Although no published data regarding romantic relationships, dating and marriage are available regarding the special needs population, more of the people that have shared their lives for MyChild’s inspirational stories series are in a relationship, are married, or have been married at some point in their lives than have not. That should be incredibly encouraging to a young person that is wondering whether such an aspiration is a possibility in their lives.
Still, there are some tips that might make finding the right person easier. They are:
1. Be leery of anyone asking about financial information. There are some people that would take advantage of those they perceived to be vulnerable. Never answer any questions about personal finances until the relationship is highly-developed, or marriage is imminent.
2. Investigate physical access before a date, not after. Make sure that the destination for a date is completely accessible for both parties. Doing so will avoid awkward moments.
3. Make eye contact; don’t be shy. People with disabilities should show others that although some aspects of their lives may be different, they have the same wants, desires, and goals as others. That is something that is inherently attractive, and helps facilitate the building of bonds.
4. Remember that being with someone is a choice. People with disabilities that are in a relationship that isn’t working out should feel free to leave without second thoughts. Don’t fall into the trap that the other person is the “only one” when that clearly is not the case; a person with a disability should never feel that they will not get another chance at love.
5. Expecting to find love is practical in every way. Those with special needs have people in their lives – family and friends – that are quick to try to redirect that person into pursuits that don’t involve love because they don’t want their loved one to be hurt. This is misguided. People with disabilities have passions, desires, are capable of giving and receiving love, and live vital and full lives. If finding love is an important part of a person’s life plan, they should pursue it, and not let anyone else tell them otherwise.
6. Be confident in what you can offer another. It is easy to hide behind fears of inadequacy, but when an individual takes stock of all they have to offer another it begins to promote confidence in not on being able to love, but being loved in return. We all work hard at who we are, our set of principles, our own ethics and our worth. These qualities are appealing to others. Feeling comfortable in your ability to care and love another breeds confidence others are likely to find attractive.
7. Strive for improvement and shed negativity. Take stock of the bad or unattractive habits and work towards improving upon them. Grooming, hygiene, manners, respect for others, positive attitudes, confidence, ability to care, and a thoughtful nature, for instance, are examples of attributes that can improve attraction.
8. Envision your future. Picture, in full imagery, what you aspire your future to be. What type of home atmosphere you desire? What is most important that your household have? What will you do on your spare time? How big will you grow your family? What activities will you enjoy with your family? With your spouse. How will you contribute to the family unit? What is your role? What is your partner’s role? What values are important to you? What do you hope your future will hold? Envisioning a future will more clearly define the type of person you hope to share a future with. Seek opportunities to meet the type of person that shares your vision of the future and has the qualities you desire.
9. Seek solutions to relationship obstacles. A foundation for all long-term relationships is the ability to work through obstacles. Creating an atmosphere where both parties can openly discuss wants and needs, as well as concerns, can lead to a better understanding and expectations. Meeting another’s needs requires a comfort level and in some case, technique. If barriers present, seek solutions privately or together.
10. Grow together and spend time apart. Relationships require common interests and, at times, independent endeavors. Seek ways to enjoy the time together and apart, respectfully. If your partner has an interest that you do not share, be supportive just the same. It is important that each party feel they do not have to sacrifice to be with someone else. Time spent together, and apart, can grow supportive relationships to greater heights.