Dating With a Stutter

Dating With a Stutter

Embarking on the path of dating is an adventure filled with a whirlwind of emotions—excitement, nervousness, and anticipation. For those of us who stutter, this journey can come with a few extra twists and turns. It’s important to remember, however, that these additional layers do not diminish the beauty or worth of the journey—quite the contrary. They merely call for some additional navigation and a generous dose of empathy. 

Stuttering brings its own set of unique challenges. How will our date react if we block, repeat, or display noticeable physical reactions? These concerns often echo in our minds, sometimes even louder than the romantic conversations we hope to have. However, these concerns are not impassable barriers, and meaningful connections are well within our reach, as my own experiences can attest.

As a person who stutters, I have always chosen to be upfront about it. I see it not as a disclosure of a ‘flaw,’ but rather a unique element of my communication style. Far from defining me, my stutter is merely one facet of my identity. This openness about my stutter has consistently been met with respect and understanding, and often, admiration for my confidence and assertiveness—traits that many find attractive and desirable.

However, my experiences are not a universal truth. I have friends from all around the globe who have shared their diverse experiences. 

Tiago from Portugal has never felt the need to mention his stutter. “I’ve never told anyone,” he shared, “not because I’m uncomfortable as such, but because I don’t see the big deal about it; my speech isn’t who I am.”

Peter from Australia, now comfortably accepting his stutter, remembered a time when shame dominated his feelings. “I was ashamed of stuttering and tried to hide it,” he confessed. “That was years ago, now I am wiser with age.”

Marie from Canada voiced a similar sentiment to Tiago’s, stating, “I don’t see the big deal about it; my speech isn’t who I am.”

And then there’s Mohammad from Egypt, who admitted, “I subconsciously try to hide it on dates and it not only makes me stutter more, it also means I don’t say what I want to say and don’t show my true personality.”

These stories reflect the wide spectrum of emotions and approaches people adopt when it comes to stuttering and dating.

As someone who stutters, I have found acceptance to be my greatest ally. I have embraced my unique speech pattern, which has heightened my awareness and sensitivity to different people and situations. This understanding and empathy have been a boon to my dating life.

Above all, this journey has reinforced the fact that the most crucial relationship is the one you have with yourself. Accepting oneself, stutter and all, is the first step towards forming authentic connections with others.

Dating is so much about listening to your partner, being curious, and getting where they are coming from. It’s a two-way journey of discovery. Stuttering can indeed be part of that journey. 

So, let’s approach each other—and ourselves—with kindness, patience, and understanding. Here’s to love in all its forms, stutters and all.

Puneet Singhal

My name is Puneet Singh Singhal from New Delhi, India. I am a person with an undiagnosed learning disability and stammering. I see my life as the intersection of poverty, domestic violence, and multiple non-visible disabilities. I am a disability activist advocating for a more inclusive and accessible society for people with different, distinct, visible, and non-visible disabilities. I founded a non-profit called ssstart, working towards normalizing speech and communication disabilities. I am part of organizations like NASA, Diversability, IUCN CEC, and NeuroGifted. 

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