Date a deaf boyfriend?
While the United States is a free country and people can date whomever they want, there are often implications for individuals who date outside their community. One complication is the challenge of dealing with the cross-cultural issues that may arise between individuals involved in a relationship. Cross-cultural relationships offer rich experiences and opportunities to learn more about yourself and others. Yet, contrasting expectations stemming from unconscious value orientations, world-views, feelings of obligation, and communication styles due to culturally different upbringings can strain even the healthiest of relationships.
Another challenge is dealing with the societal and familial pressures exerted on the couple. For example, bringing someone home who cannot speak the language of the family or whose appearance is dramatically different can cause discomfort among family and community members. Reactions toward “outsiders” can range from total indifference to deep mistrust. Generational and regional differences may also account for varying attitudes toward cross-cultural relationships.
A variety of attitudes exist within the Deaf community related to deaf-hearing relationships. They can range from feelings of “while it is okay to date and have fun, getting married is not” to “love conquers all and therefore it does not matter whether or not the person hears” to “no way, it will not work.”
The feeling that “Deaf/hearing relationships do not work” may stem from deaf people’s personal experiences of growing up with hearing people. Most hearing family members do not sign well or not at all, resulting in a rather isolating experience at home for many deaf people. Likewise, friendships with hearing peers while growing up are often limited and superficial due to limited access to communication. Replicating or reliving those kinds of experiences is not something many deaf people want for their life-long relationships. Yet, there are deaf individuals who enjoy the opportunity to date hearing people and there are deaf-hearing couples that have been happily married for many years.
Here are a few blog posts where people share their experiences on deaf/hearing dating:
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