“Interabled” is the word for a relationship in which one person is disabled and the other is abled.* (see footnote).
Anyone with a disability who is in a relationship is in an “interabled” relationship. That includes us deaf folk, people with Down syndrome, the blind, neuro-diverse, everyone. If any of us are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have a disability, that’s “interabled.”
Dr. Phil said that people in an interabled relationship can be a lover or a caregiver but not both.
He said this in response to a couple that was on his show in which the girlfriend was providing the caregiving for the boyfriend who has a physical disability. I don’t really want to get into the background of the show (read more about it all here), because I think that the show in and of itself is not significant. What is significant here is that Dr. Phil echoes what many people really do think: that you can’t take care of someone’s physical needs or help them with their disability and still be their lover.
The fundamental point in all of this is that we think there is something wrong with taking care of another person. Or rather, not “we,” but “some people in our culture” – because we don’t all think that now, do we?!
Deep Thoughts on This:
The entire universe exists in organized assistance.
Animals, organic matter, insects, flowers, marine life, the stars, cosmos, absolutely EVERYTHING IN OUR UNIVERSE exists in organized assistance.
Down to our cells.
Our cells, all of them, help each other and exist, grow and flourish when they help each other. There is only one type of cell that does not help or assist other cells, and that is the cancer cell.
Cancer cells are consumer cells
All other cells help each other; it’s only cancer cells that take and do not give. And they cause death.
So, when we talk about helping other people – including our lovers – let’s remember this piece. We all are a part of this interactive, cosmic movement that echoes right down to our cells and to NOT be a part of that is like being a cancerous cell.
Not So Deep Thoughts on This:
From a less “deep” magical, mystical and mind-blowing cosmos place, I have to say that I kind of snorted when I read that stuff about Dr. Phil and his thoughts regarding all of this because, you know, I can’t hear. And I yeah, I need people to hear for me at times. All of my own relationships have been interabled. But the thought that was the only one getting just because someone would do the hearing for me is laughable.
I know many, many people with a myriad of disabilities (from paraplegics to blind, deaf and deaf-blind) who need physical assistance from their partner, but give their abled partner SO MUCH. Not just love and companionship (although in and of itself that’s enough); no; I have seen them give their abled partners support, ideas, stability, homes.
We (I’m saying “we” because I have done this too) provide for our abled partners; we work, we bring home the bread. We are often powerhouses of action. From another personal example, sure all of my partners have had to hear for me but I took them around the world! I gave them adventure and stability and fun! It was all give and get. I got from them, they got from me.
Don’t go saying that oh, it’s just because I’m deaf and that’s easy compared to wiping your lover’s butt.
Because it’s not and it’s not.
Everyone is different. For some people, wiping a person’s butt isn’t a big deal but repeating something over and over again is. We all tick different tocks, so we must remember to hold our judgements about what someone else can and can’t do, and what makes sense for them in their relationship.
Same goes for sexy; remember we aren’t all attracted to the same thing (thank God), and remember MOST IMPORTANTLY that chemistry is profound.
I have been physically attracted to people that I never set out thinking I’d be attracted to. YES, I have found men who are wheelchair users to be sexy! But I don’t have a type or a “thing” for people who use wheelchairs. There have simply been men that I have met who I have found sexy because of our chemistry and they were wheelchair users.
Back to Interabled Relationships, Dr. Phil and #100Outof100
My point in this post is that if you aren’t helping anyone and if you are solely focused on consuming in your own life, you are one hell of a blight on this earth. You are solid cancer.
But if you are giving and getting – regardless of whether or not you have a disability – then you are doing your part in this magical, mystical, cosmic dance of all creation and we can join hands now and sing kumbaya. (just kidding!)
Check out the photos on Instagram, they are so cool:
“Disabled” isn’t a word that I particularly like, nor is “disability” – but for lack of a better word that truly signifies the experience, I use it and promote it. The same goes for “abled” – right now, it’s the best word that everyone can compromise on that indicates the difference between someone with a disability and someone without.
Read more about it in this post here: 3 Reasons to Say “Disability” Instead of “Special Needs”
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.