Social Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Would you date someone with a physical disability?

Asked by SuperMouse (30713 points ) August 11th, 2011 from iPhone

Jude’s question about dating someone with a mental illness I would link it but I’m using the iPhone and my surprise at all of the folks saying they wouldn’t, got me wondering about this. Would you get involved with someone with a physical disability or chronic ailment? Why or why not?

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40 Answers

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have. So when his car died on a freezing day, and I hauled him out then ran over my foot with his wheelchair, that was the last time. this was many years ago.

FutureMemory's avatar

I think I would, yes. There are plenty of people out there that seem healthy, but once you get to know them they’re ‘disabled’, emotionally. Better a broken body than a broken spirit.

Moldychesee's avatar

yes. I don’t care, so long as he loves me. Looks don’t matter, it’s whats on the inside.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have dated someone with a physical disability in the past, and I would do it again.

plethora's avatar

No…no apologies. We all have our preferences.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes…I have found that people who face challenges in life I cannot dream of, somehow rise above it all and embrace life in a way I cannot begin to fathom. And being next to them or simply knowing them can open your eyes to an entirely different dynamic about what it means to be able to wake up, walk and breathe without a physical challenge that otherwise healthy people seemingly take for granted. Get to know somebody like this and you will see life in a whole new light. LITS

SavoirFaire's avatar

I almost did once, but it didn’t work out. I agree with @plethora, however, that those who wouldn’t have nothing for which they need to apologize. We all have our preferences, and there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to date someone so long as you treat that person as a human being.

Jude's avatar

Yes.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I honestly have no idea. I have never had the opportunity to date someone with a physical disability that I know of. There are certainly folks who some people consider physically sub par that I have been wildly attracted to, but that isn’t the same thing, though I would say it is comparable.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I will cross that bridge if and when I ever come to it. I truly believe that one persons disability is another persons superpower. I recently met a wonderful woman who is deaf. In a short time of learning about what it means to be deaf, I actually became jealous of her abilities beyond my own. Rocked my world upside down flip flop from my earlier perspective. I just had no idea what I was missing.

Blackberry's avatar

Depends, I don’t know if I could do missing limbs, but blind or deaf, yeah.

Mariah's avatar

I would prefer to. He’d be a hell of a lot more understanding about my various neuroses.

For marriage though, I guess one of us has to be able to work, so that will play into it.

tranquilsea's avatar

Yes. One of the most beautiful people I have ever known was stricken with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy and was in a wheelchair within months. I would have dated him in a heartbeat if he had let anyone get close to him. He up and disappeared overnight and I was devastated. I recently got into contact with him through Facebook some 25 years later and he apologized for disappearing. He’s still a beautiful person.

Vunessuh's avatar

I would, yes.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes, I would.

tinyfaery's avatar

It would depend on what type of physical disability. My mom had MS and it was hard to watch her steadily deteriorate and then die. I’m not sure I could deal with that, or something that might require me to perform basic hygienic tasks.

chewhorse's avatar

If they didn’t have an attitude (chip on their shoulder) I wouldn’t have a problem. Character is the foundation for success (of love and business).. Good character and personality has no room for attitude. On the whole, the disabled are more human than most of us.

Pandora's avatar

I really don’t know. Probably not though. Because some sort of attraction would have to be there first and I never looked at a person with a missing limb or a badly scared face and said that person is hot. Now as Blackberry said, blind, deaf or some minor thing like a missing toe would probably not make a difference to being attracted to a person.
Now would I stay married to a person who becomes disabled? Yes. By then I’m already in love so it wouldn’t make a difference.

lillycoyote's avatar

I would, I think, consider it at least, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. It would really depend on the cthe person and the circumstances. It hasn’t come up that much, though I did go on one date, a long time ago, with a guy who had lost his right hand in Vietnam.

athenasgriffin's avatar

It depends on the severity of the condition and whether if would get worse with age. I wouldn’t want to watch someone die. It would kill me to not be able to help them.

But, if I had a boyfriend or husband who became physically disabled, I would never leave them. That is what relationships are for. Having someone to depend on.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It wouldn’t be a reason not to date them.

Bellatrix's avatar

Again, it depends on the person. If the person (who happens to have a disability) is a fantastic person and we gel on other levels, then yes. I know some truly amazing people who also have a disability. They certainly aren’t letting whatever it is hold them back.

augustlan's avatar

I’m pretty certain I would. In junior high, I had a huge crush on a guy who lost most of his fingers on one hand while I knew him. I didn’t like him any less afterward. One of my friends was married to a guy who had lost both legs as a teenager, and he was an awesome person. If he wasn’t already married to her, and I had been single, I’d have snapped him up for myself.

