Tag Archives: wheelchair dating

SCI Spotlight: Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith was a 17-year-old natural athlete obsessed with sports when he broke his C5-6 vertebrae in a diving accident in 2000.

And while some transition into life after a spinal cord injury with moderate ease, Wayne did not. “Realizing this part of my life was gone was very rough, and it still leaves a bit of a hole.” The beginning of his new life with a spinal cord injury was not ideal. Having to move back into his mom and step dad’s house, which was not fully accessible, made the transition even more difficult.

“Since my accident happened when I was 17, all of my friends were finishing high school and going off to college or who knows what else, and I ended up alone. So for over ten years I was basically alone except for my family, and that was my biggest fear, being alone forever.” In addition, Wayne suffered a series of health setbacks over the years, involving surgeries and leg amputations

But what Wayne has not lost is his upbeat attitude. Even though he misses sports, “I’m a pretty positive person regardless of the situation. It takes a lot to get me down,” he says. And this has made him determined to never give up.

A resident of Chester, a small town in Virginia, Wayne has taken up new hobbies and keeps himself very busy.With baseball (the sport he had once anticipated playing in college), volleyball, tennis and basketball out of the question, he has taken up shopping, watching sports, seeing movies, going to museums and concerts, playing sports video games, and, of course, everyone’s favorite – going online. And it was his online pursuits that brought him his greatest happiness in life – meeting his fiancee, Paulina.

Wayne met Paulina on social media three years ago. A native of Mexico, Paulina completely changed his world. The way he thought about the possibilities of life even shifted. “I thought I would be alone the rest of my life because why would someone want to be with someone with all my issues, when they can be with someone ‘normal?’” The two started talking on instant messenger, then moved to the phone. Next was video chat and after a year of talking, they met in person.

Now Wayne can add traveling to his list of hobbies. Since meeting Paulina, he has traveled a lot. “I travel often to visit my fiancee. We tried getting her a Visa for the US, but it was denied. So I fly there every couple of months and stay there for a month and come back, rinse and repeat. She has traveled and worked all around the world so that has kind of rubbed off on me making me want to travel as well. We went on a trip to Canada together, checking out Toronto, Montreal and Niagara Falls. It was amazing.”

Three years later, the lovebirds are engaged. “I feel very lucky even after the accident. First, I survived. And my mom has always been here. She’s been one of the biggest reasons I’ve gotten through my injury with happiness and a sense of humor. And I met my soulmate. That has been the best thing that’s happened to me – before or after. I probably wouldn’t have met her if I hadn’t gotten injured and honestly, I would not trade her to be able to have all the other stuff back.”

Now that is true love. The SPINALpedia team wishes Wayne & Paulina all the best!

Have you met your significant other online? What was it like?

Wheelchair Dating Advice Direct from the Source


Everyone has an opinion on dating, but not everyone has one when it comes to the wheelchair side of things. Most people, let’s be honest, don’t even think about wheelchair-users in the realm of dating, but the truth is that many of us want to date or are currently dating. We too are in need of dating advice.

Fortunately there are a handful of wheelchair-users who love doling it out. They may not be as plentiful as the Dr. Ruth’s of this world, but they’re out there and they’re recording their advice just for you; and w00t, they’ve made some amazing videos.

Straight from the heart advice coming right at ya, here are three unforgettable videos from wheelchair-users on the sticky topic of wheelchair dating.

Video #1: Straightforward tips for those wanting to date us

Our first video comes from the fabulous Sonja D., an outspoken woman with Lupus. In her video simply titled “How to Date Someone in a Wheelchair” she goes over all of the basic things you should and shouldn’t do when dating wheelchair-users, including questions to avoid on a first date.

One of her biggest pieces of advice is letting people know that it’s rude to start off with, “What happened to you?” even if it’s eating at you when first meeting a person in a wheelchair (especially under romantic pretenses). “Never lead with that,” Sonja says, and boy is she dead on right.

And she shares a lot more, from how people in wheelchairs are way more sexually active than most people realize to making sure to not over-help us. It can be annoying. Just wait for us to ask.

Watch: Sonja D’s “How to Date Someone in a Wheelchair”

Video #2: “Do not push us” and other important dating tips

Our second video comes from Tiffany Post, an incredibly confident 30-something paraplegic from Staten Island, NY, and she has a video series called “Wheelchair Wednesdays” where she gives advice on fashion and dating.

In the weekly video, “So you want to date a woman in a wheelchair?,” she informs her viewers what they should do and shouldn’t do when dating a wheelchair-user as well. From talking about how annoying it is when your date tries to push your wheelchair to when guys approach us calling our legs or wheelchair sexy, she lets the clueless men know what’s up.

Watch: Tiffany’s “So you want to date a woman in a wheelchair?”

Video #3: Young paralyzed man share’s his dating journey

Our third video shows the male perspective side of things and is courtesy of SCI information site, FacingDisability.com. In this brief video Chase, a paraplegic injured when he was 17 back in in 2007, shares the most important dating tip he’s learned since becoming paralyzed – make the first move.

For him, he’s noticed females have been confused whether or not to hit on him, most likely because they’re unsure of what he’s capable of sexually. What he’s discovered works best is just saying hi and introducing yourself. Breaking the ice first is one of the best ways to get the opposite sex less nervous around your wheelchair. Brilliant!

Watch: Chase shares what dating has been like since his injury

No matter what you do, don’t let your nerves get the best of you, leaving you single longer than you should. People always say and life is too short for yadda yadda yadda….and in the particular case of dating it couldn’t be more true.

Dating needs to be actively pursued in order for success to be had; simple as that. So get out there, forget about your wheelchair and start scheduling those dates.

What dating advice do you have for wheelchair newbies?

Watch the videos!

– Sonya D’s tips on how to date someone in a wheelchair

Tiffany’s “Wheelchair Wednesday” wheelchair dating advice

Chase answers the question “What about sex and dating?”