Dating a quadriplegic man

An 11 year veteran of an spinal cord injured caregiver life, she has a passion for writing to share her experiences so that others can und...

When I met Chad, a C4/5 quadriplegic, I was smitten immediately.

He has a hidden disability and is very accepting of my impairments.

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Usually my care assistant is tasked with that job when I am at home. The reason I feel the need to be so explicit about this is that many people simply take it for granted that I would not be able to fulfill any man's sexual needs and therefore would not make a suitable life partner. I've heard of many relationships that fall apart because a fully functioning partner has the inability to connect physically with the other.

That is because society has fallen into the classic – and all too common – trap of defining intimacy between two people who love one another deeply as "sex" which in my mind is "animal-like genital intercourse".

I have never been with someone so thoughtful and kind. Chad’s disability is very limiting because he only has a shoulder shrug and head turn and as such requires total care for all activities of daily living.

The ideal situation is to pay aides to come in and do the caregiving rather than having the spouse do caregiving.

At the time of the accident, I was a young, active, independent woman, wife and mother. The most difficult part of being paralysed from the neck down is not the immobility; it is the relentless battle that goes on in my head.

I had a successful teaching career and was a talented sportswoman. I don't believe that I will ever be able to get to the point where I can fully accept my state of being, trapped by my own body, almost living like a sort of modern-day mummy.

If you are new to the world of wheelchairs your life has probably been filled with new experiences and new information.

Over the years we have learned many things about being in a relationship with someone in a wheelchair.

Disabled men traditionally have a higher unemployment rate than able-bodied men, and those men who are employed often work in less prestigious positions with lower pay, according the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.

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