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UK disability-advocacy organization Scope "exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else". Its #EndTheAwkard videos — some of which are really quite humorous in an uncomfortable sort of way — highlight some of the issues disabled people face on a daily basis, including in the dating realm. All of these videos are based on actual experiences people had.
Have you been there? Have you had dates "insisting" on accompanying you to the restroom because you're blind, have you had people tell you that "it's great that you're deaf; you could be my perfect woman... I snore", have you had people just get up and walk away when they realized you had a disability, or have you had them suggest that if only you tried some diet or totally unscientific alternative remedy, you'd be cured of your cerebral palsy?
If you have, you may just be beginning to feel a little bit of relief over the fact that only one in 10 able-bodied people have been out on a date with a disabled person. Awkward? Yes, dating is awkward enough by nature, without a royal selection of offensive comments and attitudes surrounding your disability. Some people outright suck, while others may be great people who just haven't learned to deal with their own weird prejudices... or how to avoid confronting you with them.
"Dating", in general, may not actually be the best way to meet a partner anyway — many of us instead find our other halves at work, in the gym, among our circle of friends, at a book club, or in any other real-life scenario. You may be hoping that that right person, that awesome, funny, caring, cool person you could spend the rest of your life with, finds themselves on your path through dating, though. It can happen, of course. But with many people being so very weird around disabilities, your dating experiences are bound to be even stranger than those of able-bodied people.
Be Yourself — With An Added Dose Of Humor
If you are dating with the goal of finding a long-term partner, you may be nervous as well as trying to be on your best behavior, but everyone benefits if the person they're on a date with is as close to their "real self" as they can get. One way to achieve this is to introduce your date, if you like them, to your friends as soon as possible — that way, they'll get to see the most relaxed and authentic side of you quickly. Going on dates that focus on some activity that doesn't require just talking all the time can also help create a less pressurized atmosphere; providing, of course, that the conversation doesn't turn to the limitations you face within that environment instead.
Humor is often the most powerful tool to deal with socially tricky situations, and dating is no different — even if you have to respond with a sarcastic joke when they make an off remark about your disability. (Depending on what they're generally like and if they were being an overall [insert expletive], you can just not call them again.]