By Tanya Khvitsko-Trimborn
Finding love can be a challenge, whether you are an amputee or not. That’s why there are so many dating websites for different types of people: dating for Christians, dating for people who live in the country, dating for those over 50, and even dating for amputees. However, insecurities about being an amputee may make it even harder to find “the one.”
As a congenital amputee, I was always worried about who would love me for who I am. My amputee legs are not attractive to me, so why would they be attractive to a “normal” person? Growing up and beyond, I didn’t date often, probably because I wasn’t confident. I just didn’t want someone to end up with me, a disabled person. I once dated a guy who had a prosthetic leg. I thought this would help me be more comfortable with myself. We broke up because even though we had prostheses in common, we had other big differences. Last year I married my best friend. And no, he is not an amputee.
Here are a few things I learned from my experience finding my husband:
Don’t give up on love. There is someone for you.
Focus on what matters. Finding your confidence after amputation can be difficult, but remember that your heart, soul, and mind are intact. You can love someone while missing a limb, but it’s impossible to love someone if you don’t have a heart or soul. Those essential parts of you are still there.
Rejection will happen. If someone is not interested in dating you because you’re an amputee, they are not worth your time. Rejection happens to everyone, and there are some people who will reject you because they are uncomfortable with your condition. The problem—and the loss—is theirs, not yours.
Reveal your condition naturally. Don’t fret over how you will bring up your amputation to your date. If you’re wearing shorter clothing, it may be obvious. Otherwise, be yourself and let it come up naturally in the flow of conversation.
Be prepared to answer questions. Even if some people will reject you outright because of your amputation, some will be curious. Prepare a few answers ahead of time, such as how your limb loss happened and what your daily life is like. How much information you decide to share should depend on your comfort level with the other person.
Be positive. You’ll want to present your best side to your date, especially if you’re just getting to know each other. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of losing a limb, tell him or her about your proudest moments in regaining your independence.
Just as most amputees go on to have successful careers, participate in athletics, and pursue hobbies, so too do they go on to find love and start families. Don’t give up!