My husband and I met online in 2005. I sold him no soft lies during our courtship: I'm disabled and need help with every day stuff like bathrooming and showering. He wouldn't have to be my caretaker, I assured him, he could just be my partner.
But, he wouldn't hear of me having a worker come into our home and assist me. My care was his job. From the minute we moved in together, he took on that role. Thirteen years hasn't changed his mind.
Dr. Phil recently had an episode with a disabled man and his wife (who is his caretaker). The couple was unhappy. Good ol' Phil said "One hundred out of one hundred relationships that involve caregiving fail" and told the wife she could either be her husband's caretaker or spouse... not both.
Every relationship involves caregiving at some point. Sure, the majority of couples only need to help one another in a caretaking capacity for short-term stretches, but everyone gets ill or injured in the decades they hope a marriage will last. We swear to be there in sickness and in health.
And, when we get old, our bodies begin to fail us on a more permanent basis. Do we all get divorced when we hit 70? Dr. Phil says our relationships just can't survive if we have to assist our partners! I guess anyone needing help for more than a month should either move into a nursing home or set their spouse free.
There is a different undertone to the #100outof100 sentiment if you're disabled at a young age. It says: Make sure you have a good amount of caregivers before you look for love or your "happily ever after" is doomed. It says: No one will want you if they need to care for you. It says: You aren't deserving of love as you are unless conditions are met.
It is difficult enough to put yourself into the dating pool as a disabled person without so-called experts peeing their toxic "advice" into the shallow end.
Not only that, but insisting caregiving is an unenviable burden flowing one way also proclaims disabled people can't be caretakers ourselves. We can't assist our lovers in different (but just as important) aspects. A person in a wheelchair can't calm their boyfriend's anxiety. A father on crutches can't need help from his wife while simultaneously being a stay-at-home dad.
No couple is exactly the same. For some inter-abled couples, it is best to keep caregiving entirely separate due to uneven dynamics, time requirements, or intention. But, for others, it is the best decision ever made and never regretted.
"Dr." Phil is an ableist quack whose rhetoric could mess up people's lives. Shame on the bald little buzzard.