When my marriage of 28 years ended, I started online dating. It was a big adventure to start dating at age 52 as a disabled woman. My husband was my first boyfriend and I never really went out with anyone else. I had a lot of surprises. For example, the disability wasn’t always an automatic deal breaker. I have a movement disorder due to a stroke 19 years ago. I was upfront in my profile about limping and walking with a cane. If you’re looking for someone to hike or ski with, I’m not the one for you. I’ll never know about who passed me over.
I went on over 30 first dates in less than three years. There was one exciting relationship with an alcoholic that lasted a year and a half. We broke each other’s hearts. He when he moved back to the midwest when he lost his job. Me when he relapsed into drinking after a brief stint with sobriety. He briefly haunted me after he moved and even after I broke up with him. He was permanently removed from my life when he passed away from liver failure, another heartbreak because I always loved him.
I had some short term relationships that were fun. I was occasionally disappointed when I was ghosted or things did not progress with someone I really liked.
There were a few instances where the disability was a major issue for men I went out with. Sometimes they told me outright that they couldn’t see themselves in a relationship with a disabled woman. Sometimes I could just tell they had an issue with it. For some lucky winners, it made no difference and we had a good time.
For those 30+ dates, the outcomes were:
- I either saw them a few more times, and may or may not have known why things came to an abrupt end
- Things progressed to some sort of “relationship” which lasted as long as it was supposed to
- I never heard from or saw them again
That last category covers those who left me alone. I was fortunate to read, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo. It made me aware of the signs to look out for in a relationship that tell you a guy just isn’t into you. I learned from my marriage that I did not ever want to be with someone who did not want to be with me. Duh.
I made some mistakes as far as reaching out to men I thought I wanted to spend time with, only to find they just weren’t that into me. If they were, they would move heaven and earth to be with me. I recall sending more messages than I should have to some who were nonresponsive. These texts and emails have come to be sources of embarrassment for me. I consider it lucky that this pool of men have left me alone.