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for the Blind

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I need some advice... Please help?

Okay, I recently started dating a blind man. It is a long distance relationship at this point, but we are talking of my moving after we meet. I am completely sighted and have a sighted daughter who is 9 years old. My worry is that because we have no conception of what it is like to live without the use of all our senses that we will put him in danger or make his life more complicated. I want to diminish the problems that we will encounter. I know that life will be different, but how can I make this transition easy for all of us?

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Re:I need some advice... Please help?

There have been some excellent responses to your concern so far, heed their advice.

I would add a couple things. I am a totally blind adult male:

* Presume nothing. Ask.

* Don't try to protect him. He can most likely take care of himself as well as you can take care of yourself.

* Don't bring up his blindness every five minutes. Eventually, you'll look past his blindness, even while being there for him when he needs you to read something for him, guide him in a strange environment or describe something beautiful to him.

* Don't presume that you have power over him just because you can see and he cannot. If you start getting bossy and/or custodial, he'll run away from you.

* Don't be afraid to use the word "blind." Words like sightless, hard-of-seeing etc. are lame.

* Be ready to help without being obtrusive.

* Love him.

* Let him love you.

And... Don't worry. You all will do just fine. From your post, I can tell that you're an intelligent person; you express yourself very well and sound very compassionate. You probably possess a fairly high "emotional IQ." My prediction is that you have the mental and emotional tools you'll need to make the minor adaptation necessary to live with a blind man. Good luck.

Re:I need some advice... Please help?

I think you will all have a happy life together.

Re:I need some advice... Please help?

blind people is honestly not that much different from sighted people. Just except and learn. Assume capability. He will ask for help if he wants it and rather then just doing stuff for him ask if he needs the help. I am almost a blind woman and really I can do as much as yourself. It is actually better if you posed this question to him in a polite manner rather then to us.

Re:I need some advice... Please help?

First, a bit of background so you know who is giving you feedback. I am blind and have lived with others and lived alone as an adult for many years. I am used to being blind and know how to do the day to day things all adults need to do to run a household such as cook and clean. So I am assuming your new love is likewise capable. He knows a lot more about what your world is like as a sighted person than you know about his world as a blind person because he has been around a lot of sighted folks all his life and you and your child have probably not been around many blind people. So get to know each other over time before you jump into things quickly. That way, you and your daughter and he will be able to know how well you do living together. I am thinking here of extended stays together where that is possible so you get the feel of how it is to be around one another before you actually finally move in together. You can all learn about each other in a relaxed way before making the final plunge, as it were. You can both work out issues of independence and co-dependence and talk about such things in a loving honest way. Rushing into things too fast is going to mean lots of adjusting with lots of stress. Getting to know each other over time reduces that stress and makes it easier to create a life together. I have done my best to put a lot in a short note. Good for you for thinking about each other thoughtfully. Long distance relationships are different from real life day to day living around one another, as you both know. Good luck and please do write again for feedback if you like. All the best to both of you.

Re:I need some advice... Please help?

It may be difficult at first but if he knows what his surroundings are there may not be a problem. A blind person will remember the pathway through their house and will only pose a problem if something is out of place. As for your child, they/you will have to be cautious of toys and games laying around. Patience will be key for both you and your partner.

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