​Dating Again After Heartbreak

Posted by Zack Collie in Life After Paralysis on December 30, 2022 # Relationships

Zack and girlfriendIt’s been about three years since my last relationship. It was the first serious relationship of my life and my first real relationship post-injury. After breaking my neck, I felt extremely discouraged about dating and finding someone who could look past my disability. Being a man, I could no longer do the things men are taught to do (pick up the girl on the first date, open the door for her, be able to physically protect her, fix things for her, etc.). It was hard to believe a woman would want to be with a guy in my situation. Then, I finally met someone who could look past my wheelchair and love me for who I am.

I realized that certain people are open to dating someone in a wheelchair. This gave me hope

about finding someone to spend my life with and have a family. I ended up falling in love with this person and got engaged. I was ready to spend the rest of my life with her, but sometimes life doesn’t always work out as planned. After being engaged for a year and a half, we decided to part ways. This was an extremely hard and dark time for me. It was my first time ever loving someone and having my heart broken. I had never experienced heartbreak until then. It was one of the hardest things I have gone through in my life.

Feelings of hopelessness came flooding back into my mind. I was devastated and angry. However, just like the many lessons I learned after my injury, I learned a lot about myself following my heartbreak. It hurt me every day for a long time, and the only thing that helped was leaning on God and time. It takes time to heal from this kind of experience. Having my heart broken made me a stronger person. It showed me what I really want in a person and the kind of person I deserve in my life. It gave me an opportunity to grow and focus on myself for a while. I had no interest in dating the first year after my breakup.

After a while, I felt ready to put myself back out there again. I downloaded some old dating apps I used to be on and updated my profile and pictures. Fast forward a few months, I got a message and started talking with someone. It felt nice to flirt and talk with someone again, but at the same time, it was scary because I didn’t want to get hurt again. I knew exactly what I was looking for, and this person checks all of my boxes. I wanted to do things right and carefully. I didn’t want to rush anything, but I was also really excited because I hadn’t felt like this in a long time. We both talked about what we wanted in a future partner and our goals in life. We had a lot of common values and goals we wanted to accomplish. One of the biggest things that stood out to me about her was her ability to communicate with me. She was very mature and speaks her mind. One thing we had in common that we bonded over was that in both of our previous relationships, we were the ones that got hurt.

We have now been in an official relationship for two months, and things are going really well. It was scary to open up again to someone, but it was good for both of us. I want to encourage anyone reading this who is lonely or hopeless about dating to fall in love. Don’t give up, it can happen. It takes a special kind of person to date someone in our situation, but they are out there. Always be yourself, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know what could happen.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.