Seelix's avatar

Sure, I would. That wouldn’t matter to me.

I might have qualms about dating someone with a terminal illness, but that being said, I wouldn’t leave a partner if they came down with something terminal. I just might not start a new relationship with someone knowing that they won’t be around for long. I don’t know how to word that so that it doesn’t sound cold, but I guess that’s that.

ucme's avatar

Now? No, or else it would be I who had the physical disability, the wife would chop off my penis with a meat cleaver :¬(
When I was untethered however is a different matter, sure I would have. Never got the chance that’s all.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am really surprised at the difference between the answers here and the ones in the thread asking this same question about mental illness. I wonder if it is more politically incorrect to admit that one wouldn’t be interested in dating someone with a physical disability then a mental illness. Although to be completely fair, many of the folks who answered no in that thread have not responded in this one.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@SuperMouse I didn’t know about the other thread. I think the difference may be something to do with taking advantage of the person.

A couple of years ago I met a nice girl that made it obvious she wanted to hook up with me. She was very young for me in my opinion. I avoided her because at 24 years old, I felt her attraction to me at 46 years was more infatuation than real interest. My reluctance was more related to how that would make me look creepy, like a dirty old man taking advantage of a young girl. But my friends pushed me to spend some time with her and see what happened. And the more I rejected her advances, the more she pursued me.

So, to get this all past me, I spent some time getting to know her. Light stuff like lunch heavy on conversation. Although her youthful charm was cute, I never found myself attracted to her. But there was something else. In our time together I began to notice something kind of off? She repeated herself a lot, multiple times. She was very fidgety with arranging things on the table and her facial expression would often go to wild extreme. Our conversations revealed that she had Aspergers borderlining on Autism.

As sweet as she was, I felt even more like a creepy old man taking advantage of a girl way too young for me. It didn’t help matters that one of the waiters I knew at the restaurant asked if she was my daughter. Well, I’m still friends with the girl and talk to her a couple of times a year to say hello. But the combination of circumstance was just too much for me to accept as a proper relationship.

Perhaps had she been older… I don’t know. I don’t really find the symptoms unattractive. Actually her personality was kind of cute and unique. Her Aspergers was the most attractive thing about her. I like quirky girls. My issue is more of a personal thing, not wanting to project the impression of an old guy getting his jollies from naive young girls. I don’t know. I don’t know nan.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@SuperMouse It is understandable how anyone can wonder about the varying differences on the two threads. I don’t think it has anything to do with political correctness.

Looking back on all of the people I’ve met that were living with some type of disability, most of the ones with a physical challenge were fairly obvious. I’ve grown up with and then later worked with several a variety of people that had a physical disability. For those that we can see on the surface, we get over the shock, ask questions, and learn to appreciate them for who they are. The media is filled with heart-warming stories about people with physical disabilities that become heroes for their accomplishments. The Special Olympics might be a good example.

Mental disabilities are often not so visible. There was a guy from a dept. that worked closely with ours. It was several years before I learned that he has OCD and what that was really all about. It now irks me when someone uses the term OCD loosely.

When people can function quite well on the surface while dealing with a disability that isn’t visually obvious, it often doesn’t get discussed. Thus, it is rare that we fully grasp what their real life is like unless in the medical fields or having a friend or family member living with one.

The other challenge is that a physical disability is pretty much whatever it is. A potential partner either accepts it or moves on. Another guy at work only had the upper half of his left arm due to a drug that his mother took while pregnant (‘60s) that caused all kinds of fetal development issues. He didn’t look upon it as a challenge. It just was. His girlfriend (now wife) accepted it as well as he did, probably because of the way he handled it and the fact that it had no negative impact on her life with him.

A mental disability can be a whole other matter. From what I understand, there can be ups and downs in a person’s behavior and emotions. While some people may be more open to riding that roller coaster out of love, I suspect a fair amount would prefer not to.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@SuperMouse: I didn’t answer the mental illness thread, but I think the difference is that a physical disability can be much more easily dealt with. Your husband is in a wheelchair. He knows how to deal with it, and you’re learning. It’s not as if he sometimes can walk for long periods of time and then will suddenly collapse and have no use of his legs at random intervals. However, someone with a mental illness, unless they are absolutely consistent in their behavior, which is unlikely, is much more difficult to “deal with.” You can always tell if your husband is going to have an issue in certain circumstances and there are nearly always measures in place to make it easier for him. However, with someone with a mental illness, it is much more difficult to determine if they will have an issue or if their illness will suddenly “kick in.”

