Hannah and Shane
The couple, who live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tell BBC Three that the knee-jerk response reflects how misinformed many people still are towards disability and dating.
“Our society tells us that disabled people aren’t worthy partners,” she says. “There’s almost no positive representation of disability or dating with a disability in our media, so many people think that disabled people couldn’t possibly be in a healthy, wonderful relationship.
“This means when they see Shane and I, they invent conspiracy theories to try to reconcile our relationship with what they’ve been taught.”
Charlie and Gina
Fast-forward three years. When we’re out, I’ve got used to the shocked, sympathy look I get when I mention my boyfriend is a wheelchair user or that I
have to assist him with certain tasks. People say, “that must be a lot for you… I bet it was difficult to decide whether you wanted to move forward with the relationship.”
The answer, bluntly, is no. I always reply with a compliment to Charlie or explain that no, I am not in a burdensome one-way relationship, but rather with
him because he is an amazing, loving and caring person. I think a lot of the misunderstanding comes from people believing that helping a disabled person can only be a chore – the duty of a paid friend or assistant. What they fail to understand is that, actually, when I help Charlie, it doesn’t weaken the relationship and take the love away. If anything it heightens it. I never use the word carer for this reason, I am Charlie’s partner through everything.
Lorna and Robhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/3fd6b74d-e71e-4327-b2f7-3257e6a3c1ea
I’ve been with Rob for 11 years, and married for four. We’d been together for about seven years when I was diagnosed with ME, which causes severe fatigue
and leaves me often using a wheelchair and housebound most of the time.
It also means Rob has to help me with some personal care, such as showering and other day-to-day tasks.
I would say it absolutely brought us closer as a couple, and continues to do so. I think care within a relationship, although often tricky to navigate,
can be so intimate.