THE BLOG

I'm Getting Married This Year But Many People With A Learning Disability Will Never Get The Chance

14/02/2017 17:42

This year is very exciting for me. I'm going to turn 60 and I'm getting married. I'm really excited, but pretty nervous as well.

Some people think that people with a learning disability shouldn't be able to get married or live with someone or even have a relationship. I don't know why people think that's right, it's not. We're not different to anybody else in society, just because we've got a learning disability they think we can't do anything - that's not true. I've got a job, I'm engaged, I'm getting married, and I know lots of my colleagues who have a learning disability at Mencap are married and have children.

Me and Glenn have been together for three years and we got engaged last year. We first met near where I work. We started chatting one day and then after a couple of weeks, he asked me out. I made him wait for a little bit while I thought about it, and then I said yes! I proposed to him on 29th February - a leap year! I went down on one knee in the pub and after he told me to get up, he said yes. I beat him to it because he said he was going to ask me soon.

We're getting married in May and my sister is helping me with the arrangements. I've got my dress, the venue is booked, it's not long now.

Being with Glenn means that he loves me for me - he knows I have a learning disability but he doesn't care, he sees past it. It makes me feel safe, he's caring, he understands me, if I have a problem we discuss it. When we go out, he's always holding my hand, that's what I really like about him.

Just 3% of people with a learning disability live with their partner. But 70% of the general population live with their partner. That's a big difference. It was difficult to decide about moving in with Glenn, I've always been on my own. When you have someone living with you, it changes things. It was an adjustment. When you have someone living with you, it's different. It took me a while but I'm used to it now. But that's no different to anyone else - I love having him around.

People with a learning disability can feel isolated from society, so can find it difficult to meet people. Sometimes people think that people with a learning disability shouldn't be allowed to get married or have sex or have children. But if they're in love and they have the right support, then there's not a problem - I don't see the difference. Glenn is supportive, and I have a support worker as well, and I'm alright.

There are some stories of people with a learning disability being told they shouldn't get married, or shouldn't live with their partner. People like Sarah and Daniel, they both have Down's syndrome, and were told they weren't allowed to get married. It's good that they are now married. Just because they have a learning disability doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to get married or have a family. They just might need extra support.

If someone told me I wasn't allowed to get married, I would say, 'It's my life, not your life. If I have a learning disability, Down's syndrome, if I want to get married, I will'.

The problem is that people don't understand what a learning disability is. They probably haven't come across someone with a learning disability unless they have a relative or a friend who has a learning disability. It's just the way society is. People's negative attitudes and bullying needs to stop - people with a learning disability have feelings like anyone else.

Being married I think it'll mean, it'll make me happier in life. It means that someone really wants to be with me for who I am, whether I have a disability or not. It will change because I'll have someone who's going to be with me for the rest of my life. It shows you that it's the person that matters, not the disability.

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