Hearing Reader Asks for Dating Advice

A reader wrote to me about her relationship. I told her I am not in the best position to advise and asked if I could post it as I think she would benefit from a community response rather than one person’s experience. After all, deaf people have all kinds of experiences. Here’s her note:
I know it isn’t easy to draw generalizations, but I’m hoping you may be able to tell me if some of my deaf boyfriend’s behaviors are culturally-based, gender based or just his own temperament.
He is an excellent lipreader and is able to speak with a hearing aid. All of his ex-girlfriends were deaf with one exception: a hearing person who knew ASL. Almost all of his friends are deaf.
I have never dated a deaf person before although I am very interested in diverse cultures. I have been reading as many books and on line info as possible about deaf culture.
I do not know sign language. I am willing to learn ASL (although learning a new language is very hard for me), but he says it isn’t necessary. I’m also not sure if I want to put in a lot of effort right now if he just wants a casual, friends-with-benefits relationship.
Without going into detail about the emotional baggage each of us brings to the relationship, can you tell me if deaf people tend to hold back from getting involved with hearing people?
We have fun together, can communicate and get along fairly well. However, he alternates between utilizing my help (dealing with the courts, banks, etc.) and then pushing me away saying he wants to be independent…which I understand. Do you think there is any long term future for us? If so, how can I promote it?

1 comment

    • Cynthia Roberson on January 6, 2009 at 5:45 am

    do learn ASL!!!! it may not be easy but within time, you will get it. It definitely will bond the two of you whatever happens to the relationship in the long run.

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