from Marco Orlando

PREFACE: This is the third in a series of posts I made online recently as I’ve been contemplating my current situation in life while addressing larger systemic / societal issues that are likely major barriers to many other people with disabilities in similar positions. I get more accomplished when I can talk things out and “think out loud” with someone, but when another person isn’t readily available, sometimes I will go online and give my thoughts and frustrations a voice. I don’t really need anyone to feel sorry for me, but I hope others who read this can relate to what I’m saying.

I’m not so sure what women want in a relationship these days. Truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever been what they really want in someone. It’s been years since anyone has indicated they wanted me that way. “Hookup culture” doesn’t really seem like my style, I know that much. I’ve done the “friends with benefits” thing a couple times, but that arrangement just didn’t feel right to me. I needed more of a commitment from someone than that. But no one I’ve dated or been intimate with was able to give me what I needed.

Let’s be honest, love and romance and dating and relationships are all hard enough for any one person. If you’ve been intimate with someone, that certainly makes things even more complicated, especially if you think you really love someone. Now imagine being someone with a disability. That just adds a whole other monkey wrench to things trying to find that special someone.

Granted, some of us might not always think very clearly sometimes when we experience strong feelings about someone we may be interested in, or someone we may want to date, or someone we may be in a relationship with currently. Even so, it’s not much fun seeing so many of us trying to make sense of the dating world and struggling to find someone who actually wants us in ways that we want to be wanted.

There’s some misconceptions out there that people with a disability are “easy” or “desperate.” And sometimes through no fault of our own, we find ourselves in compromising positions with someone who isn’t a good fit for us, or someone who takes advantage of us, who uses and abuses us. What makes matter worse is so many of us are expected to settle for less than what we deserve because our society thinks we can’t do any better than that, and when someone hurts us or violates us, they seem to think we brought it on ourselves or that we were “asking for it.”

Conversely, a lot of people with a disability usually aren’t included in adult discussions around intimate relationships because our society thinks we either don’t need to know about that stuff or that this stuff shouldn’t interest us. But we’re all human, and we all have the same unique needs and desires to love and to be loved by someone and to express those feelings in natural and healthy ways. It shouldn’t matter if someone has a disability or not. As long as they’re not hurting anybody else, I don’t see anything wrong with two consenting adults being intimate with each other once they’ve established their boundaries and communicated to each other what they’re comfortable with and what they’re not comfortable with. It isn’t any of my business what any two people in an intimate relationship together are doing behind closed doors in the privacy of their own homes.

At our very core, people with disabilities are still people worth knowing and loving, and we all deserve someone in our lives who wants to know us and love us, someone who sees the good in us even when we struggle to see the good in ourselves, someone who motivates us and encourages us to be the best that we can be.

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The Speaking Up For Us (SUFU) blog contains views and opinions of each individual writer. The views and opinions expressed through these channels are purely the bloggers’ own and does not reflect the opinion of SUFU as an organization or any SUFU staff member.

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