Ask GayDemon: Wheels of Fortune

I use wheelchairs to get around and feel like I'm too much of a burden if I find my right guy. Am I paranoid?

-Not so freewheeling

I'm sure there are people who don't use a wheelchair who laze around not going any damn place. It's how you get around, but separate from that, it's about who you are and where you choose to go. You haven't met the guy in question yet and you're getting around fine independently, unless you run into any non-wheelchair accessible spot. But hell if that happens, you can file a complaint which is always fun. Maybe win a lawsuit then you can splurge on taking him out to a fancy restaurant. Just avoid anything with either Olive or Garden in the name.

So I'm trying to think how you would perceive it as a burden on someone else. Imagining it would be that any extra time it takes to get around that guy would be waiting. But he'd be spending time with you! Which he should love doing! If he's focusing on the things you supposedly can't do, instead of what you can do, that's a horrible guy. You want someone attracted to who you are, not disappointed by who you're not. That's true for anyone.

A substantial percentage of disabilities aren't visible. There are couples everywhere in which one or both people have some sort of disability, physical or otherwise. I think where it can become a burden if if the person with the disability projects shame (that burden feeling) onto the situation. If you haven't worked through those feelings, on some level it may be best to face those and just focus on making new friends, not on dating. Good to come from a place of strength.

Though it's also okay to just seek new experiences and sort it out along the way. Still I suggest leading with at least 51% confidence.

There may be some educational moments as he starts to see the world from your point of view, vicariously experience challenges you face. And he may need to balance empathy with your wheelchair not being a big issue. It is an issue for you and it can be an issue in any dating and relationahip and sex situation. That's not saying big or small issue, negative or positive, just reality that it exists. And if there's open communication, it can reduce any potential negatives and increase connection.

Personality, I'd much prefer a relationship based in reality than in some attempt to approximate some gay dating reality TV show (that doesn't even exist anyhow). Give guys (and yourself) a chance. Flirt. Is running over a guy's foot a good opening move?

And also consider there may be times where he'll be a burden on you, like if you're into playing wheelchair basketball and it's too hard for him. Maybe if he's lucky he can make out with you after the game.

You're not a burden. You're you. And you will definitely want to avoid anyone who would look down on you for a disability, or act like you should be so lucky they deign to date you. Those jerks treat all sorts of guys badly, wheelchair or not, though they may think you'll put up with it. I think the more you talk to people about their dating experiences, guys in wheelchairs and not, you'll find commonalities of experience, including some of the doubts you're feeling now. Put yourself out there though. You're worth it. Majorly.

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