Valentine’s Day Reconsidered

 

Happy Valentine's DayIt’s Valentine’s day, and so dating and falling in love is on everyone’s mind. Let’s exclude a dozen roses, chocolates, and a hallmark card crew that have the holiday all covered, or so they think. Being an amputee may make it harder to enjoy this holiday. When I started to research this article, I was shocked that the only Valentine’s Day articles for Amputees were written by women for other women. I may be the first male to address this opportunity.

This holiday did not have such a glorious history. The Roman Emperor executed a physician named Valentine who treated people with epilepsy. Pope Gelacious created Valentine’s day on the same day as the Roman festival of Lupercalia. He hoped to stop the cruel rituals of the Romans where young women would line up to be whipped by young men to celebrate fertility. It did not take on its commercialization till the 1840’s when Valentine’s day cards were produced in mass. Now there are more sent this day than on Christmas.

There is a Dating Amputees Web Site but that does not remove the social anxiety all amputees face. You still have to get the courage to commit to meet, get dressed, and make your debut. Using a dating service makes the whole process as easy as ordering a pizza, but it doesn’t take away the psychological terror it instills. If your body image is not strong enough and you are not confident in how you look now may make this all the more difficult. It may take a few trials runs to get a good sense of your capacity to feel confident and comfortable. The website is an excellent way to increase your courage. An amputee chat room allows you to share stories and meet other members. A message board and blog enables you to take a picture and description of a person you are interested in more human and the process easier. This process can be used to your advantage. 

Social Anxiety is a chronic mental health condition in which social interactions like dating causes intense irrational anxiety—even the thought of meeting someone new leaves the amputee with overwhelming anxiety, fear, and self-consciousness. Fear of being judged, worry about embarrassment or humiliation, or concern about offending someone are intensified with the loss of a limb. Social anxiety responds well to a combination of talk therapy and antidepressants, which can help increase confidence and improve the ability to interact with others.

Restoring your self-confidence is difficult but possible. Being able to start dating is a real test of your self-esteem. You must visualize yourself as an exciting person to be around. You must keep in mind the old adage,” Who put the fun in dysfunctional?” Remember, you are the same person you were before your amputation. Many of us are more compassionate and humble after our amputation.

If you don’t admit to a fear of rejection, it may flood you as you meet someone for the first time. Psychologists have proven that in the first four minutes of meeting someone new, people decide if they can have a relationship with you. If someone can’t see past your amputated limb, they’re insecure and shallow. You don’t have time for such trivial and childish games – you’re busy living your life, not pretending to be something you’re not.

Instead of hiding it, you must reach a point that you can talk calmly about your amputation. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of being an amputee, talk about the positive sides, too, such as your proudest moment when regaining your independence. When you’re comfortable talking about your life, your date will feel relaxed about it also.

The more confident you are about yourself, the more attractive you’ll be. Talk about what makes you the kind of person that you are. Just like anyone else, amputees have successful careers, participate in sports, have hobbies and interests as well as lots of friends and family. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be one of them.

Keep your head up, knowing that you won’t find what you’re looking for without taking a risk! So be yourself and have faith – you’ll get there.  Just because you have lost a leg, foot, arm, or hand should not affect you from finding love. It takes some courage to agree to commit yourself to take the first move and set up a date. 

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