It's important for me to eventually tell potential Mr. Rights about my CP so that they'll understand when I might need help or why I'm not able to do certain things. If we're walking together and I'm not looking at him, it's not because I'm not listening to what he's saying, it's because I'm scanning the ground for potential obstacles to trip over. If I'm not moving from my corner of the bar, it's not because I'm anti-social, it's because I know it'll be difficult to keep my balance while threading through the crowd, especially with a drink in my hand.
CP is not hereditary, so I can't pass it on to any kids we have, and it's not transferable like AIDS or an STD, so my date has nothing to worry about—except perhaps a drink spilled in his lap. It's non-progressive, so just as it can never be cured, it can never get worse. Therapy can lessen the severity of the symptoms. People can even improve, like going from plastic braces that reach up to your knee (I had those) to simple orthotics that fit inside sneakers. But even though I'm not getting any worse, a disability isn't the best first-date conversation fodder. 5 Tips For Beating First-Date Nerves
My hesitation is not the result of shame. I don't have difficulty answering questions from my friends or even from strangers. My parents have emphasized to me that I must be my own best advocate, so I have not been shy about asking for assistance when necessary. Somehow, though, I've found that friends and family are more forgiving than the men I've been interested in. The second time I met the woman who is now my sister-in-law, I spilled a drink on her—twice. The first glass of water slipped through my hand when I accidentally stumbled. Then, just five minutes after recovering from that humiliation, I gestured with my left hand while holding a refill. When Neysi smiled and calmly asked for another napkin, I was so grateful for her compassion and composure that I almost could have married her myself.