Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sex & Disabilities--My First Exposure (Part II)

When I was in high school, I hadn't been diagnosed as having any physical disability. Despite my severely depressive episodes that landed me in a hospital after ninth grade, I was able to hide amongst the "healthy" population most of the time. It was during that ninth grade year that I met Damien. He was an attractive boy who was two years older than me and had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Damien and his brother both used wheelchairs because of their MS. We became close friends. He often talked about his girlfriend who treated him rather poorly much of the time. It was during those conversations that I learned that not all people who needed a wheelchair were unable to have sex. Maybe it seems that I should have known that already but considering how little I knew about sex period, you shouldn't really be surprised at my ignorance.

As a matter of fact, Damien was not a virgin. He and his girlfriend Shawann were sexually active. However, she sometimes went outside of what they had decided should be a monogamous relationship. I asked Damien why he put up with it and he admitted that he really didn't think that he'd be able to find another girl who wouldn't be afraid of having sex with him because of his disability. Now, I know there are some who may think that since we were still teenagers, he should have been concerned with academics and not finding sex partners. But, whether we like it or not, many teens are sexually active and these sort of problems matter to them.

My view about Damien's worry was not as sympathetic as it could have been. I tend to try to view the world as logical as possible, even when that isn't the approach that someone's looking for. I figured that since Damien had found one person who'd sleep with him, it wasn't impossible that there might be another person who'd also do it and maybe she'd at least be a bit nicer to him than Shawann was. I don't think that made him feel any better but I was too immature to understand why that was at the time.

Well, life has a way of making sure you learn the lessons you need to know even if you don't comprehend it all the first time you're presented with a problem. When I was dating CaliGuy, we had a pretty healthy intimate life at first. To be honest, I don't know how much his eventual infidelity was tied to my disability. In the past, I viewed the cheating he did as his way of trying to end the relationship without knowing of a more mature way to go about it. Towards the end of the relationship, I did figure out that CaliGuy just wasn't emotionally equipped to handle being involved with me and being disabled was definitely one of the aspects that he couldn't cope with.

It wasn't until tonight that I started wondering if his infidelity might not have been an attempt to activate an "escape clause". Our break-up didn't ocur because we didn't care for each other any more. Eventually it became clear that, no matter how some one would define those feelings, they weren't enough to make it a healthy relationship for me to retain. It could have been that he never did love me and cleverly managed to hide that fact for a long time. However, I think it was pretty clear to us both that we were in love at first. At some point, it seems he stopped feeling the way he originally had.

In his eyes, caring for me became a chore and he began to express resentment that he felt he was putting more work into the relationship than I was, even though I was devoting as much of my life to it as I could. Our intimacy level changed but, to this day, I don't know if it changed once he started cheating or did the cheating start after our intimacy wasted away. If the cheating started after our intimacy stopped, then it may very well be that he began to look at me differently as a result of my evolving medical needs and physiological problems and then began to look for someone whom he could share a romantic relationship with. That's a little more understandable than the former scenario, even though it's still not excusable. Maybe I'll call him this week and ask him about it. Fortunately, enough time has passed where we can both talk about our old relationship without it severely affecting the friendship we've re-developed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well peace again tulip!

There's a looseness in the interchanging placement of love, infidelity, and romance. Infidelity? For a younger female, I can diggit. Now tho, is there a "natural" relationship btween romance and love?

And cheating? What in the relationship as described here requires either party to be loyal and to not cheat?