Some of my favorite conversations with my counterpart, Carly, happen when we are ranting about The Men. It seems that after every break up, we find a way to admit that the guy was actually horrible and treated us nowhere like we wanted and deserved to be treated. But, we stay in the relationship way too long even when knowing deep down somewhere that we were settling for less. Sound familiar? I feel extremely positive that this happens to every person at some point in their life. (If it hasn’t happened to you, please send me your secrets!)

When I looked up the word “settle”, on Google, and read all the way down through each definition, I found the one that ties it all together. “Settle: accept or agree to (something that one considers to be less than satisfactory)”. Dating is all about this concept.

The dating game is a tough road. Sometimes it’s much easier to think about putting up with someone lame than it is to be single and lonely. Isn’t being miserable together better because you’re together?!

Carly and I have spent many an hour, dissecting our relationships and figuring out exactly where we were settling. We were starting to realize that we were doing this in every relationship, and you know what? We were okay with it!! We were staying in relationships that made us unhappy way past the suggested expiration date. We would be kidding ourselves if we thought we were the only ones doing this. It’s a very common occurrence in ladies who think they deserve to be in something less than “makes me a happier person and fills my life with joy.” After thinking that maybe there was a separate reason as to why this was happening with us, it finally hit us. Are we settling more often because we have disabilities?

Outside of the fact that we know we are absolutely gorgeous, there are people out there that might think we aren’t. And just a little bit of doubt can cause a lot of issues for a person’s psyche.

I hate to say this, but I have uttered the words, “I know I’m settling, but finding someone that still accepts me, with my disability, means I can accept them too, flaws and all.” These flaws ranged from living in a camper, being an alcoholic, needing to smoke pot to survive, and not wanting to talk to my friends (because he simply didn’t see a reason to). I was settling. I was settling because I honestly thought that if someone were to date me, they must have some “wrong” with them too.

That’s crappy. And it makes me feel crappy just admitting it. Outside of my discussions with Carly, I did admit this thought to one of my male friends. His reaction shocked me. He was upset. Not at the world, but at me. He could not believe that I would think that way for even a second.

I was so embarrassed! I was being called out on accepting terrible companions because I really thought they were what I deserved BECAUSE of my disability.

He was so right. His words were the cold water that I needed to wake up. Even though my body is different, that doesn’t mean my mind is. And if my mind were different too? That wouldn’t matter either.  My disability is as big a part of my identity as my smile. I would never spend time with a human who didn’t like to make me smile, so why be dating someone who I thought wasn’t treating me the best possible way?

I always thought I accepted my disability on every level, but I wasn’t. To fully accept that part of me means that I’m willing to stick it out and be single until that one special guy who treats me better than I ever imagined, finds me. Who’s with me?