Why Dating Apps are a Nightmare for Women with Disabilities

Learning to love your genes is one thing, but someone else loving them is another. 

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No one likes talking about it, but having a disability makes dating a mathematical equation that could take years to find the solution to. I’m still working on my solution and let me tell you — I suck at math.

I’m going to be 25 years old and I still have yet to be in a serious relationship despite having qualities I think would be attractive to a potential prospect: having an affinity for cheap beer and swearing like a truck driver.

All kidding aside, besides my unique raunch I’m also creative, passionate, goal-oriented, independent, etc. 

That begs the question I’m sure y’all able bodied peeps are curious about: how do us disabled folk go about finding a date / boyfriend? Simple. We do what everyone does: download Tinder, Bumble, or any other popular “dating app.”

Now we’re getting to the climax: why dating apps are a nightmare for people with disabilities. 

Despite knowing what I know and what I’m about to tell you, each time I go on a dating app I get a little buzz of hope in my belly, “Maybe I’ll find a cute guy and we’ll hit it off right away and get married and have kids. Oh wait, maybe not kids just yet. Let’s start with a pet.. that’s probably more socially acceptable.” You know, normal thoughts when opening a dating app. 

Let’s break it down.

*Nick: 31 years old, lives with parents, has a dog face filter as profile pic*

Swipe left 

*Ryan: 24 years old, all photos are him chugging a Nattie Light (for my not-so-out of college readers, a Nattie Light is Natural Light Beer which is basically water with some hops), is holding a free Harambe banner in profile pic*

Swipe left after shaking head

*Jack: 26 years old, enjoys playing guitar, his bio says he has a business degree and works at a finance firm and indicates he has morals*

Okay, this guy seems decent, swipe right. 

A notification pops up: Jack messaged you. 

We start chatting and the excitement of finding a decent guy in a sea of duds is building. I know both my girls with & without disabilities can relate. But, the excitement is going to wear off any second once Jack does the thing that most guys do to people with disabilities on dating apps: asks about sex or disability in a condescending way. Something my able bodied counterparts cannot relate to. 

I could write a novel on the crazy things guys have said to me on dating apps.  

I’ve discovered that it’s not so much the questions that bother me. It’s the fact that these men are asking these questions with the preconceived notion that we want to be with them. This is a perfect example of an ableism cross section between able bodied men and disabled woman in the dating world: these men assume we’re lucky if we get they’re attention and that we’re desperate or NEED them.

I know my worth and standards. Just because I can’t walk and you can does not by any means make you worthy of dating me. 

For that reason, dating apps are a nightmare for me and so many others who have a disability. You might be thinking: if you don’t like dating apps, go the traditional route and meet someone at a book club.

First of all, if you’re in a book club that’s awesome because reading is great. But let’s get real. How many 20 year olds find a boyfriend at book club..

Besides that, I honestly don’t even know how to approach the traditional route because I didn’t grow up in that era. I grew up where all my friends/peers find dates on an app. We are living and thriving on apps and through technology. I shouldn’t have to seek out other options because men are uneducated about disability and dating and I think it’s time we do something about it. 


Men: if you’re on a dating app and swipe right on someone with a disability, don’t start rolling out the sex and disability questions. It seems like common sense but y’all do it.. every annoying time. Maybe ask those more intimate questions when you reach that level in the relationship. There are so many beautiful, smart, independent women with disabilities in the world looking for love and all you sometimes good intentioned men are missing out on potential partners. Disability or not, we’re all human and we all want one fundamental thing: to be loved.

In reading this I’m hoping you can help make our solution to dating a little easier to find. Let’s start wife-ing up more disabled women..

Sincerely,

A worthy, SINGLE, independent, beautiful disabled woman

Instagram: wheelchair_rapunzel