Interabled Relationships are Just Like Any Other Relationship
Last updated: May 2023
Love knows no boundaries, and when it comes to interabled relationships, it is no different.
Our interabled relationship
Mike and I are in an interabled relationship. Basically meaning that Mike is disabled and I am not. Our relationship can be challenging at times but what relationship doesn’t have challenges? My relationship with him is just as fulfilling and meaningful as any other relationship I have been in.
When we started dating I wasn’t sure how Mike’s spinal muscular atrophy would affect our relationship. Over time I realized that it’s not much different than any other relationship. In fact, I’d say his disability has bought us closer.
We are both more vulnerable
Being in an interabled relationship has made us both more vulnerable. I have always felt being vulnerable with a partner tends to make the relationship stronger. Mike’s disability has taught me to appreciate the little things and to be more patient and understanding. It has also taught me to be more empathetic and compassionate, not just towards Mike but to everyone.
Communication is the key to relationship success, interabled or not
One of the most important aspects of any relationship is communication. This is especially true for interabled relationships. Clear and open communication is key. We make a conscious effort to communicate with each other regularly and openly. He and I discuss everything from our feelings and emotions to practical issues such as accessibility.
Definitely not a one-sided relationship
One of the misconceptions about interabled relationships is that the able-bodied partner is always the caregiver. While it is true that the disabled partner may need some extra support, the relationship is not one-sided. This definitely rings true in our relationship. We support each other in different ways.
It is something I have highlighted before. Mike is an amazing listener. He has provided me love and support through some of the most difficult times in my life. Having to deal with his spinal muscular atrophy diagnosis has given him a unique perspective. He even says it has made him a much more compassionate person.
Mike is also very good with finances. He manages all of my money. He makes sure bills are paid in time. This was something I was never great at. The key is that we have mutual respect for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Mike's disability has made me more resilient
Mike’s disability has taught me to be more independent and self-sufficient. It has forced me to confront my own limitations and to find ways to overcome them. This has been a valuable lesson for me.
Overcoming the stigma
Like any relationship, interabled relationships have their challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the stigma that society puts on them. Unfortunately many people still view disability as a tragedy or burden. That view point can make it difficult for interabled couples to feel accepted and valued.
Mike and I have found that the key to overcoming these challenges is to focus on our love for each other. We are all judged in different ways. The one thing I have learned in my 40 plus years of life is that my happiness comes from within. If I spent too much time worrying about what others think I wouldn’t be happy. So we chose to surround ourselves with people who support us and see us for who we are, rather than for our disabilities or abilities.
Have you experienced neck weakness with SMA?