Also, what @Pied_Pfeffer said.

Mariah's avatar

Those of you who say no, can I inquire a little further?

What if the disability were an “invisible” one? Not something immediately obvious like a missing limb, but something that you don’t notice until you spend a lot of time with the person or the person choses to divulge the information.

What if we add the condition that the disability is chronic – s/he’ll have it forever – but not life-threatening or contagious?

If your answer is still no, why? Is it because you’ll worry a lot? It’ll unnecessarily complicate your life? I’m not judging you, I’m just curious.

Blackberry's avatar

@Mariah I have no problem with disabilities that are hidden or whatever. I just wouldn’t want to deal with certain disabilities that hinder my lifestyle. I like to do active things like hiking. I could still hike with a deaf person (although not with a blind person :(). I’ve seen people that live with a disabled person, paraplegics (sp), people in wheechairs etc.

I feel bad, especially when they’re young, because their youth is kind of being hindered, although they are making a mature and responsible sacrifice (and that’s awesome to take it on).

I kinda feel like a douchebag being shallow, but I can’t do much about it, sorry.

Mariah's avatar

@Blackberry No I think that wanting a partner who can participate in your hobbies is perfectly reasonable, and I’m glad you brought that reason up because I hadn’t thought of it. Many people seek partners with similar interests for the same reason, and of course no one would have a problem with that.

I also want to clarify, though, that some “invisible” diseases are not so invisible in the sense that they can hinder a person from being able to do certain things (due to low energy or other reasons). By invisible I just mean, well, not visible on their person. It can be “visible” in the person’s habits, though.

Blackberry's avatar

@Mariah Yeah, I knew what you mean. For example, being deaf would seem to be one of the invisible disabilities, which would make it easier to handle.

Vunessuh's avatar

@SuperMouse Most people wouldn’t want to date anyone who endangers their life or severely compromises their quality of living. You can find this more so with a mental disorder, not really with a physical disability. Of course it depends on the severity of the illness and how out of control it is. I answered “yes” to the other question and I was thinking of mental illnesses wide across the spectrum as well as those who are sick who do have their shit together. I’ll date someone with a “controlled” mental disorder, but put a sociopath in front of me and I’ll most likely pass.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s the mind and heart and soul that get to me the most, so yeah I would.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Blackberry, I totally understand where you are coming from but I feel compelled to point out that I don’t see being married to my husband as @katawagray mentioned in her awesome answer, he is quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair as a sacrifice. If I want to climb a mountain – or even a flight of stairs for that matter – I go ahead and do it. But even if I do decide not to do certain things because he can’t join me, I still don’t see it as a sacrifice, I see it as making choices based on the ability of the love of my life. FYI, I don’t think you are shallow or a douche bag, you are sharing your opinion and I respect it.

@katawagray, lurve to you for a great answer. It makes sense that with an obvious physical disability what you see is what you get, whereas with a mental illness things could be a bit more of a roller coaster.

@Mariah, I wonder about invisible disabilities too, things like Lupus or MS that can come in spurts while laying in remission for long periods of time. Those might present a bit of a roller coaster ride for those living with them and their families.

tinyfaery's avatar

@SuperMouse Mental illnesses often accompany chronic conditions, like auto-immune diseases. Living with my mother was a constant roller coaster ride. If it wasn’t her health it was her mood. My childhood and adolescent years were not fun, and the older I got the worse it became. One or the other is hard enough. Both sucks ass!

Aethelflaed's avatar

It would depend on the disability. Missing body parts really freak me out, and I’m not proud of it, but I doubt it’s going anywhere, and those people deserve to be with someone who can focus on all their other great body parts. But in a wheelchair? I can’t say it wouldn’t become an issue at some point, because I have no real experience in the matter, but it definitely wouldn’t preclude me from saying yes to a first, second, or third date. Same for deaf and blind.

Mariah's avatar

@SuperMouse Oh definitely, I can fully understand someone not wanting to deal with the stress, heartache, and uncertainty that comes with having a sick loved one. At the same time, I can’t get over how unfair it is that these people who are dealing with unusual challenges are going to have an unusually difficult time finding loving and supportive partners, too. But you can’t really blame anyone for not wanting that kind of stress in their life.

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