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Can Disabled Dating Bring Hope?

Aug 17, 2007
"Can I have a girlfriend, teacher?" asked one of my students Iskandar. I looked at the boy and was speechless. I did not know whether I would be giving him false hope and unrealistic expectations or giving him more faith to believe for a better future.

The school I was volunteering at were for kids who were mildly to moderately mentally handicapped mostly because of Down Syndrome. Iskandar was mildly handicapped and was just short of qualifying for the local school system.

He was a very cheerful and polite boy and who is blessed with a loving and supportive family. Having a loving and supportive family and environment is critical for a disable person. It could make or break them.

The question from Iskandar had been in my heart for a long time even after I have stopped volunteering because of too many commitments in family, work and life. Should disabled people - be it physical or mental be encouraged to form dating relationships that could potentially lead to marriage? What positives can disabled dating bring?

Firstly, it's not really a question of whether they can or not. Every person has the freedom to express their beliefs, ideas and passion. However, while all things are permissible, not everything is beneficial and careful and wise reflection should be given especially when such a question is posed to us by sincere individuals.

Over the years, I have mingled and made friends with people who are visually and physically handicapped who try to fit in and live a "normal" life in society. Disabled dating is often the last thing on their mind because they are burdened with many worries - financial, relationship and health.

Come to think of it, they are definitely just like normal people just with different problems to deal with. Not to digress from the main purpose of this article, I would argue that every person always has some form of disability and the greatest disabilities are unseen rather than seen.

A prideful, stubborn and lazy attitude is a terrible disability for example. A girl who had been sexually abused since young might carry emotional scars and wounds that could make her emotionally disabled and prevent her from ever having an authentic romantic relationship unless she receives healing and restoration within.

So in a way, everyone experiences disabled dating because we all have our imperfections both physically and emotionally and our own unique set of problems.

However, for the sake of our readers, let us talk more about the practical pros and cons of disabled dating from the perspective of physical and mental disabilities. As mentioned earlier, everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. A friend of mine has a relative (let's give him the name "Joe") who lost one of his leg in a car accident.

Thankfully, Joe is a man of strong character, maturity and wisdom. He voluntarily left his managerial position although the company wanted him to stay badly and "create" some role to fit him in. He told me as we were hanging out one day,"I know who I am, Paul. I don't want any free hand outs.

Even with this leg gone, I can still create and add value for people in other ways." I was moved, encouraged and inspired by his faith and sense of dignity. Joe is now an established consultant from the field he used to be a manager. He is also a savvy investor and is a partner of several small and medium enterprises. I admire his great and inspirational comeback.

"Disabled dating?" Joe looked at me and smiled. "Yes I do think about having a dating relationship sometimes."

After the accident, Joe asked his fiancee to leave and to move on. I don't know how he did it..but it must had been very painful.

"I know, Paul. It would definitely make life happier and more meaningful because you have a closer friend, a companion to share your life with," said Joe. "But we've got to think further than that too you know. Everyone is free to pursue the relationship of their dreams and I encourage them to.

Personally, I guess I think too much about the future. Because I believe that dating should be taken seriously and dating can lead to marriage and marriage is for life. If I become a father, who is going to play football with the kids?

And in this wheel chair, I am more liable for accidents to happen at home and if something happens who will take care of the family?" Joe speaks passionately and it was obvious it was something close to his heart.

Well, I have met families where mum and dad are blind while the child isn't. While these families often struggle financially because the parents can't bring in substantial income, they are happy and they learn how to make it work. I admire them greatly and my heart goes out to all these people who DARE to love and to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of others.

Disabled dating CAN bring hope.

But you must have hope in yourself first! Because if the relationship doesn't work out, like everyone else you will spiral down the hole of depression because you are not assured of your self worth and value.

I wish I could travel back to the moment when Iskandar asked me that question and give him a real answer rather than just silence. I would tell him "Iskandar, can you love someone and be committed to that person and take responsibility for that person for the rest of your life even if it doesn't work out? You can be all that you have within yourself to be! Dream big and work hard to make all your dreams come true."

To all in the disabled community, I thank you. Your life and your courage to continue living inspires the world. Keep looking at the possibilities and keep walking toward the dream that beats and pulsates within your heart. All the best.
About the Author
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