Due to stigma, many of society tend to feel that persons without disabilities are better than persons with disabilities. Such perceptions provide a fertile breeding ground for discrimination against persons with disabilities, one of the daily challenges they have to deal with. They expect such from other people but not their partners. Therefore, if you are a person without a disability dating a person with disability and consider yourself superior to them, consider yourself single as you have already lost them. Your partner has to withstand many prejudices because of their disability. The last thing they expect from you as their partner is an extension of the discrimination.
Your partner may need your help occasionally to do some things. However, you may be tempted to take over their lives because of their disability by being overly helpful. You find yourself doing everything for them, not because they have requested you to, but because you feel sorry for them. Such infantilizing is a deal breaker when dating a person with a disability. Always remember that they are mature people capable of making decisions and living independently; allow them to be so. Unless asked to, refrain from offering assistance.
Persons with disabilities handle a lot of discrimination daily. They are wary of how society views them as helpless, burdensome, and dependent. Consequently, they tend not to accept help and goodwill easily, especially from a non-disabled person. Therefore, you need a lot of patience when dating a person with disability. The love feelings may be mutual, but they may take time to acknowledge and reciprocate. Amid all their uncertainty about your true intentions as a partner, the last thing they need is your impatience. They do not need you to rush them; they need you to be patient and reassuring.
Many people doubt and fail to acknowledge the feelings of persons with disabilities. Such invalidation makes persons with disabilities feel worthless and inferior. They may take that from the prejudicial society but will certainly not take it from a partner. In a world that is constantly fighting them, the last thing a person with disability needs from a relationship is invalidation. Instead, they need validation, love, and reassurance. They need you as their partner to be a safe space for them where their feelings are acknowledged. Anything contrary to that is a deal breaker.
Speaking for Persons With Disabilities
Dating a person with disability may make one feel as if they have become “one of them,” and thus entitled to speak for them. However, dating a person with disability does not grant you the ability to completely understand fully what it is like to live with a disability. Only a person with disability has that understanding. Therefore, the tendency to speak for your person with disability partner and others like him can ruin your relationship because it amounts to patronizing. Only Persons with disabilities can speak objectively about their experiences. Persons without disabilities can only advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities.