Road to Intimacy
Bonnie Jones, 40, enjoys a healthy intimate relationship with her
partner, Richard, with whom she shares a home. But the journey,
she says, was far from short and far from easy. "At first, I was
judging myself so harshly that I saw a person who had nothing to
offer," she says. "Eventually, I realized that I still had the person
I was inside, but I was pushing her down."
experience reflects that of many women with disabilities who struggle
to build close relationships. Some obstacles are givens: feelings
of loss and shame, awkward new beginnings and, usually, at least
one bad match. But the road to intimacy doesn't have to stop there.
said, "Can you have it all - the security, the love, the pleasure
of intimacy? You don't have to settle for anything less. There are
those out there who can deal with the physical and emotional issues
that go with disability. They're out there, but you'll never find
one unless you believe you deserve it. It was an accepting of myself
to let someone really care for me - to feel like I was worth being
Bonnie, that self-acceptance was hard to win. She said, "You have
to develop yourself in other areas of life that make you an interesting
person - not just a disabled person. In the beginning, you're so
busy licking your wounds that you can't see that life can still
happen for you. I wish someone had told me that and I wouldn't have
wasted so many years worrying so much."
she have heard it then? "That is a really good question," replies
Bonnie. "Maybe I heard it when I could."
note: This article and the related article
on self-acceptance include excerpts from:
to Intimacy," an article by Jean Dobbs, executive editor of
New Mobility magazine, Horsham, PA 215-675-9133