Blind Dating: Looking for Love in the Digital Age - Visually Impaired: Now What? - VisionAware
She is one of three main characters in the film who shares her experience of dating in our digital age as someone who is visually impaired. Being visually challenged prevents a person from making use of one of the most important senses. And yet despite the host of challenges, with practice of. Blind and visually impaired Reddit users share what they find attractive, and it's beautiful. In person, she recognized so much just by listening.
The website was very blind-friendly, as I think I was able to access all the parts and fill in the fields using my screen reader. Its founder is Neil Clark Warren. If we do, will that scare men off before they even get to know us?
Should we be honest and upfront? Will most guys appreciate our forthcomingness? A person I met through the Nashville Singles Line, with whom I had a relationship that lasted just over two years, later said he was glad I told him in advance, as it might have been a bit of a shocking surprise had he not known beforehand. I had to make a choice I could live with.
So, I included that bit of information about me. I tried to be middle-of-the-road in this like I try to be in most things in life. I could write a profile, but how long to make it?
The questions kept on coming. Soon though, so did the messages. Managing the Messages Some were insulting and awful, but it felt comforting I was getting reactions I heard every other woman also received because I felt like I was just like everyone else. I liked being online because I could block and delete. I felt like I had some kind of control, the kind I had none of in a noisy, busy, blurry bar. It was still a visual concept, the fact that dating and online dating felt like a buffet of sorts, which are also difficult for people who are blind.
I found that everyone has preferences and qualities they are looking for. I soon found my comfort with the right amount of messages, back and forth, before meeting in person.
Cara is nodding her head right now. Just so you know. I didn't want to interrupt but I completely agree. I couldn't agree more on that. There's some misnomers on things that you may have to navigate around that people may make assumptions about you because you have a disability that you have to tackle when you are looking at dating someone.
Yeah, so just to kind of piggy back on that. I really couldn't agree more. I mean as a person with a disability, I think I've encountered those in romantic settings that think that maybe it's not quite as much of an equal partnership because I'm coming at it with a disability versus you know being with somebody but you know what, everybody has something going on.
So you know, I can definitely relate to what you're saying on that and I think probably most of our listeners can as well.
Empish, for our listening audience, can you take a minute and kind of tell folks what you do for a career and why we called you.
- Blind Dating: Looking for Love in the Digital Age
- Dating 101 for People with Vision Loss
- Dating a Blind Person or Someone Visually Challenged
There's a reason we called you. I'm in the Atlanta area and I work at a vision rehabilitation center here in Atlanta. So I do work helping people who are visually-impaired, newly blind and visually-impaired and what I do is public education and community outreach. So I kind of do like PR and marketing in a sense.
I work with the website. I help out with the newsletter. I work with our blog and I also do presentations and public speaking. I also do vendor fairs. I'll be doing one tomorrow for Foundation for Fighting Blindness. I'll be doing a vendor table there and handing out literature, talking about the organization that I work for, getting the word out about what we do and how we can help people who just lost their vision and how they can be more independent, get their life back, get back on their feet.
That kind of thing.
On the side, I volunteer for VisionAware. That's where you guys saw the blog post where I'm a peer adviser. So a bunch of us get together and we come up with different ideas on topics and things to put on Vision Aware. We are all visually impaired all over the country and also international.
We have some peer advisers that are in Australia and other places. And we get together once a month on a conference call to kind of come up with topics, ideas, and things that we think people would want to know about.
Dating for People with Vision Loss - VisionAware
It's been a really rewarding experience because it adds to resources and information and that personal objective of finding information for someone who is visually impaired but hearing these stories that are written by people who are also visually impaired and about their day to day life. So I do that on a volunteer aside from my regular job.
So you are very busy. Laughs Ya, that's what everybody says. But that's how you meet people too. You know, we had touched on a little bit briefly about how you get into it. But it's a kind of how you put yourself out there. And I think to bridge on that a little bit, you had mentioned that you had lost your sight when you were about So are you completely blind, partially sighted?
