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Love, Marriage & Disability - couples share their stories

Finding the right partner can add much richness and depth to your life. That does not mean that being single is something to regret. However, if you are single and looking to find that special someone, it is important to keep some things in mind, says couples.

Couples where one partner has a disability and the other does not, tend to raise eyebrows in society. Forget the world outside, people with disabilities often encounter resistance from their own families when it comes to marriage or dating. Sushmita Bubna, Founder-Director of Voice Vision, an NGO that organises matrimonial meets for people with disabilities says, "Many parents are even resistant to the idea of their sons and daughters talking to a prospective partner on their own, away from the families. Parents often need much more counseling than the prospective bride and groom".

Thankfully attitudes are changing and there is a new mindset evolving in Gen Next. But single men and women with disabilities still have some nagging questions. Like should they be upfront about their disability on Tinder or other online sites for instance? So, here are some broad tips to keep in mind.

  • Be open about your disability when seeking a partner. There's nothing to hide.
  • You have the same right to love and form a relationship as anyone else.
  • Life is about being happy and having a laugh with your partner. So find someone you can laugh with.
  • Look for an equal, not a caregiver.
  • Be open and believe in love but do not compromise with your needs and self-respect.

Madhava Sharma, a visually impaired writer and poet, affirms that finding love is not impossible and can be life-changing.

My wife passed away shortly after we were married, but the time I spent with her is like a dream. I believe that a supportive and loving partner can make life more interesting and beautiful. - Madhava Sharma, Writer & poet

Don't let the world and its attitudes affect you. Remember it's your life and you are the judge of it. Shadya Kumar, who is married to Jitendra Kumar Dangi, an Ahmedabad-based tutor with a disability, says understanding is the key to their relationship.

"I take care of the household while he works and I feel that this balance and sharing of responsibility has helped our bonding. I do support him when he participates in events and I enjoy his active lifestyle, says Shadya.

Take the time out to do things your partner enjoys. Life changed for Nidhi and Shishir Bhatnagar less than a year after marriage after Shishir had a spinal cord injury and was paralysed neck down. The couple, who loved to travel the world, can no longer do that as easily. But they have found other shared joys. "We go to places nearby and spend a lot of time on dinner and coffee dates", says Nishi. "I love going out and he knows that, so he plans these trips carefully and takes me out often, which is really lovely".

Above all, be yourself and don't pretend to be someone you are not, let the real you be seen and loved. "My life has become better with the love and support from my wife Neeraja. She is the one who understands my condition and does not judge me the way others do, says Kiran Kumar from Telangana, who has misophonia, or selective sound sensitivity syndrome, a rare condition.

Clearly love and understanding can overcome all barriers.

ALSO READ: Why the world adores Paavani & Clinton's love story

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