The idea of spending the later part of your life alone, a time when you’re the most vulnerable and need someone in your life, is most people’s worst nightmare. Sadly when you have a disability, this can be pretty common.
It’s easy finding sex. The hard part, and the point of this post, is finding someone that will be there when all of this unpleasantness starts happening; someone who’s genuinely in it for the long haul. For many of us with disabilities, the unpleasantness is happening right now.
It can be tough finding people to overlook this, and we can’t very well force people to marry us. So here’s what I’ve decided to make sure I’m not alone when I eventually grow old – I will marry my friend Abe, a fellow quadriplegic whom I met in rehab 16 years ago. He’s also about 10 years older than me. And although there has always been mild flirting, it never went past that.
Abe too has been a wheelchair-user for a long time. While hanging out by a river back on the 4th of July, he fell off a cliff and broke his neck. That was in 1996, and being that he’s a born and raised North Dakotan from Bismarck, North Dakota, that’s exactly where he went after his rehab was over.
Although I wasn’t romantically in love with him, this was a huge bummer. His moving away meant I would rarely, if ever seen him again. At the time I couldn’t drive and he wasn’t able to drive either. Bismark was at least a 6 hour drive from Minneapolis (where I was) and neither of us had lots of money for chauffeurs.
He was like one of the girls when we hung out in rehab. That is why he was so endearing. We initially met in a larger group of disabled friends, and he was always the guy who had something funny to say. He would listen to my problems, offer advice, tease (one of his favorite things). He was and still is one of the nicest guys I’ve meet.
And I was totally right about rarely seeing him after he was discharged from rehab and moved back home. It’s been 16 years now, and I’ve only been able to see him a couple of times. But despite that length of time, we have pledged one of the most intimate things to one another – the pledge of marriage by the age of 50, as corny as that sounds.
We have promised to marry one another if by the time we’re up on our years we’re still single. This is a practical idea, as well as one that only friends could dream of and I absolutely love it. While I made this pledge when I was 19, I never thought I would still be single at my age. But hey that’s life.
If we do end up getting married it’s not like we’re going to fall in love and start being physically intimate. That may never come. What’s important is that we won’t be alone when one of us gets cancer, pneumonia, whenever, and that’s irreplaceable.
My question to all of you is – why not consider a friend-based marriage pact as the years inch up on you? It may sound a bit ridiculous, bum when 50 is looming and you’re still single, you may be glad the pact is waiting in the wings.
Have you committed to a marriage pact? Would you?