Monday, June 23, 2014

Ask John

Have you had romantic relationships? What were/are your challenges, successes there?

I have never had any romantic relationships. Though I have tried to find romance, success has eluded me. This lack of success is due to many challenges. These challenges don't make having a romantic relationship impossible, just more difficult.

The biggest challenges to having a romantic relationship have to do with my disability. I usually don't like to blame my disability, but from experience I know this is true.

For a romantic relationship to work, the woman has to see beyond my disability and accept me for who I am. This is more difficult because my disability is so visible. I am in a power wheelchair, on a ventilator that is connected to my trach, which is inserted in my neck, have very limited movement (I can only move a few fingers, and my head), require around the clock care, and need help doing almost everything. This all can be too much for many women.

The fact that I use a power wheelchair can be an issue, especially since I can't take part in most physical activities, would have trouble doing extensive traveling, and can't keep up with someone who leads an active lifestyle. I could be seen as holding someone back.

Having a trach and ventilator can be intimidating to many women. They don't know how to deal with it. It is a visible reminder of the severity of my disability.

My limited movement makes it difficult to do many things. I can't hold a woman's hand, can't hug back, caress or touch. All touches of affection are one-sided. Women who consider sex an important part of a romantic relationship, are turned off by my disability.

My need for around-the-clock care, and help with almost everything, is a big deal-breaker. Many women want a man who can take care of himself. They don't want to be a nurse.

The above challenges have to do with a romantic relationship with non-disabled women. Looking for a romantic relationship with a woman with a disability also has its challenges. Just the fact that both people have a disability does not automatically lead to a romantic relationship. Women with less severe disabilities don't always want to be with a guy with a more severe disability. In this case, just like with the non-disabled women, they want a guy that can take care of himself. Women with severe disabilities, I have found, sometimes would prefer a non-disabled man, so they can have someone to help them out.

Besides the difficult challenges concerning my disability, I also face the challenges that all men, with or without disabilities face in seeking romance. It is always a challenge to find compatibility. There are so many factors such as, shared interests, religious beliefs, political beliefs, attitudes, distance, culture, family, and so many others. Of course, these factors can be overcome if enough is shared in common to make it work. It is said that opposites attract.