Ask Sam letter


To Sam

dating someone when you have disabilities

because i habe learning disabilities and im nearly 18 is it okay for someone with disabilities to date a 20 year old?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Everyone is different and we all have different levels of abilities, but we all deserve to be in healthy and happy relationships. Having a disability - whether it's a learning disability or a physical one - might make you worried about meeting or being close to someone. What's most important is that you find someone who likes you for who you are.

First off, it is legal for anyone over 16, regardless of whether they have a disability, to be in a relationship or intimate with anyone else over 16 as long as they are able to choose this for themselves, which is known as consent. Childline has advice about age gaps in relationships and consent.

Someone's disability is only one part of who they are. Having a learning disability might affect you at school, work or university but it doesn't say anything about who you are as a person. When it comes to finding someone to be in a relationship with, it's important that they see the real you - and that means more than any disabilities you have.

Some disabilities might have an impact on what you can and can't do without help and sometimes this might have an impact on a relationship. The best thing to do is be honest and talk about what it might mean for you to be together. Ask yourself how will your disability affect them and what might you need from them. Communication is one of the most important parts of any relationship, so starting off by being open and honest can help to reduce problems later on.

Some advice that goes for every relationship is to try not to think about whether you are "good enough" for the person you like and start thinking about whether they are good enough to be with you. You have a lot of value and it's important to love yourself first. If you remember that being in a relationship with you is a privilege then it's easier to notice when someone doesn't appreciate you for who you are.

If you ever want to talk more about this or anything else, Childline counsellors are available 24/7 on the phone or online – or you can try using their message boards to talk to other young people who might be feeling the same way.

I hope this has helped, thanks for sharing.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter