Advice 11 Jun
Dating with a Disability: A Few Tips to get Started!
By Rebecca Dubber
Rebecca is a Paralympic medallist, model and communications expert. In this piece, she shares a few quick-fire tips for dating as a disabled person, designed for you to quickly read as a reminder or confidence booster in the uber on your way to the date; we hope this helps you on the journey, but remember, it’s a bit of a roller coaster for everyone.
Dating is a bit of a minefield for most people, but when you have a disability, it’s kind of like someone set fire to the minefield too. Dating when you have a disability can be scary, fear of judgement and rejection is often draining to deal with, and the lack of representation of romantic relationships for disabled people in mainstream media can often make you feel like dating is not something for disabled people.
When I was younger, I always dreamt I’d meet my future husband in a movie-style meet-cute; the reality was that my parents sent me to all-girls high school, and I’m an introverted introvert, so meeting new people, especially boys, gave me anxiety. After a few rejections from boys I had crushes on, I just decided that my meet-cute might not happen the way it does in the movies.
With the rise of dating apps like Bumble and Tinder, I soon realised that they could be great tools for meeting people and establishing their interest before committing to an in-person meeting helped my anxiety. I spent a few years navigating the often treacherous waters of Tinder before meeting my now fiancé, and I happened to learn a few things along the way that I think helped me successfully date using apps as a wheelchair user.
Alt text: A full body shot Couple sitting and embracing on a balcony with the Rebecca’s heads resting against her fiancé Mitchell.
- Be yourself – cliché, I know! But hear me out, pretending to be someone you’re not or hiding aspects about your life like a disability or mobility aide is never going to end well. It’s easy to get caught up in the nice feeling of someone paying attention to you or showering you with compliments. Still, at the end of the day, if you show up to your first date after a few weeks of intense flirting and you’ve forgotten to mention you use a wheelchair, I can tell you from experience it won’t go down well.
This leads nicely to my next point…
- Your disability is an important aspect of your identity, don’t hide it! – Now, I don’t mean ringing it like an alarm bell on your profile, but try to include it somewhere, whether it’s a photo, line in your bio or something that you bring up in conversation. It might be a nice ego boost, to begin with, if you don’t mention your disability, but learn from my experience that adding your disability to your profile is an excellent filter! Yes, my matches decreased when there was a photo of me in my wheelchair, but the conversations I was having were so much nicer, and no one was ghosting me if it came up in conversation because they knew about my chair when they matched with me!
- Rejection sucks, but it makes you stronger – It took me a long time to figure this one out. Rejection stings, and it’s never nice to be ghosted or told it’s not going to work out. Hindsight is 20/20, though, and even though it hurt at the time, I learnt something from each rejection, and it made me stronger and more resilient, which led me closer and closer to meeting my fiancé.
- And finally, dress to impress! Fashion is a fantastic way to express who you are, and it is also a huge factor in informing someone’s first impression of you. Make sure the outfit you choose is something you feel comfortable and confident in – right now; I love the Tommy Hilfiger Empire Blazer on the EveryHuman website as a great option to take you from office to after-work drinks with your hot date! Other picks include the Aries Stripe Shirt Dress! EveryHuman has a great range of adaptable clothing designed to help you be your most comfortable and confident self!
Alt text: Rebecca in her wheelchair & Mitchell sitting sharing a moment in front of their Christmas tree while holding each other.
So there you have it, four tips to help you get started on your online dating journey. As I said at the beginning of this piece, dating can be a bit of a minefield, so I hope you find these tips helpful for your own dating experiences.
Feel cute with Rebecca's top date night picks:
Alt text: Aires Stripe Shirt Dress in Navy & white, with full length buttoning and a wait belt in front of a white background.
Alt text: Granger crested woven shirt in white on a white background.
Alt text: Woman’s midsection wearing Tanga Panty in black & a black top with a grey background.
All pictures: Rebecca Dubber (@rebeccadubber)