The author of the new book Heavy Metal Headbang shares some of how dating went for her while recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and has a little advice for those with TBI who are dating, and those dating anyone with a TBI.
It’s likely that you will or already do know someone who will experience or has experienced trauma of some form. As friends, it’s important that we understand the responsibilities and limitations of our role, so we can best support our friends who are survivors and maintain our boundaries. Has someone disclosed to you a traumatic experience they’ve had? How can you best support that person and yourself? Here’s some information about trauma, the role of friends, and what it means to really support survivors.
Dynamics like mine require a lot of honesty, and often speaking honestly can make you feel vulnerable, but showing vulnerability to a partner is a good way to build trust and intimacy. At the same time, you learn a lot about yourself as you're forced to ask yourself tough questions and to think carefully about what you want from a relationship and why - in turn, this makes you appreciate the reasons you want to be with your partner(s), and what it is about being with them that makes you happy.
I've recently done a lot of internal sexual exploration. Around three years ago, I came out to most of my family and friends as bisexual. This year I became MUCH more attracted to men than I've ever been. It was confusing but I ended up coming to the conclusion that labeling my sexuality was a confusing waste of time and energy for me....
Disability may feel scary if you’re new to it - there is a lot of language involved to learn, maybe more medical information than you feel capable of handling, or you might have a fear about possibly being cast in a caregiver role more so than a partner. All of these fears can be dispelled or addressed through ongoing, healthy communication. In my experience, disclosure is an ongoing conversation and there is no single “correct” way to do it, but there are ways that our partners can be stronger allies.
It’s extremely disingenuous to pretend that everyone but men struggle with emotions, and doesn’t help liberate us from the toxic ideal that “real men don’t cry,” or exhibit sadness. Men who date other men have additional obstacles to navigate if both they and their partners have difficultly accessing vulnerability. That’s why I’d like to take the time with you to discuss how social norms have shaped the emotional health of queer men and how crucial vulnerability is as an empowering vehicle towards deeper connection and compatibility in your relationships. I’ll also share some tips with you on how to uncover your own latent feelings and offer some suggestions on how to share these thoughts with someone you’re interested in or dating.
Suddenly, a person you’ve been regularly communicating with is M.I.A. Without warning, a fixture of recent life can become a memory. Somebody you’d bonded with has abruptly stopped contacting you. The text messages have ceased, all traces of their presence in your life have been yanked away by them, and without warning or explanation. But just because the experience is stressful doesn’t mean it’s impossible to endure. There are ways for autistic people to come out the other side of getting ghosted.
Sex and sexuality are still often taboo for pregnant people, and for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized people who don’t fit a given culture’s ideas or ideals of pregnancy, it can be even more challenging. American sex coach Kaci Mial, M.Ed. works with people trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and postpartum.
When you gain weight and want to talk about it -- whatever your feelings about it are -- with partners or others you're in intimate relationships with, how can you do that, especially in a world where so few people are equipped with the skills to talk about weight in healthy, sensitive, supportive ways?
Being autistic, some things just haven’t come as naturally for me as they seem to for other people. Unfortunately, these have included hallmarks of American life often used to symbolize being “an adult” like driving on my own or getting my first paid job. But human beings are not on a strict timetable to do all the same things at the same time. This is just as true of dating like anything else. Just because you (or I) haven’t been actively dating when a lot of other people in your life have doesn’t make you (or me) a failure. You’re just on your own timetable. So am I.