Hey everyone, today’s blog is going to be about interabled love. Now, I’m a few weeks late on the topic. Ever since Dr. Phil shared on his show how he views specific disabled/able-bodied relationships or interabled love (before this I didn’t even know there was a name for it. My relationships are just that…relationships. I will never understand why everything needs a label or title.) It has been a hot button topic. In his statement, during the show, he told a guest who happens to be an able-bodied woman dating a disabled man that their relationship a hundred out of a hundred times will not work and that she would either need to be his lover or his caregiver, but she couldn’t be both. This sent the disabled community into a tizzy. Myself included. It was rude and poorly worded.
My initial reaction was “how could he say that? He couldn’t possibly believe that.” I was furious. Because it normally has a negative connotation and a lot of us assume this will be our life. After, taking some time to think about it all; contrary to popular belief what he said has some truth to it. Many in today’s society, our family and friends feel the exact same way. Even some of our own peers in the community agree. As disabled men and women, we can not sit and say that we are absolutely 100% confident with finding love with someone who could care less about our disabilities. We are not. That’s the main thing we worry about honestly. Why? Because just like able-bodied people we have to wonder if the person we choose to be with is really around for us. If they can handle what our lives consist of, and for some, there’s care-taking involved. Some people will start off saying “yes, it’s no problem…I love you!”
However, down the line, they could feel like it’s too much and make you feel as if you are becoming a burden, and begin to feel trapped. This can then lead to mental, verbal, and even physical abuse or neglect. This goes for us as well though. Some times it’s hard to accept a disability whether you’re born with it or injured, and that can make us negative, angry, and feel like we’re worthless. Also, it brings to the forefront the dreadful “burden” word. Yes, we feel like we’ve become a burden to the people that love us and we start shutting them out and succumbing to our anger. That’s not right. Because all it takes is a good support system, and a willingness to adapt and help one another adjust as well. It works!
There are many successful interabled couples out there, that despite one having a disability fight through the ups and downs and make it work. Anyone of the couples can attest to this.
My most recent and longest relationship (just hit 10 years) I loved him and still love him for loving me for Tiffany. He had the willingness to adapt and adjust to being with someone with a disability. As soon as he showed any interest in me while we were in the friends’ stage and we were talking. The first thing I did was talk to him about my disability. He then had the opportunity to ask any questions he may have had, or do his research. This way no one was blindsided or led on. Now, just because this is how I choose to handle my disability and dating doesn’t mean you have to. But ALWAYS be truthful.
I spoke with my boyfriend the other day about this and I asked him what made him fall in love with me? And at any point does he feel like a caregiver or like he had to take on the role? His response was, “I fell in love with your heart and determination not to let your disability stop you from living your life. No, I never feel like I am a caregiver or like I had to be a caregiver because you won’t let me you are very independent. But in the same breath when you need help you ask. Helping you is not like “oh, I have to do this for you…it’s more like I want to help you.” This means so much to me because if you know me you know I cherish my independence because I have worked hard to get it. I cherish him as well because he definitely doesn’t have to but he does and he sees me and only me…the wheelchair means nothing. I’ve learned so much about myself with him and I’m so grateful to have experienced this love . He’s my best friend, even through our ups and downs it remains..I still. STILL. The other piece to my puzzle. My loyalty and devotion is forever.
With every relationship (able-bodied, disabled, interabled) there’s going to be a time where one person has to do more than the other. Taking care of each other comes with the territory. Disabled, or injured and elderly it takes time to adjust, and figure out. As long as you have a strong support system, and a willingness to adjust and a willing partner and you support one another #100outof100 times it will work.