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Listen to the Blind Living Podcast with Empish Thomas Blind Living Radio is brought to you by HP Ink and Toner Cartridges. Precision engineered to work together with your HP Printer.

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And while taking on all of this, romance may or may not be top on your list. Harley: And making it work, that's just like marriage, you know. Harley: (laughs) Empish: I think I do know what you mean. Back in the day, we could exchange numbers on paper. I mean as a person with a disability, I think I've encountered those in romantic settings that think that maybe it's not quite as much of an equal partnership because I'm coming at it with a disability versus you know being with somebody but you know what, everybody has something going on. I work with our blog and I also do presentations and public speaking. I'll be doing one tomorrow for Foundation for Fighting Blindness. That's where you guys saw the blog post where I'm a peer adviser. I'm trying to remember what did I do back then when I was in college and so dating in college is totally different than dating as an adult. If you don't feel comfortable in your skin as a person with a vision impairment, if you are still maybe grappling with your sight loss or maybe haven't quite dealt with that, that's gonna come out in your romantic life. Cara: So, Empish, you and I were chatting a little bit and I think our audience would really be interested about what are some of the best tips and ways that you found to be successful in the dating world after you lost your sight. Empish: You know, I was reading some articles about they do it on your phone now, your smartphone. Because I say if you are gonna do online dating, go slow because people can put up false profiles. So, yeah, I would definitely agree with taking it slow and seeing where things go especially as people who may not be able to see some things right away. The confidence can be a big factor and really feeling comfortable in your skin and who you really are as a person can be a big factor in dating. Harley: We are in the season of love and beheadings. Harley: Let's, we should probably jump back in love life. I'm a little bit of a Debbie Downer around Valentine's Day. Harley: During the break, you had a great idea that you and Empish should talk about. And I did follow the online cautionary details and information and stuff like that. I mean taking extra precautions online just because again there can be some societal perceptions that you are battling against and you want to make extra sure that when you are meeting somebody in person that would be up to their online reputation. Learning assistive technology and advocacy skills to return back to work or school can be stressful. In any good relationship, you learn how to be flexible. I think it's more important we learn more about blind dating more than Harley. Learning how to prepare meals and complete household chores can be overwhelming. I keep it low key in my life so nothing super special planned. Harley: Uh, I will fail and I will fail to live up to her expectations, no doubt. Cara: Ok, as long as you know where you stand before you even start the Valentine's Day, I think you're gonna be A-Ok. Cara: (laughs) Harley: I don't know if that's a good way of putting it. Oh, wait, let's talk about actions.' I'd better buy her something else. Cara: You should probably try to do something or actually do something nice for her. Cara: You should do something for your daughters too. Cara: Because it's setting a good example of what they should expect on Valentine's Day. And as a person with a disability, I think that's one thing you start with your life is how to be flexible, how to understand that there's a way to do everything. I mean you have a person that's going to pick you up on a date and then you're like 'oh, I can't do this. Thomas, Vision Aware Peer Advisor Making adjustments to vision loss can be very challenging. Cara: Um, you know, I really don't think it's that much different. Cara: How many - I was going to say, how many days have you been married? Cara: I need to dig into your lovelife a little bit. Learning new ways to travel safely in and outside the home can be daunting. I think you run into the same struggles, some of the same great things. Harley: My love life is not for discussion today, I don't think. I dunno, I don't think you start off loving somebody but let's see what she has to say. Cara: Hi Empish, this is Cara and I have Harley Thomas here with me on Blind Living Radio. Cara: Ok, I get to say it since I'm the one that has a visual impairment. So I do that on a volunteer aside from my regular job. And our guest today is Empish Thomas who is a lifestyle blogger. Blind Living Radio will be right back after these messages. So when you think about where do I go to meet people? But that's a great suggestion that I thought of on my own self. You know, you're probably talking to someone you know, your friends, your famiy members, colleagues. You are meeting someone with a familiar connection. Cara: Yeah, and I think that's absolutely phenomenal and it does give a whole new meaning to the word blind date. Cara wants to know if blind people dating brings a whole new definition, and I'm not going to say it but I'm gonna let her say it. So you have to kind of figure out another way to kind of work around some of that stuff. Plus, there's a lot of social ideas, societal ideals about dating someone with a disability, positive and negative or otherwise. It's been a really rewarding experience because it adds to resources and information and that personal objective of finding information for someone who is visually impaired but hearing these stories that are written by people who are also visually impaired and about their day to day life. We are joined in studio with Harley Thomas as always and me, pretending to be the real host, Cara Catton. Well, implement some of those things, just kind of tweak it a little bit. Those are places that sighted people meet people too. And actually, a guy I dated, I met at a book club function. You don't have to bang your head up against the wall and reinvent everything. Also ask friends and family for connections, for hook ups. They already know you as a person and they can connect you so that way you are not meeting a complete total stranger. I think for a lot of people that can be really successful but I think also in the 21st century, you see the rise in online dating. Don't be so quick to give out too much personal information right away. You can find more ideas in my post on "Tips for Dating When You are New to Vision Loss" and in a dating podcast in which I was interviewed: “The Blind Living Podcast on Blind Dating hosted by the Industries for the Blind- Milwaukee. Another blogger, Joe Strechay, shares the importance of scouting out the location for the date in his post "Dating When Blind or Visually Impaired".

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