We at mobileWOMEN.org found that this Valentine’s Day sparked it’s usual passion but also this time, it sparked a passionate conversation regarding love and relationships. It all started when one of our contributors found herself among a group of single mobileWOMEN, discussing the viability of marriage when having a disability. These women conveyed that they didn’t know any other women that were married and weren’t even sure if marriage was a possibility for them.
After a few of us discussed creating an article about marriage, we realized that there are many dimensions and aspects of love. Marriage wasn’t necessarily the only road to happiness and love comes in many shapes and forms.
Fortunately, our mobileWOMEN team members have broad range of circumstances when it comes to relationships and love, so each of us agreed to share our experiences and thoughts on the subject. We decided one article was not enough to cover this complex topic so we have created a series of three posts based on the following:
Part I - Relationship Status: Different Perspectives from our mW Team
Part II - Looking for Love: Tips on Finding Your Significant Other
Part III - Celebrating Love in All Forms
We hope that you will enjoy the series and share it with others that you feel may find it beneficial. Ultimately, our best resource is one another so please share your thoughts on our Facebook page. We are so grateful for all of you. Let’s embrace the support that we can give each other and the love felt within our community!
In this post, we are covering the second post of our "love" series:
Part II - Looking for Love: Tips on Finding Your Significant Other
We asked our members the following questions:
a) If you are in a relationship, how did you meet? OR If you are looking for love, what methods have you tried to meet someone?
b) What advice/tips would you give another mobileWOMAN looking for love?
I met my husband in high school but didn't get into a serious relationship with him until later on. When looking for someone, it helps to find someone with similar interests and outlooks on life. It provides the glue to growing the relationship. Patience, flexibility, compromise, open communication and a good sense of humor, go a long way in a good relationship.
We joke that we met on a street corner! Tyson and I met through an old family friend of mine; he was taking a piano tuner's course from him and I was teaching Freshman Seminar while earning my Master's degree. I was rolling home to my apartment and they were walking toward the university and we met at the corner and talked for quite awhile and began going out that weekend.
Don't hate me for saying this - but love yourself first...every bit of who you are. I had several relationships before meeting my husband, and some were incredibly unhealthy because I believed that they were my only shot at being with someone. When I let go of everybody else's expectations or stereotypes of women with disabilities and believed I deserved the type of man I was truly looking for, I sort of decluttered my life, prioritized myself, and Tyson came along. He was literally exactly the kind of guy that I had wished for back in middle school while dealing with middle school teenage angst and dating! A very long wait, lots of heartbreak, but in the end, long-lasting happiness.
One of the more useful tools I have tried is online dating and to some extent, had some success. Currently, I may return to that platform to see if I can take my recent growth and use that confidently to pursue a relationship. Other strategies that I want to try, are finding organizations that connect me to places that may be more casual and connect me to people with passions that I love such as travel, dining out, going to movies, volunteering etc. to see who I meet, but also to enjoy meeting new people and create friendships as they come. Finding love can be a life-changing stress for anyone, and when living with a disability that can be all the more stressful. I think people need to feel some security and peace in their own lives first and be ok not being in a relationship. When meeting someone you want to be with and vice versa, you may know you are ready to pursue love. In general, our society historically has made it seem our worth is only valid with romantic love, marriage and kids. I have come to feel that as wonderful as all three are, it is more wonderful if that is what you or I truly want and not what society says is correct. But in parallel to that, it is ok to be on your own as we are seeing now in our changing society. There is love in many relationships and friendships and that makes us ok.
My husband Ryan and I met online, on Match.com. The funny thing is, we lived less than one mile from one another. We likely were at our neighborhood Publix grocery store together at the same time, but didn't realize it. If I saw him, I surely would've asked him to reach a top-shelf grocery for me!
Patience and honesty are key. When I dated online, I mentioned being a wheelchair-user and showed the chair in at least one photo. If anyone had reservations that meant they didn't want to communicate right off the bat, then at least I knew so right away. In my quest, I just kept looking and did not settle for less than someone who would enhance my life and with whom I connected. Ryan and I hit it off right away, and we never looked back from date one. When you know, sometimes you just know!
My future Mother-in-Law was watering plants at my work and approached me regarding her son. He was newly injured and she thought that it might be nice if I talked to him, since it looked like I was doing pretty well. We spoke once on the phone and then lost touch for 6 years. We decided after talking that we would meet for dinner. We just clicked. Soon we will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary!
I think it’s very important to be happy with yourself and not feel that you NEED to be in a relationship. When I was confident with me and my life; that was when I started meeting people. Realize that marriage and relationships don’t define who you are as a person. Don’t get me wrong, I love being married, but I also would have been fine if I had remained single; because I had other wonderful relationship with friends and family and I was happy with me!
I met my husband on an old-fashioned blind date. We became engaged in 3 months of dating and married 4 months later. When you find the right one, you hold on tightly and never let go. We met 20 years prior to my spinal cord injury (SCI), so maybe our relationship was safely cemented because my husband stepped up and took over as my caregiver and protector post SCI. When I say my husband was my protector post SCI, I mean he thought each process through and made sure each one was executed safely.
True love is not about the goofy, infatuated lust or the “wow” factor. You fall out of infatuation quickly. True love is truly missing that person when he/she is not around, talking kindly and considerately to each other, and sharing your deepest secrets without worry. True love is two people rolling through the path of life together, who truly enjoy the company of the other, can make each other laugh, and no matter what occurs will make a pact to get through it together and they usually come out stronger on the other end.
One piece of advice I have always kept true to is look at your mate’s shoes. If they are dirty and tattered, that tells you a lot about his/her life. It’s a silly piece of advice but it’s never let me down. One more thing, is never, ever settle, hold your head of high and find a mate who is complimentary to yourself. As my mother-in-law says, “for every pot, there is a lid.” Keep looking, you will find your “lid”.
My husband and I met when I was organizing a contest/fundraiser to honor women who use wheelchairs. His daughter has Muscular Dystrophy and he submitted her entry. After our selection process, she ended up being one of the chosen “Roll Models”. He volunteered to videotape our event and the rest is history!
I truly believe when you focus positive energy on something bigger than yourself that your world begins open. Not only is it a rewarding experience but relationships are formed and opportunities seem to appear that you never would have imagined possible.