Alright so Tinder and Bumble have been out for a while now and they’re a fairly normal part of our society. You don’t have the same social stigma from just a few years ago where people wouldn’t admit to ‘Online Dating’, nowadays it’s not out of place at all to hear someone met their new beau by ‘Swiping Right’.
How does this affect us folks with disabilities? In an age where perfection is the only goal and a new partner is available at the touch of a button. Things like Tinder may give the illusion of choice, but at the same time the unfortunate fact is that WITH so much choice, the view of what people are looking for has become much more narrow. As I said, people are hunting for perfection and what was once a small completely tolerable thing is now a reason to just ‘Swipe Right’ again and KEEP swiping till that vision of ‘Perfection’ is found.
First off some mindsets that have helped me are:
1. Be extremely upfront about everything. It SUCKS wasting time with someone that is more interested in playing games, playing the field or can’t be with someone that has a disability. That doesn’t just go for being upfront about your ostomy, it’s also important to be extremely upfront about what you’re looking for. That way if the other person isn’t looking for what you’re looking for, you can walk away and you didn’t waste any time and your mental state didn’t take a hit.
2. Don’t take it personally. This has been a hard one for me to swallow honestly, I mean dating is probably one of the most personal things out there, how do you not take something like that personally? Well remember the culture has changed, everyone is searching for that ‘Perfection’ (which doesn’t exist by the way, we as humans are naturally flawed creatures, nothing wrong with that). So it’s probably not you, it’s just what the other person is hunting.
3. Don’t get bitter. This is something that can sneak up on you pretty fast, you might never see it coming. I know this is cheesy but that old line about “It’s not you, it’s me”. It’s something to always keep close to heart. If it was meant to work out, it would have worked out. Don’t get tripped up and think you did something wrong because you probably didn’t. Just remember that you’re an AWESOME person and somebody out there is gonna love you for you!
4. Don’t get caught up in the ‘Unattainable Standards’. Being physically fit is important, more for health reasons than anything else. But you don’t have to have perfect 6 pack abs just because Tom from down the street has all his pictures on Tinder with his shirt off and you don’t have to have more charisma than Rico Suave. Just be you, that’s probably the most important lesson here, I don’t care how hot someone is if they’re not into you for you? Screw em. (Metaphorically not Literally ;))
5. Don’t stay in Relationships that bug you. We’ve all had it happen, “I really like you, but just as a friend”. Friendship is important, but let me tell you something – If you try staying friends with someone that you wanted to date and you’re anything like me, it’s probably just going to bug you. Some people have no trouble with this, but personally I do.
So I don’t do it. Your mental state is the most important thing here, if you’re not getting what you want out of a relationship (Platonic or Otherwise) LEAVE! There is no shame in going for what you want, not getting it and MOVING ON!
These are just a few ways that I’ve dealt with the changing times in the dating world. The most important lesson is still… HAVE FUN!!! Dating is supposed to be fun! Getting to know new people, falling in love and all that jazz. Don’t take it to seriously, keep people around who want the same things that you do and have the same ambitions and everything should be just dandy.