LIFE OF A BACHELOR
By now, another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and I’m still single. I don’t usually mind being single. In fact, I rather enjoy it. But I struggle so hard sometimes with “owning my okayness.” It’s not easy seeing other people at different points in their relationships and working their way through them together. It makes me feel like maybe there’s something missing.
I have plenty of lady friends, and many of them mostly think favorably of me. But it’s been a long time since anyone has been interested in me romantically, and it’s something that I’ve had to learn to be okay with. It can be depressing when I’m feeling particularly inadequate, like “How come no one wants me like that?”
I’ll be honest, I haven’t always had such good luck being in a relationship. Part of my problem is that I’m too eager to please. I end up giving too much of myself too soon before I’m ready as I put the other person’s needs ahead of my own. I would take the issues that they were dealing with head on, and before long, their problems became my problems. As a result, nearly all of my relationships became very one-sided as I gave a lot of myself to make things work and didn’t get much back, and I ended up disappointing myself when things fell apart at the end.
Sometimes I need to come back down to earth and remind myself that my needs are important too. Yes, it can be exciting when you’re first getting to know someone and you’re eager to take that next step. But I shouldn’t always need to be in a relationship to be happy. My happiness should not depend so much on other people. Sometimes I can be all I need.
It’s usually a good idea to take some time to take care of yourself, or even treat yourself. And that can look different to everybody. Sometimes it’s a shower or a nap. I know I usually feel better after eating because food doesn’t disappoint me the way that people do. Maybe tending to some of your other needs will spark some joy when you don’t feel your best mentally. Try out a new hair color, or shop for something that will make you feel desirable when you wear it.
Something else to consider is our standards. It’s okay to have standards. It’s normal to have expectations. But how realistic are they? We should all be able to identify what we want and what we don’t want in a relationship. Communication is important. If someone tries to force something in a direction you’re not ready to go in, it’s okay to say so. No one should be making you feel guilty for having standards.
I noticed when I first started dating that our society mostly doesn’t hold out much hope for people with disabilities when it comes to relationships. They usually don’t think someone with a disability can find someone to go out with long term, or even marry or have children with, if that’s what they want. But we’ve all seen it happen. We know it can be done. We all have certain needs and certain desires. It’s part of what makes us human. It’s perfectly acceptable for someone with a disability to express those needs and desires with their partner in a safe and responsible way without anyone making them feel embarrassed to even bring it up.
So go out there and love yourselves. And when you’re ready, find someone who can accept you as you are and love you for you, not just bits and pieces, and not just because they think they can get something out of you without having to work for it.
If you are self advocate and would like to share a blog post with us please email Laurie Coldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org
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