I’ve been struggling with this whole romance thing for the last decade. Honestly, who hasn’t? But my situation is apparently even more complicated: I have a disability.

I say “apparently” because I want to date—I want the same things any able-bodied woman wants out of a relationship. But I was born with a genetic bone and muscular disorder called Freeman-Sheldon syndrome that’s left me with a wheelchair and scars from about 25 surgeries. Despite all that, I’m still a pretty independent woman: I earned a college degree, get around on my own, make most of my own meals, and hold down a career as a freelance writer. My day-to-day life doesn’t look much different from my able-bodied peers’, but my dating life seems to exist in a different universe, one where my desires are nonexistent and everyone assumes I’m looking for a caretaker.

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