Devotee and Non-Disabled Partner

There are many devotees in relationships with partners who are not disabled (and farther down I’ll be talking about the different ways this happens).

Does that make them no longer devotees?

Not at all.

This can be a tricky concept, because I know I had trouble with it when applied to a situation with some parallels to this one: bisexuality.

I have a friend who is bisexual and she is now married to a man. It was difficult at first for me to understand that her picking a man didn’t mean that she had chosen to be straight and that her bi-ness was now gone or even effectively gone. She is bisexual and she always will be.  I only started to understand that when I looked at my own situation.

I’ve dated both disabled and non-disabled men. A fairly even split, actually. My previous boyfriend was not disabled and we broke up a year and four months ago. I have not been in a relationship since then. I’ve been on a few dates and I felt an overwhelming need for my next relationship to be with a disabled man. I do tend to flip flop back and forth!

It just wasn’t happening, though. I did everything I could to meet someone, while also spending a lot of time and energy working on myself and getting my issues under control. I met people on dating websites, on Facebook, through my YouTube channel, on my beloved message board. All these leads fizzled out rapidly and I never made it past some flirting and perhaps one date.

No one was quite right for me. The men I found who had mobility disabilities did not complement my personality well. I almost completely stopped dating the last six months or so.

Then something unexpected happened (as life seems to love to be as unexpected as possible). I met a non-disabled guy who was perfect for me: easy to communicate with, geeky, interested in the same things I am, cute, fun, nice, kind, every quality I’ve ever put on a list for a potential boyfriend.

I’m currently in the process of falling in love with him.

As we move towards a relationship, I am keenly aware that committing myself to him does not make me less of a dev at all. It does nothing to take away my devness. I have the same feelings of lust towards disability that I always have. I still fantasize using disability and I still watch porn that is centered on disability.

Although, as mentioned in a previous post, I am in a low dev cycle. I am more than a little afraid of what will happen when high dev kicks in again, as I know it will. I believe that the feelings I have for the current guy will not be lessened by devness coming to the forefront again. Even if they are, feelings are fickle and are not the thing to really depend on. When the devness sweeps over me again, I can remember that no matter what I think I want in that moment, this man is good for me and good to me. Of the eleven disabled guys I’ve gone out with, none has ever come close to being what I need the way this man is.


Devs with Non-disabled Partners Long Term

I have a few examples of this situation.

One is a woman who is very in touch with her devness and comfortable with it. She dated several disabled men, but ended up marrying a non-disabled man. She told him about devness and he was very supportive of it as a quirk of hers. She told me that when high dev cycles hit, she loses herself in books and movies and her husband is happy to let her do that.

I know a couple of women who married non-disabled men before they realized or understood their devness. There has been some expression of regret in those cases. Those women did not have the chance to try out their fantasies and see what it was really like to allow their dev side to be fulfilled. They seem to be curious, but not interested in upsetting the good lives they’ve made for themselves. Their partners do not know about their devness.

I know a man who did test out his devness, but married a non-disabled woman while he was in a low dev cycle, believing that it was gone. He has regrets and warns younger devs to really be certain before committing to a non-disabled partner.

The take away lessons here for me are 1) to be open and honest with my non-disabled partner and to make sure that he is supportive of my devness and 2) to take things slowly and be very cautious before making life-changing decisions. Time is the only thing that will tell whether a relationship between someone as in touch with her devness as I am and a non-disabled partner will work.


  1. Jeneva
    Feb 3, 2012

    Hi Ruth,
    I’m 33 and am sexually attracted to male paraplegics as you are. I became aware of the curiosity/adoration side of devoteeism at a pretty young age (around 8 years of age). All my Ken dolls were paraplegics. Naturally it became my sexual identity upon hitting puberty. I made a life list at 12 years of age and the number one goal was to find and marry a “special partner”. lol…I was afraid to write “in a wheelchair” because I was afraid my parents would find it. My only outlet for this part of me was my imagination and I fantasized often. I remember the first time I ever read literature that fed into these feelings: Moving Violations, by John Hockenberry. I was 20 years old. I read it constantly. It was all I had. It was 1999 and I was in the military in Germany and had no access to a computer. It felt more real than just using my imagination to dream up scenarios. I always felt very sure that I was made to marry a disabled man; that maybe God made me this way to love and treasure someone who needed that. Now, many years later I am married to a great guy who is not disabled and I have 2 sweet children. Much about my life I love, but I am still attracted to paraplegics and that part of me has not faded with time. After getting out of the military in 2002, I remained internet-free and stayed that way until about 3 years ago, when we got a MacBook. At 30 years old, I was shocked to find such a representation of this culture on the web. It’s like a whole other realm. Your site is very informative and enjoyable.
    Anyway, I married for love and I don’t regret it. However, I agree with you in that I’ll always be a dev. I guess I just assumed that the devness and the love would come together in some cosmic union at some point in my early life. That was not to be…but that’s O.K. 🙂


    • RuthMadison
      Feb 6, 2012

      It’s great to meet you! How similar your story sounds to mine! Moving Violations is a great book, I’ve read it many times. I also had the para Ken doll. lol. I’m never sure what life will bring me. There have been times when I thought my devness was something to be suppressed or attempt to destroy, then there have been times where I thought there must be a purpose for why I am this way. Life is not forthcoming with answers, though, just more and more questions! I’m learning to embrace the uncertainty of the future 🙂

  2. Good post. Congrats on your new relationship. 🙂

  3. John Doe
    Feb 15, 2012

    I think a simpler explanation might simply be the scarcity of potential partners for us, there’s just a much better chance we’ll find someone compatible among the huge pool of physically abled people.

