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Dating With a Limitation

· dating advice

I had a hard time deciding what to title this piece. It was either going to be "disability" or "limitation" and I hate describing anyone with either of those things. So, here is a frame of reference: this applies to you if there is a moral/religious, social, or medical reason dating is more difficult for you. This isn't all inclusive but, I'm trying to do my best and think of people who I know who have dealt with this. I have Celiac Disease (which means that I can get very sick and potentially die if I eat gluten), am an observant Mormon, and am a Vegan. So, I know about a lot of dietary restrictions. I also mentioned some social situations that can be tricky as well. However, I either know or know of people in other situations who managed to find love despite something that mainstream society may tell us make us "less than".

There are a few things to keep in mind in general. First, don't make it into a huge deal or be dramatic. Be as light and breezy as possible but still explain. Get your point across, but be calm. Also, don't feel like you are weird, unworthy, etc. You are a person- not a freak show. So, don't feel that way. There are people in all kinds of situations who find love. So, if they can, you can too! Isn't that cool?

First, it can be difficult dating outside of your faith or adhering to specific lifestyle guidelines within your faith. I have Muslim friends who don't eat pork or drink alcohol, Hindu friends who don't eat beef, and have met all kinds of people who adhere to all kinds of principles. Some are more devout than others. As a Mormon, I don't drink coffee or alcohol (among other things). If it's a drink date, I usually try to steer the date towards something else. If it's coffee, I just get something that isn't coffee (usually herbal tea). So, if this happens to you, try to steer it towards something else. If it's another moral circumstance that prevents you from eating a certain food or doing another thing, steer towards something else. I will discuss this more in the next paragraph.

Celiac Disease and food allergies are something I personally have a lot of experience in. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at seventeen years old and most of my dating advice is due to trial and error. Why? A lot of coaches give really bad advice in this department. Here's a look at what that means: I cannot eat gluten, touch gluten without gloves and (usually) a face mask, eat anything that touched gluten, kiss someone right after they eat gluten, and have to check any cosmetic product for gluten. If I ingest it or am cross contaminated, I get deathly ill and am at a higher risk for a lot of very serious health issues (and early death). So, I have to be almost obsessively vigilant or risk an Emergency Room trip (or long, slow death). That may sound dramatic, but, I'm speaking from experience. I also know people who have severe food allergies and can go into anaphylactic shock due to certain foods. So, if you are in this category, just calmly say "eating out is tricky for me". Don't go into detail, just say "I have a food allergy/can't eat gluten without getting sick/etc" and be as light and breezy as possible. Usually, he will suggest a non-food related activity. If he asks where you can eat or if xyz restaurant is okay, it's okay to look through the menu and see if it works. If he has no clue and asks for suggestions, suggest two or three places and let him pick. While you should be light and breezy, you also don't want to end up in the ER. He also wants to spend time with you and take you somewhere that you can enjoy. The last thing he wants you to do is sit there, play with your food, and be miserable. Now, if you are low carb, Paleo, Keto, or anything that isn't a medical or moral necessity, I wouldn't mention it. Just eat whatever you can when you go out to eat and don't bring it up.

Another limitation that can come up is the inability to have children- whether due to a medical condition, predisposition to pass on a serious medical condition, etc. Wait a while before bringing this up if he doesn't. If you don't particularly want children and can't have any, just say "it's not in the cards for me". I was recently asked to elaborate on a date when he asked and said "physically" and "it's just not for me". He didn't seem to mind and expressed interest in seeing me again. If you do want children and are willing to adopt/foster/etc., wait a bit to discuss it and let him bring it up. If he's serious about it, he'll bring it up before he proposes. If he's really in love with you, he will be fine adopting or potentially not having any. If he isn't, he's a next anyway. Think of it this way: what if he gets married and he's the one who can't have kids? Or his wife can't have children and doesn't know it? Honestly, I have only met one man in my life who was adamantly against adopting and insisted that any kids he had must be biologically his. He was honestly really messed up in general. So, if a guy does dump you because you can't physically have children but, are willing to explore other options, guess what? You dodged a bullet and need to run as fast and far as you can.

Transgender rights are a huge thing in the media but, not a lot of attention is given to dating in modern dating advice. I will be honest and say that I'm not the most well versed on the topic. But, I would definitely recommend stating it on your profile. There have been multiple reports of violence against the transgender community. So, definitely state this on your profile as low key as possible unless you have already had everything switched over from your biological gender to your current gender. In that case, it would probably be best to consult with a coach.

