If I did not fixate on the wheelchair the first time I met Dax, it was only because I am a bloke, it was a freshers week party, and they were a busty blonde. I am no saint and, though my intentions were honourable, some of my thoughts were decidedly not. Most people that find out I have a disabled partner treat me like I’m some kind of hero, but I am no better or worse than any other man. Truth be told, Dax is the hero for putting up with my many faults and failings. At the other end of the spectrum people tended to assume I was only with them because I saw a disabled person as an easy lay, and was taking advantage of them.
Truth be told, I was so nervous and awkward that it was only because of Dax’s persistence that I ever found the courage to ask them out. It was often the people who thought themselves the most virtuous that assumed the poor, helpless disabled person must have been manipulated into wanting an intimate relationship. They were so determined to keep Dax safe, it never occurred to them that they might be capable of making their own decisions. Do not get me wrong, there are vulnerable people out there, but Dax is not one of them. Since we got engaged, people seem less likely to question my motives, but the hero worship has only got worse.
It is hard to say how being with a disabled person has impacted my life. For one thing, Dax was already disabled when I met them. I can only imagine how hard it must be to plan a life with someone, only to have everything change in such a dramatic way. For us, the wheelchair has always been a factor, which has shaped the places we go to and the things we do. We often go for a pint in The Griffin because it is accessible, but also because I like a pub with some history behind it. Had Dax not been disabled, we might have ended up making The Three Legs our regular watering hole. Given that they are both decent pubs, which one we go to is somewhat arbitrary. There are a few things that being with Dax stops me from doing; camping and hiking come to mind. Any relationship requires compromises, and a relationship with a disabled person is no different in that regard.
There are ways my life is negatively affected, of course, and this would not be an honest account without mentioning them. When you love someone, you feel a primal drive to keep them safe from pain and suffering. It is hard to put into words just how powerless seeing Dax at their worst makes me feel. There is also the practical fact that everything requires advanced planning, which makes spontaneity impossible. When Tidal Championship Wrestling changed venue recently, we could not just turn up at the next show like everyone else. I scouted out the accessibility of the venue itself, plotted a route there that took curb drops into account and, when we got there, had to hunt down the proprietor so he could let us in the back door. Finally, there is the nagging fear that Dax might have found someone better than me were it not for their disability. I realise that is my depression getting the better of me, but the fact that they would have had more dating opportunities, were they not disabled, means it persists.
That Dax is an intelligent, witty and beautiful young person is in no way diminished by their disability. They are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Any negatives impact that the disability may have upon me is more than mitigated but the positives that come from being with a person as wonderful as them. I love them and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with them.