DWD (Dating With Disabilities)

A reader in Rhode Island needs our help. Let's get to it.
I'm a 40-year-old man and never married, although I was in a committed relationship for about ten years with the same woman. We didn't marry mainly because her father didn't approve of me. I'm well-educated and financially comfortable. Now I would like to meet someone and start a family, but I am gun-shy because I have a physical disability which affects my speech and gait, and I'm not sure how women will react to it. It doesn't seem right, especially online, to mention it as the first, most-prominent things about me, but I've also had the experience of the wind leaving a woman's sails as soon as I amble into view, or they hear me over the phone. It seems there's no suave way to "out" myself, and I probably end up making more of a big deal of my disability than I should. I admit it undermines my confidence in social situations. I'm sure there must be a smartest way to manage and transcend this aspect of my life, but I haven't yet figured it out. -- OutOfStep, Providence, RI

Years ago, I met a former stripper who told me a well-known stripping secret: If you're insecure about a part of your body, treat that part of your body as if it’s the sexiest thing about you. Basically, mind over matter -- and the audience believes. You're insecure about your speech and gait. That’s understandable. But like those strippers who learn to rock out with their bodies on stage (even if they think their thighs are fat), you need to have mind over matter. You’re funny. You’re obviously sensitive. I know a few dozen women who dream of meeting a 40-year-old man who wants a family. I truly believe that if you work on the confidence, they’ll come ... eventually. As for when to mention your issues online – be up front. But be confident. Be like those strippers. Work it. “I like books, music, and have the most seductive of speech impediments and a swagger you'll never forget.” And if they can’t get over these issues, good riddance. There will be others. Readers? Advice for OutOfStep? Share here. Have your own problem? Submit here. To read through last week’s letters, click here. -- Meredith