Below is a post that I originally wrote for a friend over at Accesstechgeek, but I thought I would share it here as well.
Yesterday, I was doing some research and found an article online from India titled “Disability Limits Marriage Choices.” This caught my attention so I continued to read it. According to this article, people with a physical disability have a harder time finding a mate and getting married. The reason for this is because a lot of people in society cannot look past the appearance of a disability. Polls were taken from the US, UK, Canada, Middle East, SE Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The results were as follows: 59% women and 48% men refuse to marry anyone with a physical disability, and 34% women and 37% men said it depended on the type of disability and the extent of the situation. Only 7% of women and 15% of men said that they would marry a person with a physical disability.
I wish that I could say that I find these results surprising, but I do not. As a person who has lived with a physical disability for 26 years, I am well aware of how people think. We have wrote often on the blog about how a disability affects getting a job as well as other areas in life, and unfortunately that does not exclude marriage and relationships. Do I think it is impossible to find a mate if one has a disability? Absolutely not! I sincerely hope that I get married someday. However, I do think that a person with a disability may have to wait longer to find the right person and be married, but it can be done. I have met several couples who one of the spouses have a disability and they have great marriages. Although, there are criticisms a person who marries someone with a disability might face. The main criticisms are “Why would you want to date a disabled person?” or “Wouldn’t you rather marry someone without a disability?” and “Do you know what you are getting into?” These questions all go back to stereotypes people have of disabilities. Recently, I saw an excellent example of this in a movie called “Listen to Your Heart.” The main character in the movie dates a girl who is deaf and at the beginning of their relationship his friends question what he is doing, and tells him that he should find someone else and not date her. He responds by saying, “I am not going to miss out on something great just because it might be hard.” This is the viewpoint we should have in all relationships. So many people miss out on great friendships because they cannot get past a stereotype. I want to encourage everyone today to look past appearance and look at the hearts of people. Treat people the way you would want to be treated and not how you think they should be treated. Also, if you have any experience on this topic we would love for you to share your stories and advice. Let us hear from you!