Love & it's many expectations. Disabled singles share their views
The need for a partner or companion is something many people, disabled and non-disabled, experience. Stigma and lack of opportunities to meet people often act as barriers for people with disabilities.
Many disabled people have certain expectations from their partners and companions. With Valentine's Day round the corner, NewzHook spoke to a few people to find out what their thoughts on love are.
Understanding matters above all, says Sadaf Khan, who works in the human resources department in a company in Mumbai and is also a core member of the Blind Graduates Forum of India (BGFI).
"Understands me as a person"
"I would like a partner who understands me, not as someone with a disability, but as a person. My partner must respect my life choices and the need for space and freedom", says Khan. "One thing that I would like to make clear is that people with disabilities seek love, not caregivers or caretakers. They can live independent lives and need love to be happier and get the emotional support that a healthy relationship brings. We need the same kind of balance in life as everyone else".
Karan S Shahh, who is a canine trainer and behaviourist, also from Mumbai, has dated many girls, some of them older and cannot stand it when he sees sympathy in the other person. Just act normal, says Shahh.
Do we need sympathy or empathy from a person whom we are dating? Well, the answer is no! We need someone who appreciates our efforts to meet them, to make time for them, etc. Just like how a normal relationship is, we aim for the same thing. Also I really liked this one girl, we dated for a few months, but whenever we used to decide where to meet, it was me and me only who used to decide a place to meet cause of the wheelchair accessibility issue. I would more than appreciate it if the opposite person would also make some effort for the same instead of me doing it all time. Such incidents make us feel dependent! - Karan S Shahh, Canine Trainer-Behaviourist
For Simran Chawla, from Delhi, it's the small, romantic gestures that mean a lot. "Being a romantic person, I want my partner to spend a quality time with me, go on romantic dinner dates, long drives, etc. I believe some gestures of your partner can bring you a lot of happiness, like bringing a rose for you while returning back home from office sometimes, holding hands in public, waking you up every morning, writing a short love note for you, surprising you on your birthday, etc. I like being appreciated, so I want him to admire me sometimes".
"Paints my nails"
As a visually impaired person, Chawla says she would also expect her partner to help her out a little while doing make-up and her hair. "As of now, my mom does all that for me. I have a dream that my partner applies nail paint on my nails".
Respect is also paramount for blogger Payal Kukreja, who actively blogs about living with a physical disability.
"I feel that a person with disability can be a better partner for a disabled person as they understand the challenges in life. My life partner should accept me the way I am and not expect me to lose my individuality. He should be wise and capable of taking educated decisions in life. A person who supports me and is ready to stand by me when I need his emotional and moral help. I should not be forced to things that are outside my comfort zone and my dignity should be maintained and respected by my partner".
With February being the month that we celebrate all things romantic, here's hoping that all their wishes come true!