. And I do not think it’s really their fault.

An extraordinary experience

A week later, I saw a guy I met in a restaurant a year ago. At the time, I liked it immediately and our appointments were perfect. Now we see each other regularly.

Reflecting on it, my experience on Tinder has been pretty incredible. I realized that I know who I am, that my chair is only a means of transport to go from point A to point B. And that suits me very well.