Dating is always tough no matter who you are. Trying to find someone you connect with and have a good time with can be difficult. As a single man with a disability, I do have certain challenges to overcome. The good news is that if you go into dating with the right mindset, you’ll have a better chance of meeting someone great.
My disability is a big part of who I am, but that shouldn’t be the focus when finding a meaningful relationship. Whether I am on a date or randomly meet someone that I am interested in dating, I tend to act like I am a regular person and not focus on my disability or what I can’t do. I wait for them to ask me questions about it. Once they do, I try to be as open as possible about my disability and give them as much information as I can, so they don’t have to keep asking me questions. By getting it out in the open right there, this lets the other person know, “Hey, this is who I am.” Then, she can decide if she is still interested and wants to try to pursue dating or a relationship. In any potential dating scenario or relationship, always be yourself. Yet, don’t let your disability overshadow any progress of the relationship. It’s a fine balance to maintain.
One of the biggest challenges in dating is making sure the places you go to are accessible. If a girl I like suggests a restaurant or bar that I already know is not accessible for my wheelchair, I don’t make a big deal about it, but I just tell her, “Hey, I’m sorry but that place is not going to work for me. Could we look at another place?” If the person really likes you, eventually they’ll start to think like you do in terms of making sure a place is accessible.
When it comes to picking up women, I don’t really have a favorite place because it can happen anywhere! Restaurants, bars, the library, museums, grocery stores, sporting events… there are tons of great places to meet people, especially living near the city. I believe that if you see someone interesting, go talk to him or her and see what happens. I know that may be hard for some people, to put yourself out there like that. I choose to live life without limits and no regrets, so I’m all about taking a risk. You never know what could happen! Some girls like guys who make the first move. Be confident, smile and have a sense of humor about things.
When dating in power wheelchair, having iLevel® makes a huge difference. With ilevel seating on my power wheelchair, it raises me up 12 inches, so I am eye to eye with girls. This gives me confidence, because I am talking directly with a girl, instead of looking up at her and her looking down on me. It’s a thousand times easier to connect with a girl when you’re eye to eye. It brings you closer to together, and helps for the girl to see YOU, not your disability.
About Bryan Anderson: Bryan grew up and resides in Illinois. Injured by an IED in October 2005, Bryan is one of the few triple amputees to survive his injuries in Iraq. He is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and a spokesperson for USA Cares, which is focused on assisting post 9-11 veterans. Click here to learn more about Bryan.