Maybe I Should Just Stop Trying To Date

In Features, My Piece of the Sky, Opinion by Daniel Early

Driving down a country road some eight years ago, I hadn’t prepared myself for the black ice that lay ahead of me that would forever change my future.

This tragedy has rendered me a quadriplegic with a whole slew of obstacles to overcome in my life.

From finding a satisfactory reason why this happened to me, to learning how to manage my new existence.

I believe that my continual ability to remain patient during the countless episodes of frustrating circumstances that I am faced with, has at the very least, earned me a black-belt or a PhD. in patience.

Trying to pick up my thirty-something existence and find some type of normalcy and companionship for my own self-worth. I truly just can’t fathom why rejection from a female counterpart is so continual; I mean so what is it, me or the chair?

When I spot a potential and maybe future candidate that I could: laugh with, watch a movie together, or just share my emotions with her, I constantly receive the same hard to digest answer, No Thanks!!!

I meet a pretty lady in my class at school and we start talking and hit it off pretty well; we share a lot of similar interests like action movies, wildlife and helping others.

Time goes by and I share some flirting innuendo with her; she opens the non-automatic door for me and says that she’s hot (pretty warm that day) so I playfully agree with her—yes you are; and she just laughs and closes the door.

Another time, we (her walking, me rolling) are sharing the same pathway to separate classes and she states that she is taking aerobics and I concur, yes I can tell.

After this inviting and smitten candor with her during the school quarter I suggest, so what are your plans for spring break? She says that she’s just hanging out with no plans, so I optimistically inquire that we could do something, and her immediate reply—No Thanks.

I know now that it’s the wheels underneath me. Isn’t it alright for me, a quad with a positive attitude and a lot going for him, to ask an elite beauty with good looks like Alyssa Milano or Demi Moore out to just do something?
I go online to various disability websites and seem to run into the same thing every time—either no one geographically nearby, or the scarce few that are, don’t fall under or close to my ever-decreasing criteria. The regular dating sites are not responsive to my plight of being alone either.

If I am honest about my disability, the feedback wanes due the wrong assumption that I would need to be taken care of, HELLO I have caregivers for that. If I choose to refrain from the entire truth and doctor-up my profile, the reality of that first date makes me grimace with the unacceptable dishonesty factor.

I pride myself for being very independent; with a physical fitness program, the ability to maintain a 95% success rate for my bowel program (when and how often I need to defecate), and a general positive outlook for my future.

My M.O. gets less restrictive everyday. My motives are clear and concise; be the most that I can be in all areas and facets of my life, and to never just settle for good enough.

I present situations for myself to be; active, around people, optimistic, shedding light to others that I’ve been alone way too long and if they might know of someone, hint, hint, I am available, and learning from all expectations and experiences, positive or negative.

Pessimistically, I see this pattern in many areas of my world; getting needed physical therapy with my insurance after three years post-injury—not gonna happen, hiring long-term quality caregivers capable of handling quads—like finding a needle in a haystack, a significant other that I want to be with—hopefully in the next millennium.

I don’t want to whine about my issues, but this reality has transcended itself into me so deeply that my optimism and hope are constantly being tested. It isn’t just about surviving the spinal cord insult. That seems like the easiest part.

The hard part is surviving the daily insults to my optimism and hope. So I beat myself up emotionally trying to remain complacent everyday, holding on to the hope that my turn with the first string will eventually come, but alas, we only have today.

Dating Dreams or Dating Disasters? What has been your experience? Email us at .