Finding love is tough and for people with disabilities, more barriers stand in the way

3 months ago 69

SINGAPORE – Like many people, Ms Norliana Mohamed Ajam hopes to settle down with that special someone one day – even if she has had three relationships that did not work out.

But the search for love has not been easy for the 40-year-old, who was born with a rare eye condition – uveitis, or eye inflammation. She is blind in her left eye and partially blind in her right one.

“People have said to me, ‘You are blind. Why should you be in a relationship?’” said Ms Liana, who works as an exhibition guide.

While efforts from self-help groups and organisations, such as SG Enable, have helped people with disabilities (PWDs) become integrated more in society, those with disabilities still face challenges when it comes to affairs of the heart.

“I think many of them are slowly beginning to feel more empowered as society is starting to become more inclusive of them,” said psychologist Ooi Sze Jin, who founded a mental health clinic, A Kind Place, in 2021.

However, some of her clients with disabilities have shared with her that it can be challenging to get people to accept who they are. Some men also worry about not being able to fill the typical “masculine male” role and physically care for their partners, she added.

Some PWDs may not fully understand the difference between someone showing love, and someone looking just for sex, said Ms Ooi, with many of her clients getting sexually abused or emotionally hurt.

In addition, family members of potential partners may not approve of relationships involving a person with disabilities.

“Sometimes, parents and friends worry about their children or friends who are differently abled, and might just try to set them up with anyon...

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