A disabled student has come up with a top ten list of do’s and dont’s – when dating a wheelchair user.
Joshua Reeves, 21, has cystic fibrosis and was spurned into making the guidelines after a string of unsuccessful dates.
His Tinder profile describes himself as ‘wheels that give you feels’ but said most of his potential dates reach a dead end after he mentions his disability.
He became fed up of the romantic taboo surrounding disabled people and hopes his list will break the stigma.
Joshua, from Cardiff, Wales, has compiled a list – including not asking your date ‘where your carer’ is.
Other tips include don’t use terms such as ‘brave’ or ‘hero’, don’t offer sympathy and don’t offer to push them to the loo.
Joshua said: “We message and the conversation flows but as soon as I say I’m in a wheelchair they go cold.
“It’s not as harsh as it sounds as they say they’ll still meet me when I ask if it’s changed their view.
“They just stop responding. Which in a way is worse. But I think they’re scared off because they just think I’ll be completely dependent on them.
“I’m just looking for someone to love me.”
He added: ”I’m just fed up of the same thing happening. They don’t let things progress to the next step because they fear they will turn into your carer.
“It’s almost as if people don’t think you can decide for yourself. I’m perfectly able to cook, wash and go to the toilet by myself.
“I was at a wedding once and someone went up to my mum and asked her if I wanted to dance. I was right there.”
He added: “I had one girlfriend and we dated for seven months.
“Now I’ve been single for a few years and I’ve tried my best chat up lines but nothing seems to come about.
“My favourite one is ‘Excuse me do you mind pressing my button…you’ve just turned me on.
“I think everybody wants to have that special someone.”
Joshua said the ten point list was needed as the mainstream media fails to address the taboo of dating a disabled person.
He added: “You never see disabled people in a romantic aspect on reality TV programmes.
“If you do they’re assigned to shows like the Undateables which I just find patronising.
“It’s rare if you see a disabled person paired up with someone who isn’t. But it shouldn’t be a rarity.
“With Love Island they are leen, fit people. I want to become a normal occurrence so people don’t butt an eyelid too.
“Hopefully the list will break down the stigma and before you know it, I’ll have a girlfriend.
“I’m a big Star Wars fan so my dream date would incorporate the films.
“I’d like to find someone who hasn’t seen them so we can spend a weekend watching all the films back to back.”
Joshua’s top tips:
1) Do just love us for who we are, not because you feel sorry for us
2) Do acknowledge the fact that we are in wheelchairs and don’t avoid around the issue but treat us the same as if we weren’t using a wheelchair
3) Do the same as what you would do on a date with any person.
4) Do spend time to listen and if we do mention the reason why that we are disabled or if we don’t, give us time to feel completely comfortable
5) Don’t patronise us
6) Don’t give us sympathy – we don’t need to be constantly called ‘special’ or a ‘hero’
7) Don’t assume you have to take care us- we’re perfectly fine of showering and going to the toilet ourselves
8) Don’t ask us where our carer is – we don’t ask where your mother is on a night out
9) Don’t be scared to take it the next level; just go with the flow – just see what happens (e.g. if you want to lean in for the kiss, do it)
10) Don’t think we aren’t looking for a relationship – we want to find love too