    As a guy attracted to amputees, who grew up back in the days before one could easily communicate with people across the country via the internet, I had literally nothing to choose from (I had seen only a tiny handful of amputee women in real life, and essentially none that were near my age at the time). Combine that with not being the type to chat up some random stranger, and you have approximately a 0% chance of finding the woman of my dreams.

    My current life with my non-amputee wife is happy and fulfilling, and my attraction remains merely an outlet for sexual fantasies and something of an internet hobby. Such is life.

    • RuthMadison
      Feb 15, 2012

      True, true. My friend pointed out that I might be “constraining the problem until there is no one that can match it.” He’s a scientist. lol. Even now with Internet dating, it is a tiny pool of potential people and the odds of finding someone who is both disabled and also a good match personality wise is extremely slim.

      Now that I’ve opened back up to dating non-disabled guys, I find that I’m awash in possibilities. The potential partners are everywhere!

  4. Lucretia
    Feb 26, 2012

    I was married twice to non-disabled men before I really came to terms with being a dev. After my second marriage ended (not dev-related… lol) I decided to NOT date for a while until I figured myself out. Once I started dating seriously again, it was exclusively with disabled guys. I didn’t limit myself geographically or even disability-wise. After several months, and a few disastrous experiences, I met a wonderful man who is not only everything (and more) I could have wished for, I am now very happily in love and look forward to spending my life with him.

    • RuthMadison
      Feb 27, 2012

      Awwwwww. I am so happy for you, Lucretia. You are definitely an inspiration to me. I hope that I have done enough soul searching and being single, figuring myself out, to be confident where I am now. The fact is, I’ve fallen deeply in love with a non-disabled guy and I think he’s the right man for me.

  5. Alexa
    Oct 11, 2012

    I’m just exploring your site. I am married for 10 years now to an abled guy who doen’t know about my devnes. I became aware of
    beeing different since I was about 8! I never was lucky enough to meet a disabled guy in my life. My marriage is very happy but my sexual life is not. At the moment I am in high dev cycle and I’m really concerned. I’m longing for some experience with a nice paraplegic man and really have no idea how to handle that!

    • RuthMadison
      Oct 15, 2012

      I feel for you! Definitely been there. I hope that you’re able to ride out this wave and get back to sexual closeness with your husband. Please let me know if there’s any way I can help!

  6. wheelchair diva
    Nov 17, 2012

    I congratulate everyone who has met the love of their lives and been happy with it, be he or she an AB or not. Just random thoughts though. Is the decision to marry an AB person really did came from the fact that there is less pool of selection, personality clash with the disabled partner, or is there more to that? Like say, fear of family and friends rejection. No one wants to be an outcast and choosing family over one’s lover is always difficult . Have you ever tried knowing the pwd beyond lust?

    I have been there and done that. I have trusted and loved to an extent. Only to be told, I cannot be part of the family just because I am a damaged good.

    I am happy that you devotees got a bigger range of option from AB to not, but have you ever thought how slim the choices are for those on the other side. And how cruel to say we are just part of one’s sexual fantasy and hobby.

    Yes, there is a deeper reason for being a devotee. But perhaps no one wants to be burdened by such responsibility. Lucky you have your options, not everyone is.

    • RuthMadison
      Nov 18, 2012

      I’m very sorry that you have faced that kind of rejection. It is terribly unfair.

      I am lucky that I have a scope like I do. The love of my life could have been almost anyone. Could have been disabled, could have been able bodied, could have been any race and a pretty wide range of religions.

      Meeting my soul mate was not easy and I had to have a lot of patience as I was 29 before I met him, but I know it is much worse for many others.

      My heart goes out to you and all those who struggle to find someone that can not only love and accept them, but fight for them to be accepted by family. I do what I can to try to change the way people perceive disability. A significant other’s family should not see a disabled partner as broken or a step down or whatever. A partner with a disability can bring an enormous amount to the table and when you love someone, I doubt very much that the way they move has anything to do with that love.

      Changing society is slow going, though. There is a lot of work left to be done.

      On the other hand, I know many devs who don’t feel as though they can be with an abled partner and feel extremely limited in their choice of partner. To find a person who is the appropriate age, who lives somewhere that you could actually get to know them, who shares interests and core beliefs, and is also disabled is a very long order. I have met plenty of devs who have felt hopeless and in despair of ever being able to find someone they can be happy with.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “burdened by such responsibility.” That along with your comments about being just someone’s hobby, make me think that you’re seeing this as devs just playing around with you and your emotions and then dropping you in favor of an “easier” partner. I have yet to meet a dev who would do that. As I’ve said before, devness is not a game and it’s not fun. It isn’t something we play around with for pleasure. For every bit of pleasure that it brings us comes along with guilt, shame, and grief.

  7. Lauris1186
    Nov 1, 2013

    I can’t tell you how helpfull this post is to me, I’ve recently made peace with my dev side after years of believing i was certainly crazy for feeling this way about wheelers. I know feel perfectly comfortable about my devness and allow myself to fantasize and explore about it, the only issue is that by the time I found out about devotees and that I was one, I was already in a commited relationship with an AB guy; so now I don’t know what to do because I’d really love to give it a try and find some cute disabled guy who pushes my buttons but clearly I can’t because I really care for my boyfriend. Maybe fantasies is all I got, besides I don’t really know any disabled guys so I guess I’m stuck…

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 25, 2014

      Sorry I didn’t see your comment! I’d love to hear how you’re doing. I ended up with an AB guy myself, but I’m really grateful that I had the chance to date a bunch of disabled guys and so I felt really confident in committing to my husband!

  8. Grant Riddle
    Nov 30, 2016

    Check out my book on Kindle, via my website, and the articles on tumblr referenced there. Also see my comments on the Introduction page here.

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