Anybody thinking of dating Joshua Reeves will need to take a few points into consideration.
The 21-year-old – who has cerebral palsy – is fed up of being ghosted (for any readers over the age of 16 the term means ‘cutting off a conversation’) on Tinder after people realise he’s disabled and in a wheelchair.
Taking this into account the student has now come up with a list of do and don’ts for dating somebody with a disability.
For example, don’t ask ‘where your carer is’ or use patronising (that means talking down to people) terms such as ‘brave’ or ‘hero’. Oh, and don’t give them sympathy or offer to push them to the loo!
The student from Cardiff told The Metro: ‘We message and the conversation flows but as soon as I say I’m in a wheelchair they go cold.
‘It’s not as harsh as it sounds as they say they’ll still meet me when I ask if it’s changed their view.
‘They just stop responding. Which in a way is worse. But I think they’re scared off because they just think I’ll be completely dependent on them. ‘I’m just looking for someone to love me.’
Joshua dated a girl for seven months, but now he’s back being single and struggling to start a new relationship.
He said: ‘I’m just fed up of the same thing happening. They don’t let things progress to the next step because they fear they will turn into your carer.
‘It’s almost as if people don’t think you can decide for yourself. I’m perfectly able to cook, wash and go to the toilet by myself.
‘I was at a wedding once and someone went up to my mum and asked her if I wanted to dance. I was right there.’
He’s tried chat up lines as well: ‘My favourite one is “Excuse me do you mind pressing my button…you’ve just turned me on,” Reeves chuckled.
Joshua added: ‘You never see disabled people in a romantic aspect on reality TV programmes.
‘If you do they’re assigned to shows like the Undateables which I just find patronising.
‘It’s rare if you see a disabled person paired up with someone who isn’t. But it shouldn’t be a rarity.
Joshua’s full list for dating someone in a wheelchair is…
- Do just love us for who we are, not because you feel sorry for us.
- Do acknowledge the fact that we are in wheelchairs and don’t avoid around the issue but treat us the same as if we weren’t using a wheelchair.
- Do the same as what you would do on a date with any person.
- Do spend time to listen and if we do mention the reason why that we are disabled or if we don’t, give us time to feel completely comfortable.
- Don’t patronise us.
- Don’t give us sympathy – we don’t need to be constantly called ‘special’ or a ‘hero’.
- Don’t assume you have to take care us – we’re perfectly fine of showering and going to the toilet ourselves.
- Don’t ask us where our carer is – we don’t ask where your mother is on a night out.
- Don’t be scared to take it the next level; just go with the flow – just see what happens (e.g. if you want to lean in for the kiss, do it)
- Don’t think we aren’t looking for a relationship – we want to find love too
According to statistics the best time for a Tinder match is at 9pm.
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