Cupid Struck Online

Valentine’s Day is here once again. Normally I’m not really into the whole thing, but this year I am. I suppose it has a large part to do with recently meeting and moving in with my new love. My sweetie is disabled too, and we found one another on the dating website, disabled4dating. This is my dating story of fear, taking chances, being honest, and finding love.

Way back in July 2011, I sought out dating websites for people with disabilities. Now, I can’t really say I was looking for love…I was just kind of checking things out, seeing who was out there. Did any cute, smart, generous men exist? And better yet, did any of those of men exist within 100 miles of me? Would I even be able to achieve the best scenario: cute, smart, generous, within driving distance of me, and appreciate me for exactly who I am? I wasn’t crossing my fingers, but I decided to post a profile on dating4disabled.com (d4d, for short, my sweetie informed me). I perused the website and saw a couple of men right away who caught my attention; then the worry set in: Am I good enough for them? Would they think I was smart enough? Was I attractive enough (I’m not exactly thin or a ‘girly-girl’)? Would they criticize me for being between jobs? I wasn’t sure about any of it. I still took a chance.

Putting yourself out there is scary. I weighed the pluses and minuses before posting my profile and pictures:

Pluses:

  • Meeting the love of my life
  • Getting a free meal (yes, I’m old fashioned…it’s nice when the other person pays)
  • Having good internet dating stories to tell your friends (remember the guy who kept calling you “Duude”?)

Minuses:

  • Being rejected
  • Rejecting the other person
  • Being rejected

What the heck, I started checking guys out and emailed them. I found Wyatt (@wbessing) right away and sent him a message. The way I approach relationships with men or women, friends or in dating, is with brutal honesty. This doesn’t always work for everyone—people who like to play games, for instance. If I like you, I will tell you, if I don’t, I will gently break it off (no tears involved, don’t worry). I appreciate people who mean what they say, but who also are not afraid to say it. I have to admit, I haven’t found too many people who have that same philosophy. Good thing Wyatt appreciates honesty.

Since we are talking about honesty here, I have to admit that some people’s disabilities had me concerned. I never dated someone with a physical disability before, so I really didn’t know if that would work for me. I always considered myself to be an open-minded person, but when it came to dating someone in a wheelchair or in crutches I felt like I was a little discriminating. I didn’t want people staring at us (I am a more behind the scenes person, and don’t like to draw attention to myself). I didn’t want kids making fun of us behind our backs. I wasn’t sure if I would still be able to hold hands with my partner in public if he were using them to walk. All these worries were swarming all around in my head, so what did I do? I took it on just like I would have if I were going to a job interview: go for it now, deal with it later. I would say this worked out pretty well—since I’m no longer single.

Wyatt has Spina Bifida, which, at the time of meeting him, I really knew nothing about. I knew people with Spina Bifida—kids; they walked with crutches and braces and couldn’t really get around very well. And call me shallow…but I thought Wyatt was super cute, so I really didn’t care if he walked with assistance or not.

Let’s jump ahead to our first date: we met at his house and went to a restaurant. When I drove up, he was standing on his porch—he seemed shorter than what I expected. I remembered the 5-hour phone call we had the night before and forgot about the height difference (it’s hard to find men taller me when I’m 5’ 9 ½”, anyway). We already had a strong connection with our interests, hobbies, work, values, senses of humor, etc. Dinner was amazingly tasty and the conversation was amazingly comfortable (he paid, like the true gentleman he is). For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel nervous-I was at ease.

After dinner, we went to a park and watched birds at the duck pond. This was a good experience for me because it gave us a chance to walk together; I found out just how his disability affects him. To my surprise, I didn’t really notice it because I was too focused on our conversation and enjoyment. Yes, I did notice people staring at us and kids giving us bewildered looks, but I chose not to focus on that; rather, I focused on the present moment and on us. I had a fantastic time on our date, and the rest is history.

