A lot of people ask me from time to time, usually in the week preceding 14th February, can I have a normal relationship with someone. I’m not really sure what they are asking me in that question, but I’ll use it as a jumping off point for this week’s blog.
It’s a question I’m not really sure where to start from; other to say I am a 36-year-old single man and it isn’t for the want of trying.
I meet lots of people and get on very well with the majority of people I come across. However, when it comes to making the jump from ‘friends’ to ‘lets go for a drink some night’, this is where I usually stumble. A lot of the time, these are problems in my own head, my demons from years ago previous – Don’t Judge The Cover, Read The Story.
Things like these prey on your mind and makes you wonder about your own value, self-worth and how others in the world see you. I’ve also gone on dates over the years and have been stood up on plenty of them. Did they turn up and leave? Did they get cold feet and not bother coming?
I also joined lots of dating websites over the years; POF, Tinder, Match.com, eHarmony, etc. and again, I did not have much luck on them either. People were swiping left instead of right. Why not me? I automatically jumped to the assumption ‘disableist!’
There is a new style of programme on television now, which others and I have described as “Porn TV!” This is not what you might think it means, so don’t panic!! It’s about programme makers sensationalizing topic matters for audiences and using real stories and worries to pluck at the public heartstrings. One such programme I dislike greatly is Channel 4’s “Undateables”. I find it the whole thing very unsettling to watch. Reactions I see online are mostly on the patronising. Don’t even get me started on the name. It is mostly the narrative and that feeds into the public perception in a somewhat negative way. In my mind, it creates a further division “them” and “us”.
Recently I have been online chatting to people; people with disabilities, people without disabilities, people who are deemed in the majority in society, people who are deemed in the minority in society, people who are gay and people who are straight. You know what I discovered? Each and every one of us who are single have the same fears and ask the same questions of us.
A gay friend told me recently her fears about being a young gay woman growing up in the north of Ireland.
“I plucked up the courage to ask a woman out recently – or so I thought. It took me weeks to do it. It was only afterwards that I realised I was so ambiguous in how I said it that she probably didn’t even realise I was asking her out on a date. Inside, I still have the fears that 13 year old me had – of asking the wrong person (someone who is straight) out and them being completely disgusted. It’s completely illogical and it’s my problem but that’s what a lifetime of being ashamed of who you are does to you. Even after you come out, even when everyone tells you it’s okay to be okay, you still carry that fear around in the pit of your stomach, of exposing yourself too much by letting someone know you like them.”
So with that ‘discovery’, I can say to each and every one of us who are single this St. Valentine’s Day, chin up. There is absolutely nothing wrong us, other than the fact we put the walls and barriers up ourselves. So this weekend, take the wall down and find your perfect Mr. or Mrs.
Happy Valentine’s Day from My Way Access <3
Photo By: jamiesondean.com