In a world where invisible disabilities are not talked about enough or at all, it is easy to get a wrong sense of what disability really is and have difficulty understanding how affected persons should and want to be treated. Just like people with visible disabilities, individuals suffering from issues that are not readily noticeable frequently have to deal with condescension and pity. However, they also face misunderstanding and even bullying.
When you start dating someone with an invisible disability, whether on a disabled dating site or otherwise, you may often find yourself wondering what you should or should not say or do. You may worry about slipping into condescension or being overprotective or not helpful enough.
In this article, we will offer some useful advice on how to be a good partner to a person with an invisible disability.
Take Time To Learn About Your Partner’s Disability
All invisible disabilities come with a distinct set of challenges, many of which may not be as obvious as in the case of a visible disability. Whether it is depression, multiple sclerosis or visual, hearing or speech impairments, there is a lot you may not know or comprehend if you are not affected yourself. In order to understand your partner’s needs, you need to acquaint yourself with the specific difficulties he or she is dealing with.
Books and articles are always a good start. Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking your partner to clear some of your doubts as well. However, at first, you should refrain from asking too many questions and try to do your research independently. Some disabled individuals have no problem talking about the issues they face, but others may find it hard or tiresome.
Therefore, in order to avoid making your partner uncomfortable or saying something wrong, you should do some reading that can help you get to know the nature of his or her disability. If you have questions, you should preferably wait for your partner to start a conversation about it. This way, you can ensure that he or she is ready to talk about his or her condition and avoid situations that can be unpleasant for both of you.
Know The Difference Between Helpful And Overbearing
It is only natural to want to make life as easy as possible for someone you care about. Still, it is important to know when your help is desired and when it is not. Persons with invisible disabilities may deal with numerous challenges every day, but they do not want to be treated like they cannot do anything on their own. After all, you should remember that although your assistance is sure to be appreciated, the person you are dating lived without your help before and does not need it every step of the way.
The best approach is to ask whether you could lend a hand when you notice your partner is having difficulties doing something. By being polite and kind and offering help before actually providing it, you are showing that you respect your partner, believe in his or her abilities, and simply want to be of use if needed.
Dating can be exceptionally hard for people with invisible disabilities. As we have mentioned previously, bullying, rudeness, and lack of understanding and compassion are not uncommon in response to hidden disabilities, mostly because people know so little about them.
Therefore, your partner may have been in more than a few unpleasant situations and he or she may have been rejected by love interests. Unfortunately, there are still many folks who do not consider depression to be a “real” problem or are not aware of the severity of various conditions that can have major negative impacts on a person’s quality of life.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that individuals with invisible disabilities may find it hard to open up to people and start a romantic relationship. So, what should you do when you meet someone you like on a dating site for people with invisible disabilities? Simply, be patient and kind and gradually earn your love interest’s trust. You should be open about your feelings but do not ask for too much too soon. Believe us; your patience will be rewarded.
To summarize, understanding invisible disabilities is the first step in understanding people who are affected by them. Being perceptive and polite and knowing when your help is required is another important prerequisite to a harmonious relationship with a person with an invisible disability. Moreover, keeping in mind potential bad experiences your love interest may have gone through, it is crucial to be patient and know that his or her trust and love are worth waiting for.
Finally, like in any relationship, you should be kind, respectful, and caring and avoid making your partner’s disability the focus of your interactions. Be helpful when needed, but most of the time, just enjoy your love interest’s company and make him or her feel appreciated and loved. After all, that is what being a great partner is all about.