@wbessing & @srlaugtug say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

 

This relationship has been a whirlwind for me. We met a little over a month ago and I have already moved in with him. We have a life together. A note on this: I am incredibly gradual when it comes to transitions and in dating (I would have never have thought to move in with someone until at least 9 months of dating), but as someone recently told us, “When you know, you know.” And we know.

 

So, I have two questions this time:

1. What have been your fears about dating others with disabilities (it’s okay to be honest, we are all friends here)?

2. Have you found love online? What were your best and/or worst experiences?

 

Online disabled dating websites: I personally can’t vouch for any of them except Dating4Disabled.com

Dating4Disabled (where I found love)

Dating for the Disabled

Soulful Encounters

Enable Romance

Enable Love

Date Disabled

Top 10 Dating Sites Reviews

 

11 thoughts on “Cupid Struck Online”

  1. Sarah, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You so deserve all this happiness. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for your honesty as well, it helps for others (me) to know others have gone through some of the same things your battling with. It’s scary to put yourself out there for many of the reasons you stated. And by being so open I’m sure you have made more people think about relationships then just me. Your so beautiful on the inside and out. Oh forgive me Congrats to you to Wyatt didn’t mean to leave you out. So perfect for Valentines Day. Such a fairytail. I hope that someday my Mr Right comes along and I can dance around on clouds.
    Renae

  2. Sarah,
    Congratulations to you both. May your love be long, happy, and fulfilling 🙂

    By the time I met my husband Wesley, I was 28, he was 25, and I had not dated many people at all. I had also given up almost completely on the prospect of finding someone to love. My relationship with Wes was my first relationship with a person who also had a disability.
    We were comfortable with each other almost immediately. It felt so good to be able to talk about our disabilities and not have to worry about being misunderstood. I found him to be kind, gentle, extremely generous, funny, (You know, all those things 🙂 All those things I never thought I would ever find in a man.
    Fast forward ten years. We have now been happily married for 8 years, have a 7 year old cat, delightful nieces and nephews and are looking forward to even more wonderful years. The future is wide open and bright!!

  3. Once in a while, a story will make you smile – ear to ear – and this is one of those stories!!

    I loved every word of it – it’s safer to not take a chance, but oh my, what the rewards can be if you do take a chance!!

    Congratulations!!

    Aaron

  4. Sarah,

    This is an incredible story. Congratulations! I am so glad that you had the courage to tell it, and your honesty. It is truly incredible. I just met a girl online, and it has been awesome. I worry about all of the things that you mentioned. Slowly, I will get over it.

  5. Thank you Sarah, not only for your informative and supportive article on your personal experiences; but also your list of dating sites at the end. D4D has moved to a ‘for profit’ business model so may not be as good as it was when it was a free site. There are many truly nice folks on that site though…they just cannot afford the fee so cannot talk to anyone. Cannot speak for the other sites as just found out about them. Must add that this site is fantastic as both names and pictures are here so one knows one is meeting real people who live in the real world. Cannot leave this comment without a credit to Renae, who in her own way clued me in to this wonderful site. May she prosper and have many pain free days.

  6. Hello Sarah,
    I enjoyed your article. I was lucky and found my soul mate when I was young. We have been married for decades. Congratulations! I wish you two the best!

  7. well all i have to say is , im so happy you found someon to spend time with i hope you enjoy every moment together, im happy for you both.

  8. Congratulations, Sarah.

    I have been single since 2005. I became disabled in 2009. I lost half my income and have been trying to get by, Dating has been on the backburner because I needed to take care of myself first. But here’s the problem I’ve found: Although I may want to be with someone and get married before I die, my small income really isn’t particularly attractive to a woman in her 40s or 50s who wants to be with someone who is financially stable, Just paying for that first date requires squeezing it into my monthly budget. In addition, the physical limitations I have require someone who is understanding and patient. Trying internet dating sites also tend to be expensive. I would love to hear Wyatt’s story for the male perspective.

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