Dating can be a nerve-wracking experience, but living with blindness or low vision doesn’t mean it’s off limits.
Vision Australia recently held a special Telelink program, Table for One, about dating as person who is blind or has low vision.
We spoke to Table for One co-facilitator Sarah Taylor, who lives with low vision, about her dating experiences and got her to give us her top five dating tips for people who are blind or have low vision.
“While there might be additional challenges to dating when you’re blind or have low vision, the world of dating is pretty much the same for everyone. It takes time and you may need to kiss a lot of frogs,” Sarah said.
“Don’t be afraid to throw some fish back either. Just because someone is kind to you it doesn’t mean you have to love them.”
Read on for Sarah’s top five dating tips for people who are blind or have low vision!
Want even more dating advice? Listen to Sarah chat with Talking Vision host Stella Glorie about navigating some common dating scenarios as someone who is blind or has low vision. Listen here or on the player below:
Sarah’s top five dating tips
It’s important to have your orientation and mobility and occupational therapy skills up so you can be confident in your independence. This can avoid a power imbalance in a relationship and a situation where the sighted person becomes your caregiver.
Apps and online dating
Most dating sites are accessible, however photos can often be an issue for people. If this is the case have a trusted friend take a photo.
Talk to them about what you would like your photo to say about you. It’s all about articulating what you want. There are also apps like AIRA that can assist you.
Meeting people out and about
Joining special interest groups will assist you to build your confidence. You might not meet love of your life, but you might meet someone who knows Mr or Mrs Wonderful.
If you’re out socially, get a wing-man or wing-woman so they can pick out some potential dates (just make sure they pick out someone you would like and not just someone they would go for).
Some people put their disability right out there and other people will wait. Whatever your decision, your blindness or low vision will come up at some point, so be prepared to answer questions.
However, keep it brief and focus on the positives and what you can do. For example, maybe you like travel and judo. You do not have to apologise for being blind, for example if your Seeing Eye Dog starts grumbling or chewing the furniture*.
Prepare for the date
Where possible choose the venue yourself. Make it somewhere familiar or research online. Look at the menu, what the opening hours are and public transport options. Don’t get your date to pick you up (unless you already know them).
“I would say “have fun” but anyone who’s ever dated knows that this is virtually impossible. So be nice to yourself,” Sarah said.
*This never happens by the way!
Interested in joining a Telelink group like Table for One? Find out more about Telelink here.