After dropping the “wheelchair bomb,” I’d have to brace myself for their reactions, which were always a mixed bag, often ranging from indifference to ghosting. One man that I connected with on Coffee Meets Bagel was incredibly apologetic when I first told him about my wheelchair, as though it was the most tragic thing he’d ever heard.I shut that down by explaining that my disability is part of who I am and it’s nothing to be sorry for.
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But I wasn’t helping the situation by keeping the existence of my disability concealed, springing it upon people only when I thought it felt right.
In retrospect, this served only to contribute to the stigma I usually work so hard to fight. In every other area of my life, my disability is front and center.
There have been plenty of matches that haven’t worked out, and whether that’s actually because of my disability, I’ll never know.
But I had a nearly yearlong relationship with a man I met through OKCupid, so I know it’s possible for lightning to strike again.
I ended up going on one date with him, and then another.
For the second date, my bagel suggested a painting night (a social event that involves paintbrushes, canvases, acrylics and, usually, wine) since I’d told him how much I enjoy them.
He found a Groupon and I researched a location, picking out a restaurant in New York City that was supposed to be wheelchair accessible.
As it turned out, the restaurant was accessible, but the painting class was happening in a room upstairs.
When I found myself newly single, I turned to online dating in the hopes of easing my fears that no one else would ever accept me as I am, that lightning doesn’t strike twice. In this virtual world, I could pretend my disability didn’t exist.