Online dating as a disabled person: Heartbreak or happy ever after?

G’day friends and welcome to another week and another blog!

I hope you all enjoyed the blog last week! I had so much fun writing it!!

This week is a 180 degree turn in terms of topics. If you read the title you will know why.

That’s right my friends, I entered the world of online dating! As someone who is sightly old fashioned and a tad traditional, online dating was something I never thought I would do!

That was until February or so of this year, when I decided to just throw caution to the wind and just give it a go.

So this week, I am talking all about why I signed up, how I approach online dating, my boundaries, and whether or not I am officially off the market!

Why on earth did I give online dating a go?

an arial pic of a couple laying in the middle on a love heart drawn in white sand. The aqua ocean is on the left hand side of the picture.
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives:

Dating is a scary concept to a lot of people, regardless of if you are disabled or not. That goes for me as well. I dated only once in high-school and that lasted a month. So I have been single for about 7 years. Which honestly isn’t a bad thing!

Over those 7 years, I did a lot of inner work, as I realised I was looking for someone to love me when I couldn’t love myself. I was full of insecurities, self loathing and wasn’t in a good head space, when I dated all those years ago. Not to mention I had ‘friends’ telling me I should beg the guy to get back together with me or I should lower my standards in men as not every guy will want to date someone disabled. That last bit I think was what made me believe I was incapable or unworthy of being loved. But not once did I consider lowering my standards, and still haven’t!

So I got to work on loving myself and creating a person who did not need a man to make her life complete. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love being single!! I don’t have to compromise on whose family we see when for Christmas, can watch whatever movies or tv shows I want (ie watching Outlander just to gawk at Jamie Fraser without shame), and have the entire bed to myself!

What made me start online dating was the fact I had reached that point where I am happy single, but I would be happy being with someone. Dating wasn’t something that I was relying on to make me happy. I had my studies, my family, horse riding, and MPC that made me happy. But having that special someone would complete my crazy world. So off I went and downloaded an app.

My online dating non-negotiables

a couple having a picnic on the beach. Their backs are to the camera and they are looking at each other. The sun is setting near the ocean.
Photo by Josh Willink:

Before I signed up, I had a list of conditions that I put on myself, that would keep me safe and also made sure I didn’t get carried away. So get ready for the ‘non-negotiable or am I being too strict’ list.

  1. Be upfront about my disability.

Even though a disability isn’t a bad thing, there is still a perception that it is. More often than not it will scare people away from dating someone. So instead of making a person feel ‘blind sided’ and to reduce the risk of being told hurtful things, I put it in my profile that I am disabled. I also like to think, the ones that are genuine decent people would swipe on your profile. And also there is nothing to be ashamed about so say it loud and proud my friends!

  1. Virtual catch up first!

This is something I decided on after I googled how to go about online dating…. Yes I did google and youtube… Anyway, virtual catchups is one thing that I will stick to. It keeps you safe, and if you are catfished or feel uncomfortable you can end the call whenever. That beats going to meet them in person and finding out they are 60 years old or are a creep and you need to find a way to get out of there. Also, for me, doing virtual meets doesn’t put me or my date in a potentially awkward situation of having them help me if I fall over or need a hand off a chair or something.

I have had a handful of guys say they aren’t comfortable with a virtual video call and will only do in person meets. The alarm bells start ringing for me then! But also there are so many that will also agree and say that it makes sense to do a video chat for the first couple of meet ups before actually going on a date.

  1. do not exchange phone numbers or socials straight away!

You don’t know how many guys I have had that ask me for my social media or my phone number after only talking for 2 minutes. That is one thing I won’t do, is give out my social media or phone number straight away. You don’t know them well enough yet and haven’t figured out if they are creeps or not.

  1. only swipe on guys that have complete profiles

this one I know may be a bit weird. But I find that those with complete profiles have actually put time and effort in to fill in all the questions and are more likely to be after the right things. I have gone against that rule once or twice and was asked each time to send pics or if I wanted to meet at their hotel room. Yeah no thank you!!!

I’m not saying everyone who doesn’t have a bio written or questions filled in are red flags, but its just my experience.

Sooo….. heartbreak or happy ever after?

The word Love written in sand by the sea. was this the result of my online dating attempt?
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok:

You may be wondering by now if I have found my person?

I have spoken to many guys, but it has never progressed beyond a ‘hi, how are you’. However, there were two that I had felt an instant connection with. As time went on though, I realised with one of them that I was sacrificing my own happiness for the sake of the other person, and tried desperately to help them overcome a difficult spot in their life.

That friendship ended on a very sour note that I don’t really want to get into, but what that taught me was that I can and am allowed to stand my ground, and actually say ‘no you really hurt me and this isn’t okay’. So I am grateful for the lessons that that time taught me, and I hope he is doing well and I wish him all the best.

But what about that second guy you may be asking? Well I came incredibly close to being with him. I thought he was absolutely amazing and made me feel everything you would want to feel about someone. He challenged me to be a better version of myself in every way, and I was so excited each morning to see that he had messaged me on his way to work to say good morning. And I genuinely wanted to spend all my time with him.

We had several virtual catchups, spoke every day almost for 3 months and went on a date. It was the most amazing first date. I am so grateful that he showed me that there are in fact guys out there who are willing to accept you completely and will go out of there way to make you feel comfortable and not feel like you have to apologise for using a scooter or for even being disabled. He went above and beyond to make sure that our date was (illness going around that will not be named) free, and that the venue was completely accessible, and gave me the power to choose where we went.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for him and I completely respect that. It has been a little over a month since he said he wanted to be friends. I hope he is doing well and wish him nothing but the best.

For little old me, I am still a little heartbroken. I have realised when I have feelings for someone I fall headfirst without thinking. We exchanged phone numbers and socials and would talk every day. All the questions go around my head ‘Perhaps I moved too fast, did I scare him away, was my situation too much, did I break my rule of exchanging numbers so quickly’.

At the end of the day, he also taught me a lot and I am so grateful. So at the moment I am still one pea in a pod. Even though this isn’t a happy ever after story yet, I am still completely happy being single. That is something I couldn’t say after my breakup years ago! Is that growth or what!? I know I am worthy and deserving of being loved, I don’t have to lower my standards just to be with someone for the sake of it. But I know there is that person out there, I just have to be patient and I am completely fine with that.

So my message to everyone is don’t be afraid to give online dating a go. It won’t be easy and there will be plenty of ‘almosts’, but don’t give up and take that time to keep working on loving you for who you are. Because when you do, that will shine through. Confidence is all it takes.

Till next week,

Rhi xo.

2 thoughts on “Online dating as a disabled person: Heartbreak or happy ever after?”

  1. “Thank you for sharing your heartfelt journey with online dating. Your story is a reminder of the highs and lows that come with opening our hearts to new connections. It’s inspiring to see your growth and self-awareness through these experiences. Your message of patience and self-love is truly empowering. Wishing you all the best on your journey to finding that special someone!”

    1. Thank you so much for your super kind words!! Dating is such a wild journey, and I feel more than ever, especially in today’s society, self-love is something that is so crucial yet so easily overlooked. I am glad that you took something away from this post!

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