Valentine’s Day approaches. Quick to the trenches! Keep your head down and wait for the love onslaught to stop. Often this proves an accurate metaphor demonstrating how life living with cerebral palsy goes come early February.
Yes, cerebral palsy can interfere with finding love. The past week’s live Twitter chat #CPChatNow illustrated that firsthand. Dating and relationships dominated the discussion. Participants tweeted about the internal worries CP creates, logistical problems cerebral palsy can bring into dating, and more! (Read the recap here)
Those aforementioned experiences and sentiments I’m familiar with personally. Not driving causes my logistical problems. Finding places within walking distance for a first date remains the best logistical option but that limits possibilities. Plus said option does not work well in Cleveland winters.
Internal worries though stir the most trouble. Thoughts like “Who wants to go out with someone who has trouble keeping his balance?” or “Who wants to go out with somebody with a hunched posture?” prevented me from even asking a girl out until college. Such thoughts allow cerebral palsy not only to interfere with finding love but can prevent you from looking.
Conquering the negative self-talk removes one obstacle and lands you closer to addressing the logistical issues. A huge barrier however stands between the two, securing the date. While I possess no scientific study to back the following up I speculate the cerebral palsy population receives more rejections than their able-bodied peers. Enough rejection could empower the negative self-talk to return.
Rejection use to leave me exploring self-doubt. In my memoir Off Balanced (available on the Kindle* and Nook) I talk about my college crush Liz turning me down when I asked her out. Interestingly enough I felt satisfied after the rejection because I at least made a move. Yet I did wonder for a moment if my cerebral palsy played a role in her answer.
The same question I could let linger with every rejection but rather than dwelling on something I can’t change I eventually learned to look at rejection a different way. Focus on times when you assumed the rejecter role. For instance in college on two separate instances friends informed me someone we knew liked me. Both times I chose to let the information go. Essentially I rejected through inaction. Remembering the times when I served as the rejecter makes getting rejected feel less personal.
Hopefully reading today’s post will help you, allow you to realize while cerebral palsy’s interference in your pursuit to find love sucks, you maintain some power. Concentrate on what you can control. Forget what you can’t.
Know others with cerebral palsy found love and so can you. In fact this Wednesday (February 11th) Barton and Megan Cutter (authors of Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love Roll*) will lead #CPChatNow in a focused discussion on cerebral palsy and relationships. The chat begins 8pm EST on Twitter if you wish to join.
Another example I recommend comes from Neil Matheson’s book Daddy Bent-Legs: The 40-Year-Old Musings of a Physically Disabled Man, Husband, and Father*. Neil shares his frustrations dating and his hesitation to date somebody else in the disability community. Very good stuff!
Whether your love will come from an inter-ability relationship or a relationship with a disabled partner, remember you can find love.
*I am a participant in the Amazon LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Links to Amazon product pages incorporated in today’s post correspond with the Amazon LLC Associate Program.