Dating with a Disability: Transportation Troubles
Over my many years with Multiple Sclerosis, I’ve been on and off the market multiple times. Being in the dating world through the various stages of my disease has given me many different perspectives. I had myself out there from my early diagnosis days through today and have written about it often. Dating isn’t easy even when you are healthy, so adding a chronic illness like MS to the equation makes it especially hard to solve. For many years, I thought that even just explaining that I have an incurable disease made it extremely tough. Flash forward to today and not only do I have to explain that I have this disease, but that I no longer work or drive because of it. Not working and not driving make dating extremely difficult.
"So, what do you do?"
When you’re getting to know someone, whether it be for dating or otherwise, inquiring what they do for a living is one of the most common and early questions that we often face. One of my first ever articles here was about this very topic and its effect on me. This question is extremely important when learning about someone. The answer says a tremendous amount about someone. After all, “what we do for a living” not only tells us what the person does with a large amount of time, but what they can do when they have free time as well.
Despite living in 2019, old-world stereotypes that the man should be the breadwinner are still around, making it an extremely tough question for someone like me to answer. Being on disability doesn’t exactly conjure images of manliness either. So, I try to get it out there as soon as possible because I know it will instantly eliminate me in some people's minds. As sad as that may sound, I see that as a good thing. If me being on disability automatically rules me out to them, then that’s not a person I want to be with anyway. In a way, that’s a positive to me. I spend less time figuring out if someone isn’t so great of a person.
While going through the gamut of online dating apps (Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Match, etc. - I’ve been on most of them at some point), you start to notice some things. Number one, all women “love to travel” (even though I think they actually mean they like to go on vacation, because not everyone out there travels as often as these profiles seem to suggest). Number two, a large number of women will actually say things in their profile like “must have a car”. I get it, they’re using that as an eliminator. If the guy doesn’t have his own car, then he’s probably some sort of deadbeat that they don’t want to be with. In a crowded online dating space, that makes some sense, even if it does eliminate me.
Actually getting to a date
Much of the time, transportation doesn’t even become a real issue until it’s time to actually set up a date. Many folks just assume that getting around is something everyone can do easily. In my case though, it’s not that easy. When I lived in a more urban environment, getting around was easy because of great public transit and plentiful cabs and ride-sharing services. Where I live now has far less access to those benefits. There is no real public transit here, no cabs, and while we have Uber and Lyft, there are far fewer available drivers. So if I set up a date, I’m using a ride-sharing service and likely arriving early (in order to not risk arriving late) or I’m relying on a ride from a friend. It’s not exactly a great and reliable experience. And under no circumstances am I going to be able to pick the date up. Again, dating is tough enough without these kinds of issues, it can feel downright impossible with them.
I don’t have a lot of solutions to these problems; not everyone is going to be able to look past me being on disability. If I do get a date, getting to and from it is still an issue. These things make dating difficult, no doubt about it. I do see some benefits though. Sure, I no longer have a six-figure job and sweet ride, but I’m a whole lot more mature than when I did. I’ve dealt with a lot of adversity since those days, and I am much better for it. Like many of us, I have some difficulties. However, my struggles have taught me a lot, they’ve molded me. They’ve made me appreciate life more. In many ways, I do believe I am better off for having gone through the rough times I’ve had because of MS.
I'm going through this myself
I don’t have a real answer to the issues of being on disability or finding transportation, other than to be confident in yourself and be resourceful. Like many topics, I don’t really have a fix for all this, because I’m going through it myself. I know though, if I ever get another date, somehow I’ll figure out a way to get there, and if the girl is open-minded enough, I think she’ll be impressed. And if she’s not, it really is her loss.
Thanks so much for reading and always feel free to share!
Have you ever experienced any of the following financial struggles due to your MS?