Is it difficult to have a relationships while being disabled? — Scope | Disability forum
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Is it difficult to have a relationships while being disabled?

Hello everyone! I want to share and discuss opinions here. Tell me about your relevant experience please if it's not difficult....


  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,174 Scope online community team
    Hi @RobbinBright
    Really great discussion. I have had one or two negative experiences with relationships that can be directly attributed to my disability. On the whole, though I have had the usual ups and downs with that aspect of my life as everybody else probably experiences.
    For me, the bigger issue is at a societal level. Disabled people are not seen as sexual beings or being seen as A-sexual (which is fine if that's your choice) we are infantilized and seen as vulnerable. 
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  • Welshjayne2021
    Welshjayne2021 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    I guess I have been very lucky with relationships.  I had a boyfriend at 18 and although I caught him cheating, it nothing to do with my cp.  I was engaged to someone when I 24, but I left him for my husband.  We have been together 38 years and married 34 years. We have 3 children.  
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 16,311 Disability Gamechanger
    It can be difficult to find a suitable partner when you are disabled but not impossible 

    I seperated 4 years ago before I became disabled but have made many new friends through online dating and also met my current boyfriend . 

    Lockdown doesnt help meeting someone new but it wont be long now before we can socialise again 
  • Holly35
    Holly35 Member Posts: 24 Courageous
    I was married for 7 years even relocated to live with my ex-husband in Bristol but separated when my mental health declined, it took its toll on him but he kept in touch. He now has a new wife and I am back up north with family where things are improving for me day by day. I now have a new partner of 18 months who has also suffered the same mental health problems as me, when you have the same difficulties in life having a relationship is easier! 
  • RobbinBright
    RobbinBright Member Posts: 20 Listener
    Much appreciated for your feedback. The stories are so interesting! 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited June 2021
    Two of my family members stopped speaking to me after I got an autism diagnosis. It was my dad and my sister. They haven't explicitly said that they've disowned me and it's hard to imply things without saying any words or using gestures, but the impression I get is that I've been disowned. I'm sure one of them being a parent would mean that people would find it surprising. This is all because of the stereotype that autistic people lack especially empathy. The stereotype that autistic people lack social skills is just an afterthought.

    There is a stigma in dating of which people don't want to date autistic people. There is a greater burden of getting your emotional needs met in romantic relationships. I've had a woman on a dating website ask me what I studied at university, then she stopped replying after I told her "computing", which she probably associated with the stereotype of autistic people studying ICT. For men sex is physical but for women sex is psychological. If a woman doesn't feel chemistry and tingles, she won't have sex (unlike men). This makes autistic men feel doubly disadvantaged for being male and autistic where they think that the "barrier of entry" for acquiring good social skills is higher compared to their peers.

    I've even heard in the autistic community that some autistic people don't want to date autistics, speaking in a shameless way. Oh the irony! They are fully aware of the hypocrisy of this. Rejecting your own kind carries stigma, especially for women as it is perceived by men that it makes men an outcast, as women can escape the disability based repression by dating a normal non-autistic person, but an autistic man wouldn't be able to escape such disability based repression to do the same.

    It appears that this stereotype around empathy that is harmful for autistic people, but that it has been expanded to also include another stereotype that is relatively newer. It's the stereotype that autistic people can't be in committed monogamous relationships because they always have affairs while faking their interest in monogamy. I was on Reddit years ago where some woman wanted relationship advice. She posted a comment in the comments section of her thread that she wanted a man to reciprocate the emotions she has in her mind of him, even if he is outwardly doing the actions that she wants. I took issue with this arbitrary and fuzzy requirement that would make the most innocent and kind actions met with contempt, avoidance and doubt, and then replied to her comment with "A relationship should be about what you feel about the other person and what they do for you, not about how they feel about you and what you do for them". She knew I was implying that "what you do for them" in this example would have her fluctuate or change her behaviour towards her partner based on how trusting, insecure or mentally stimulated she was with him at the current time. Her response to my comment was "A man simply doing the right behaviour towards me isn't enough. I want a man who also reciprocates the feelings I have for him, otherwise he's just going to cheat on me with other women. So he would probably be an autistic person or sociopath". Everyone upvoted her comment and downvoted my comment. Her comment got more than 30 upvotes which is high for a reddit thread with hundreds of comments, so lots of people in society probably think the same way she does.

    So not only do autistic people have to deal with the stereotype that they lack empathy and lack social skills, they also have to deal with the stereotype that they are not favourable of and suitable for monogamy because they always have affairs whilst hoping for a polyamorous relationship. These stereotypes do harm autistic people in the dating market.


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