Recovering from alcoholism or addiction are other circumstances that can make dating difficult for some people. First, going out to get drinks is a common date. Depending on your circumstance, set your limits. For example, if you smell beer or liquor, will that make you want to relapse? Can you go to a bar and just get something nonalcoholic? Know your limits and stick to them. The right man will respect them. A date with a guy is not worth it to risk a relapse. If you don't feel comfortable setting foot in a bar, just say "I don't drink, can we do something else?". If you are at dinner and he wants to order wine (to share), just say "No, thank you. I don't drink". If he asks why, just say "it's not my thing". Down the road, when things are more serious, you can open up more (after speaking with a coach). But, If he makes a big deal out of it, presses you to drink, or in any way makes you feel uncomfortable about not drinking, RUN. A gentleman won't do this. Ever. If you feel weird about not drinking, remember that there are a ton of successful people that don't drink. Honestly, I know a fair amount of people in my age range who don't drink (myself included).

Some things may be more visible- like Alopecia (where you are bald), limited mobility, wheelchairs, scars, or prosthetics. Continue to be a Creature Unlike Any Other and know that the right man won't care. If someone makes you feel bad about this, screw them. If you do have something that he won't see until you two are intimate, you can very calmly bring it up before you are. But, should talk to a coach before you do. Worst case scenario: it may throw him for a loop. But, even then, he'll adjust quickly. To be honest, it won't matter if he's into you. I actually have a good friend with Alopecia who has a boyfriend who is totally crazy about her! She actually did The Rules on accident and they just went ring shopping. Also, there are female veterans, people who survived accidents, etc. who have prosthetics and are happily married!

Some people also have a hard time losing weight due to hormonal or thyroid disorders, as well as certain medications. There can also be other physical side effects that can be obvious. Do the best with your situation- keep working out, eating right, dress in a flattering fashion, and being a CUAO. Don't feel like you are less than anyone else for something you can't help. I know people with hormonal and thyroid disorders who are happily married. So, do what you can but don't feel bad. Some people are just naturally bigger. I come from a big-boned family where most of us are tall, have bigger builds and can carry more weight, and aren't super thin. Just focus on being healthy and as close to height weight proportionate for your body.

Don't feel bad if you gain weight due to a medication, accident, childbirth, or illness. I was in that position about a year and a half ago. It's frustrating and you feel awful! On top of that, I was definitely the recipient of unsolicited advice, fat shaming (even though I wasn't that heavy), and felt awful on top of being super sick and gaining forty pounds from being sick. Do what you can to get back to your happy, healthy weight where you look and feel your best. But, I ended up losing thirty one pounds and am trying to lose about thirty more (I wanted to lose about twenty pounds beforehand to be fitter and healthier). Also, always remember, that you're still a CUAO. Even at my heaviest, I had a serious boyfriend who thought I was hot and couldn't keep his hands off of me! I have never had issues meeting men as long as I put in the effort- regardless of what size I was. On the flip side, take care of yourself to be happy and healthy if you are recovering from body image issues or an eating disorder.

As far as weight is concerned, there are plenty of men who will date a woman who is bigger but, works out, eats healthy, and takes care of herself. Do your best to be as close to height weight proportionate as possible. But, if there are factors out of your control, don't mention it until later or feel bad about it. If a guy comments on your weight, he's an automatic next. It's rude and even a guy who was raised in prison will know better. Also, you never know- he may have lost over a significant amount of weight (100+ pounds) or know someone who is in a similar position. Just be confident and take care of yourself.

If a man loves you, he will make it work. If it's meant to be, it will work. Don't ever feel bad about yourself for something that's out of your control. There's actually a woman in a non-Rules group that I follow who is undergoing chemotherapy and only has a few years left to live (if that). Guess what? She has guys all over her! Remember that you are worthy of love and a man doesn't need a disclaimed to date you- whatever your situation. If there are any other scenarios you can think of, let me know. I definitely want all of you to find love. If you need help navigating anything that can make dating tricky, let me know. I'm also fine providing free advice on this if there's something I didn't mention and can do another blog post. There are some situations that make dating tricky but, that doesn't mean you can't find love. As a dating coach, I'm pretty sure I've heard it all.

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