Dating on Wheels: Commitment-phobe in a Wheelchair

Dear Tiffiny,

I have been in an open relationship with a guy in a wheelchair for over a year. He reminds me often that we are not in committed relationship.

I understand why he doesn’t want to get serious, but am crazy about him. How can I make him understand that I don’t care about his disability…and thar I want us to be in a committed relationship?



Dear RubyRed,

It sounds like your boyfriend has a classic case of the I’m-in-a-wheelchair-and-nobody-will-like-me flu.

Relatively common, commonly cured with a swift kick to the ass. But in this case since he wouldn’t feel it, you’re going to have to give him a swift verbal kick instead.

But before that. I actually have some experience with open relationships. Not personally, but I have friends that practice this style of dating. I’m not about to say anything negative about it. It can work great for a lot of people, but only for the right reasons.

For those reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, an open relationship means you are allowed to date other people, non-monogamy basically. It takes a lot of trust to make it work. It sounds like however you’re over having an open relationship (or maybe never wanted one in the first place?).

So you’re in love! Yay! And you want to somehow make it clear to him that you’re crazy about him, and think he’s being absolutely ridiculous about avoiding monogamy?

You need to sit him down and have a serious conversation. Tell him (in a pre-rehearsed speech, or straight from the heart, whichever your style) exactly what you just told me.

Tell him that you don’t care about his disability. Look him in eyes as you’re telling him this too, and hold his hands. You need to work it girl. He needs to believe what you’re telling him (because it sounds like he isn’t going to want to believe you right away). Sometimes, sadly, it takes a little more persuasion to get us to really believe that you want to be with us (for some of us that is).

If, after you tell him this and he still doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship, then you have no choice (in my eyes at least) but to not be with him anymore. You would be miserable, and you’d be trying to change somebody (which is the number one dating rule nobody should break).

Ok, that’s all I got. Just please, don’t be with him anymore if he persists (and I have a feeling you’ll know what to do in that moment anyways).

Wishing you luck in love,


  1. In my opinion, (I have 2 scenarios) and this is coming from a guy in a wheelchair who has actually been in that situation a few times. Number one, she’s just not the right one. If she was, she would be. Love is overwhelming, and if ‘two’ mutual people feel love; there is nothing stopping them from being together and committed. Second, he’s talking to other females. He’s either flirting online through social media resources, face to face, or both. Problem with that is, he see’s options, and will not commit because of the possibility of ‘something’ or ‘someone’ better. If that’s the case, and through what I’ve learned, it’s best to be truthful. Problem is for him, if he tells her the truth, he may lose her (he’ll also lose comfortability, sex, and sort of a partner), and why would he do that, when she’s happily staying on the back burner? The problem is a simple fix (but hard on the heart), she needs to ask for what she wants (communicate her feelings), and if they don’t have the same wants and needs, then she needs to move on. Sometimes a man needs to be ‘without’ to realize what he had.

  2. The key here is “open” relationship. I’m in a committed relationship with someone disabled. People with physical disabilities are no different emotionally than those who are more able bodied. If your understanding as to why no committment is because of the disability, therein lies the problem. if you were both able bodied and in an open relationship, you would still be in the same situation. Look beyond the disability and see the guy for who he is and what he wants. If he isn’t going to budge, I hate to say it, but it is time to move on if committment is what you want. I do understand that in some ways people with disabilities have their differences. But I find that in many more ways, they are no different than anyone else.

  3. Thank you tiffiny for your opinion, I know what I need to do but am afraid of the outcome, i don’t know if i can handle losing him. also thank you issac for your comment I totally feel the same way even though he says it not that and he never been in love. He say’s he doesn’t like to get attached to no one. Issac I do have a question for you, is your disability keeping from wanting to settle down? Well that’s how my guy makes me feel, he even mentions how he just going to get worst later. I don’t know how to handle the situation.

  4. Not to be rude but did he mention anything about having a “case of being in a wheelchair and nobody likes me” flu? Or was this an assumption? Maybe he just doesn’t want a serious relationship.

  5. Ruby Red, my deepest apologies for the late response. As for your question, yes, my disability did keep me from wanting to pursue a future with someone (in the beginning). For me, I was really young when I became disabled, so maturity and knowledge of love was minimal. I said things like, “you don’t want to be with someone like me, because I can’t do what everyone else can do”. The truth is, there are all sorts of fears that live in the hearts of a disabled person, even with love. Most of us beat these fears, and find ways to live beautiful lives. But what I’ve learned is that love is separate from disability. You can’t connect these two powerful entities, because one will always use the other as an excuse. My advice to you is simple, and it will work if carried through efficiently (even if that means you’re not with him in the end). You’ll need to be strong, and understand that if it doesn’t pan out to your heart’s content, then you will find someone that will in the future. First, talk with him. Tell him exactly how you feel, and that his disability does not matter. Express your love, and be honest how you feel about his feelings as well (concerning his disability). If he pushes you away, then you’ll have to walk away, for now. Most men need some time to think alone to realize what they have. Explain to him very carefully why you have to walk away. Tell him “your disability doesn’t have anything to do with how I feel for you”, and tell him how much you love him and want to be with only him, but he’s pushing you away. Let him know that it ‘seems’ as if he doesn’t want the same thing as you, and if that is so, you ‘have’ to move on. You have to be confident in what you want from him, or he’ll see weakness and use it against you, because he knows you love him. Do not take excuses, or play games with words or emotions. He needs to choose ‘you’. If he doesn’t, then you know the truth about his love for you (because ‘true’ love will always be pursued). And if it’s his disability, depression, or fears that are holding him back, then there’s nothing that you could ever do to help him with that situation anyway. These are things that each person has to conquer on their own, and you’ll just be along for a rough and bumpy ride during all of these things he’s figuring out in his head with his disability. Which, by experience, wastes a lot of life, and causes a lot of pain for both individuals involved, so it would be best if you guys were not together during those difficult times of figuring it all out. And, if it does work out, and he confesses his love for you and wants to be with you…make sure he doesn’t fiddle with the old thoughts and hold backs…if he does play the ‘disability card’ again, move on again right away and show him you’re not the ‘playing’ type…it will put him in check right away, and he’ll know you’re serious, and you don’t play when it comes to your heart. Hope this helps….

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