It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and learning disability charity Mencap (www.mencap.org.uk) are celebrating matters of the heart with their video (above), featuring couples with learning disabilities and without – showcasing the fact that love doesn’t discriminate. In a guest blog, Lorainne Bellamy, who has a learning disability and works at Mencap (pictured below), talks about relationships and learning disability…
I’ve been a relationship with my partner Glenn for nearly 18 months. I have a learning disability and Glenn doesn’t, but it doesn’t make any difference to us – we just love each other. He’s very supportive and helps me a lot, he loves me for who I am. We live together now in Highbury and I’ve also really gotten to know his family, they’re great.
We first met in November 2013 near my office in London, and we just got talking. After we’d chatted a few different times, we decided to go on a date. At first I made him wait, but finally I gave in! On our first date we went to a pub in Swiss Cottage, I was nervous the first few times we met up but after a couple of months, I realised I really liked him.
Before I met Glenn, I had been single for about five years. It was fine being single but I think everyone should have the opportunity to meet people and fall in love. Being in love has only changed my life for the better, and I think you can say that’s also true for all of the couples in the video.
Sometimes in society, people think that if you have a learning disability, you don’t have the same feelings as other people and you can’t be in a relationship because of having a disability. It doesn’t matter if you have a learning disability, you’re still a person with feelings and desires and it’s time everyone in society realised that.
In the video, some of the couples show just like any other couple they are – including the things they find annoying about each other! I won’t say what Glenn’s annoying habits are but I’m sure he’d say one of mine is tutting too often and not telling him if something is bothering me. What I like best about Glenn is the way he helps me with the chores around the flat and takes me out to new places. Everywhere we go, we hold hands and that makes me feel safe and special. At the weekends, we normally go to the pub or to one of the sights in London like the V&A, The British Museum and London Zoo. We also both love going to the cinema, and that’s what we’ll be doing for our Valentine’s date this year.
My advice for anyone in a relationship would be that you have to listen to each other, be honest and don’t keep secrets and make sure you show each other how much you mean to each other. If you can do all of that, you’ll be happy together – whether you have a learning disability or not.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!