Going into a relationship with someone with a disability is hard for the person with the disability and the person without. Going into a relationship not knowing you have a disability and then finding out you have one is massively difficult, particularly for the person with the disability.
Both scenarios are difficult, but it’s the not knowing beforehand that makes it even more difficult for the person with the disability, because they must come to terms with not knowing, getting to know for the first time, but must also get to understand its implications on knowing and that can throw a life into complete turmoil, literally. It would be like getting to know yourself for the first time, or like being reborn.
Knowing earlier pre-relationship helps that person with a disability deal with their disability on their own, before making a commitment. In my disability, I am governed by my neurological and sensory issues and that impacts on another person’s life.
A person with a disability will always be affected by what they deal with. If the relationship started and the other person was aware of their partner’s disability, at least the non-disabled person will have known what they were going into. There is no precedent on how to deal with a relationship where one person is dealing with a disability and the other isn’t, but we need to continue to be sensitive to that person’s needs.
All relationships need tolerance, patience, empathy and understanding, but couple that with dealing with a disability and a double dose helping of those is what’s required. Do we realistically equate what someone with a disability emotionally deals with daily and do we equate for ourselves how much we must adapt to look after that person?
I’m not sure we ever consciously do. But being better aware of what a person with a disability deals with and the challenges that are presented beforehand will always help. I didn’t have that. The non-disabled partner needs to want to make a commitment and do it gracefully. It’s a selfless sacrifice.
When reality sets in life can be difficult. It’s all in the attitude. We must want to do be a support, regardless of what we give up to do it.