Just a Hard of Hearing Girl Living in a (Hearing) Dating World

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This is going to be a tough one. Probably one of the most difficult posts to write thus far.

Dating is a weird complex in general. I feel like guys and girls go about dating in completely different ways. How each party perceives a certain situation is like black and white.

I became more and more aware of the guy girl contrasting dynamic when I hit about 12 or 13 years old. Shocker, right? Just as we're all really hitting puberty. Conveniently enough, this is also the time when I started to notice more stares in my direction when I wore my hair up or when I would ask someone to repeat themselves more than once.

The early teens is a confusing time for everyone. We're all dealing with hormones and feelings that are completely new to us. For me, as I've mentioned previously, it was this apparent awareness that I was not like the other boys and girls. Something about me separated me from everyone else. 

Throughout middle and high school, while other girls were becoming more apparently attractive to guys, I was just the friend. A lot of my guy friends were getting girlfriends, and I watched from the sidelines.

Sure, I focused a lot on school and soccer, but I felt like I still had things to offer when it came to being in a relationship or whatever you want to call it in high school. My parents always say I wasn't looking at the guys who did like me, which is probably the case, but why didn't the ones I like like me? 

I blamed it on the hearing ai-ai-aids. Looking back, I know that was the easy way out, but I hated the idea of being that person that got immediately rejected when a guy went to kiss me on the ear, and oh, no, something got in the way! My hearing aids kept me from feeling any sort of romantic moment because I knew that gesture of nibbling the ear and whispering something would never play out for me like it does in the movies. I was my own cockblock. 

I feared the idea of a guy grabbing my head and making my hearing aids ring cause like in the moment that's the sexy thing to do, but not when all of a sudden an obnoxious noise goes off. Who wants to explain that whole situation in the middle of a nice kiss? Not me. #momentruined

Because of these fears of intimacy, my guard was always up, and in certain heated moments, I would pull away to avoid ringing or bumping of the aids. I remember after finally letting myself get close to a guy during my senior year of high school, the conversation about the 'ringing' and 'pulling away' came up via AIM chat. AIM CHAT! The question had been asked, so I had to answer, and that was that. We continued to date, make out, whatever, for a few months, and it was never brought up again. 

To me, I had just revealed something huge, and I never knew how he felt about it. He ended up going back to an ex-girlfriend, and I know it was just that, but it was hard for me to not think it might've been something else. 

Throughout my college years, I continued to back off and shy away from getting intimate with anyone. I'm not a vulnerable person, and revealing the feelings and emotions associated with my hearing loss is perhaps the most vulnerable I can get, so I continued to focus on school, friends, and my eventual move to Los Angeles. 

Once I arrived in the city of angels, the reality of the real world hit hard! Meeting people was challenging, let alone meeting someone in the romantic capacity. There were dates here and there, but bringing up the topic of your hearing loss is not exactly a first date dinner conversation. At least I didn't think it was.

One guy did ask me in a text post-date if I had a lisp (aka my deaf accent), and so I very surface-level explained the situation, and we're still good friends to this day, but it had me thinking about things in a completely different way, and not in a good way; just one more thing to be self-conscious about!

Then I met this guy, who I was, unfortunately, not attracted to, but was someone I could tell would be a close friend. We connected right away, and it felt so nice to have made a genuine friend in LA outside of my GA friends that I already knew. As our friendship grew, our topics of conversation became deeper.

Finally over a year into our friendship, I announced the details of my hearing loss, and he quickly realized what it meant for me to tell him that. I was super grateful to have someone that completely accepted it, asked me questions, and still had crush on me despite my 'weirdness'. 

After some time, he started dating a girl and I was dropped from the picture. I was more heartbroken about how vulnerable I'd been with him than I was about losing the friendship. Letting my guard down is not an easy thing, but I also realized that I finally felt a sort of contentment by exposing the details to a member of the opposite sex, which is perhaps why I came into this journey deciding it was time to be as open as possible. 

I've been on this adventure almost two months now, and since relationships are something I'm working on over the next year, I've decided that needs to involve new relationships, romantic and non.

So...I'm branching out of my bubble and joining the ranks of Tinder. This is mostly just to challenge myself outside of my comfort zone, meet new people, and to accept that it's okay to be more vulnerable. 

I have no idea what I'm getting into, but if you have any words of advice, I am all ears! Oh, the irony ;)

Ashley Derrington1 Comment