Dating and having a relationship with disabled people
The partners of disabled people can also be effected in different ways from being in a relationship with that person.Sometimes the relationship started when both of the people were able bodied and the other person later became disabled.
Or perhaps the relationship started when the other person was already disabled and the other partner already knew this.
Which ever way that you got together with your disabled partner it will take a little bit of adapting to life with that person.
Sometimes partners may act as unofficial - or official carers - to their loved ones. This can be rewarding and help the person to become a more caring and compassionate human being as they learn about disabilities and the difficulties and differences that disabled people might go through.
However, having a disabled partner can also be emotionally and physically draining and the partners may need someone to talk to about it themselves. There are a number of support groups just for carers and the partners of disabled people.
Perhaps of a disbled partner may feel guilty that they can't do more to help that person with their disability. Sometimes they feel frustrated that they can't rescue or save the other person that they're in a relationship with. They might even feel guilty that they are able bodied. If their partner's disabilities requires them to use a wheelchair they may sometimes be exhausted from puching them or lifting the chair around.
It is worth pointing out here that all the same emotional rules of loving relationship apply and that one person's disabilty should not be used to emotionally manipulate or abuse the other person. Yes, this can come from both sides. For example, the disabled person might take advantage of the other person to do things for them. Or perhaps the able-bodied partner will say something 'If only you were different'. These kind of emotional games happen in relationships between all kinds of people and if you recognise these it's important to seek advice from a friend or professional such as a relationship counsellor.
Moving on, one of the most important things is to learn about your disabled partner's
condition and understand how they are feeling and why ther are feeling a certain way. Education about their disability will help to
overcome frictions and misunderstandings. For example, a common symptom
for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis to sleep a lot. If a partner os somebody with Rheumatoid Arthritis is
aware of this - and doesn't just think that he or she is just being
lazy - then the relationship will be more harmonious.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Help
A website offering information, help, advice and hope for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Able-bodied partners of disabled people might also feel frustrated at the other person for not being able to do the things that they do, such as physical activities together. One of the most important parts of any loving relationship is being able to do things together. People in relationships with a disabled person should therefor find an activity that both can enjoy.
Activities that disabled people can do varies enormous from person to person. One disabled person might be able to go sky diving or even compete in the Olympics as Tanni Grey Thompson (right) does. Another disabled person might not cope as well with their disability and only be able to manage a trip to the cinema. However bad the disability, it is almost guaranteed that there is something that both members of the relationship can participate in. Keep trying different things and keep looking.
Sex is an important part of any relationship and that is no different for disabled people. It is important that the able-bodied person realises some of the physical limitations that the disabled partner may have when it comes to sex. They may also be uncomfortable being naked due to their disability. Likewise it's important that the disabled partner understands the sexual needs of the other person in the relationship. Talk about the issue if you need to and be opena bout needs and feelings.
One of the last things to point out in this hub is that partners of disabled people might also be effected by changes, adaptations and alterations that have to be made around the house to accommodate the other person. This could be anything from a new bedroom on the ground floor because he or she cannot climb the stairs or something as small having plastic suction handles in the bathroom. The other person in the relationship might not appreciate the way the new wheelchair ramp looks at the front of the house or having to have the door widened so the wheelchair can fit through. All of these alterations for disabled people cost money, too, and that can put added strain on the relationship.
In conclusion, it is perfectly possible for two people to have happy relationships while one of them is disabled - just like two disabled people or two able-bodied people can. It takes a bit of time and effort from both parties to understand the others feelings but both people can do it. Good luck!
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