I'm totally blind now. I lost it over time and yeah, I'm totally blind now. So how do you feel dating before the age of 25 versus dating after the age of 25 where you had sight compared to when you had no sight? What are some of the differences that you have really noticed and what are some things that you can tell our listeners about that maybe you found successful and some helpful tips.
I'm trying to remember I'm in my 40s now. Nobody's too old to date. I'm trying to remember what did I do back then when I was in college and so dating in college is totally different than dating as an adult.
You're more mature, you know. You have a career. You know when you're in college your kinda broke laughs and a lot of different things. So go to a nice restaurant now. You can afford it And when you're older, you're more confident about how you are as a person. In college, you are still trying to figure yourself out, what your major is gonna be.
There's a lot of different things that have to nothing to do with vision impairment that's going on. The confidence can be a big factor and really feeling comfortable in your skin and who you really are as a person can be a big factor in dating. If you don't feel comfortable in your skin as a person with a vision impairment, if you are still maybe grappling with your sight loss or maybe haven't quite dealt with that, that's gonna come out in your romantic life.
And I think dating even as sighted people, I think the same thing applies. So far everything that you've said about the confidence part is really important. Ya, and I think just being really understanding or at least in my experience it has always been the more you understand about who you are and are good with who you are going into a relationship, the better the relationship will be.
And with that we will head into a commercial break. We are joined in studio with Harley Thomas as always and me, pretending to be the real host, Cara Catton. And our guest today is Empish Thomas who is a lifestyle blogger. And you are listening to Blind Living Radio. Blind Living Radio will be right back after these messages.
From industries with the blind providing employment opportunities for blind professionals since Welcome back to Blind Living Radio. I think Cara's trying to replace me. My name's Harley Thomas. This is Cara Catton. And we are joined on the phone with Empish Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia.
She's a lifestyle blogger. And we are talking a little about dating. We are in the season of love. We are in the season of love and beheadings. Let's, we should probably jump back in love life. You should probably talk to Empish.
I'm a little bit of a Debbie Downer around Valentine's Day. So let's talk to Empish. During the break, you had a great idea that you and Empish should talk about. So, Empish, you and I were chatting a little bit and I think our audience would really be interested about what are some of the best tips and ways that you found to be successful in the dating world after you lost your sight.
Well, you know, it's interesting that you ask me that question. Some things I realized I didn't have to reinvent the wheel all over again. I think sometimes when you lose your vision you think 'Oh gosh, I gotta start my life off all over again because I'm blind. Some I didn't and I thought well what did I do when I was sighted? Well, implement some of those things, just kind of tweak it a little bit.
So when you think about where do I go to meet people? Well, maybe go to your faith community. You go to civic or social organizations.
Finding Love as a Person with Vision Loss
Or maybe you have a meet up group or a book club. Or maybe you are at a networking function at your job. Those are places that sighted people meet people too. And you can do the same. And actually, a guy I dated, I met at a book club function. So it's the same kind of concept. You don't have to bang your head up against the wall and reinvent everything. But that's a great suggestion that I thought of on my own self. Look at those places that your already going. What are you doing?
Maybe you are volunteering somewhere, whatever. And you can meet people right there at those same spots. And that's a great thing. And that's a great thing too cause you're confident because you are familiar with those environments.
And you're relaxed and you are in a familiar place. Also ask friends and family for connections, for hook ups. You know, you're probably talking to someone you know, your friends, your famiy members, colleagues.
Sometimes it's enough to tell the person where to go, using words like "left" or "right", not "here" or "there" since the blind person will probably not know where's "there". Also don't point in a direction, because the person might not see you pointing. Many blind people will feel what you are doing e. Go down stairs or they'll feel it with their cane, but sometimes it's appreciated to warn him or her about things like steps.
Never grab a blind person's cane to lead him that way. You can show a blind person a chair or bench on putting his hand on the back or arm. It's not necessary to push someone in the chair which would come off as rude and insensitive. Also you need to keep a few conversation tips in mind when dating a blind person. When speaking to a blind or partially sighted person, look directly to them so that they can follow your voice with their eyes and face you.
It's not always possible to avoid words like "look" and "see" since they form such an integral part of everyday language but try to whenever you can.