Tomorrow marks two years since I met my boyfriend. I remember the date because it was the week before my birthday, and it was 30 degrees and I almost blacked out from heatstroke…in September. In Canada.
A lot of things happened that day. But let’s backtrack for a second.
I went on Bumble, swiped a couple times, came across D (his name won’t be revealed because I want to maintain his privacy), accidentally ignored him for two weeks, and then we agreed to meet for coffee.
He did not know about my hearing loss beforehand. I made the decision to tell him in person rather than over text. You can learn more about that in my previous post here. To sum it up, he didn’t care and it didn’t affect him wanting to see me more after that.
How does that work?
Surprisingly, I’ve been asked that question a few times, both by people with hearing loss and people without. Well, my answer is, that is our relationship, and it works, as long as there is open and honest communication between us.
I was open with D about my hearing loss from the start, and made the occasional offhand comment about what I could and could not hear. However, our first couple of dates barely brought up my hearing loss. We spent those dates getting to know each other irrespective of my hearing loss, and enjoying each other’s company!
As things progressed between us, I had someone that I didn’t expect voice a bit of doubt – my mom. She saw that things were getting serious, and she wanted to know if D knew the full extent of my hearing loss.
“Does he know that when that cochlear is off, you can’t hear anything? Does he know that sometimes you might need help talking on the phone? Does he know just how severe your hearing loss is?”
Well, did he?
I was shocked, but my mom did have a fair point. D knew that I had hearing loss, and he knew what the cochlear implant was but he didn’t know the absolute full extent of it all. This was through no fault of him! I just never communicated it.
Honestly? I was enjoying his company so much and he was so accepting of everything up to that point, that it never really came to mind that I needed to have some sort of talk about it.
I mentally prepared myself to have a conversation with him about it. I really liked him, and as much as I would like to have had the ‘if he doesn’t like me for who I am, then I’ll kick him to the curb’ attitude, I was worried about being hurt.
What if I tell him, and he gets cold feet and it’s over?
All I can say to that was, I didn’t know him well enough to know that it wasn’t going to be an issue. On our next date after the conversation with my mom, he surprised me.
He bought my book. My book showcases the severity of my hearing loss, and some of the toughest (and happiest) moments that I went through because of it.
Over the next few dates, he would talk about my book and we would go through the experiences I wrote about together. Needless to say, he understood everything that my mom was worrying about.
There were times in our relationship where my hearing loss was evident, from hanging out together at loud parties/restaurants and watching TV together with subtitles to swimming in the lake at his family’s cottage (I have to take my cochlear off) and myself asking him ‘what did you say?’ a million times.
I’ll go more in depth on those times in another post!
But, after two years, I can say that any challenges that we faced in our relationship was not because of my hearing loss, but were the unique set of challenges that every couple faces – communication, adjusting to another person in your life etc.
The important thing is that he respects me regardless of my hearing loss or not.