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Dating someone with a LD?


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Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 1
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Posted Feb 23, 2006 at 7:53:40 PM
Subject: Dating someone with a LD?

Hi All,

My GF of 7 months has a LD and speech therapy problem. Now I knew this more or less after the first date and it didn't bother me at the time (my own brother has a LD himself and another brother had a speech impairment when younger that a speech therapist helped) but lately I am finding it more and more frustrating dealing with her... I guess I am just looking for support... More than anything, its her self-pitying that annoys me more than anything and (IMHO) her unrealistic expectations...

I guess I have to preface things abit...

She's not stupid as she has her Bachelor's degree in Human Kinetics and has applied to get into a Master's of Physiotherapy and/or Occupational Therapy program which she should get into... she is also a certified Life Guard and initially did a College Diploma (2 year program here in Canada) for Recreation Facilities Management as those around her didn't support her going into a University program...

However since she graduated University in 2004 she has been unable to find meaningful employment and is very often critical of herself. I support her as much as possible but I have never been one to get down on myself but not being in her shoes find it hard to relate. Still there comes a point where the self-pity has to stop... It seems everytime something good comes her way career-wise she is either pre-judged or never given enough time to adapt to a new job.

Given her speech impairment (she has a slower manner of speech, likely compounded by her low-average processing speed according to her assessment, she also has math difficulties and one writing difficulties) I believe she is unfairly ruled out in interview situations and when she does get a chance, as has happened on two occaisions, people either don't give her the opportunity to adapt or the work itself is not suited to her. She got a parttime job as a physio-assistant in a private clinic, and seemed to be doing well, one of the doctor's telling her she was doing a decent, but not great job, saying that it takes awhile to get used to things (she was only working 2 5-hour shifts a week). After two weeks on the job another assistant quit unexpectedly so she inquired about the full time job. However she didn't get it and was let go for someone who had more experience (ie. someone who could catch on faster). Afterwards she got a job at Walmart as a Sales Associate for the Christmas season (Oct. to Jan.) and was not brought back on. Even her coworkers were puzzled considering some others that were brought back on, and no offence to anyone that works there, but this was a job at Walmart, not rocket science... Now she works at Wendy's (the fast food chain)... initially they hired her to make the burgers and other kitchen work but after a couple of attempts to train her (ie. 2 whole days) she was not fast enought to cut it, so they put her on dining room duty. This cut into her hours but at least they didn't fire her, of course she is constantly worried that they will...

Finally she applied for a teller position at a bank and interviewed... she heard back and didn't get the job. She asked why, how her interview was, what she could do better (ie. all of the things you should ask) and was told she didn't have proactive sales experience... while I agree there is no point in being confrontationaln situations like this, this is obviously an excuse... what does sales expereince have to do with being a bank teller? So at my urging she asked what exactly consituted "proactive selling" as she had 3 summers of selling tickets for a boat tour company to the public and also did telemarketing for awhile. The reply was that they were not "proactive" selling... While that argument could be made for the boat line ticket job (people more or less came to you for them) nothing is more proactive than unsolicited telemarketing... the girl was obviously making an excuse...

So basically its this series of events that have caused her to be in a depressed mood, thinking she will never get a meaningful job as she is always having to fight discrimination. She is highly motivated to find a good job and I try to explain to her, that while, yes, this is disheartening, but in her grand plan any job she gets now is temporary as she is going back to school fulltime to do her Masters this fall... of course she has to have fallbacks and also applied to a RN (nursing) bachelors and dental hygienist program just in case she doesn't get into her Masters (she won't find out until May or June)... Compounding it all she is questioning even doing her Masters as she can't even get a job with her current piece of paper what will another do for her...

Now I am a firm believer that you can do anything you put your mind to, but I don't know if I could support her becoming a nurse... I'd be afraid that her LD would not allow her to react to emergency situations fast enough to make an intelligent decision. As for the hygienist job, I don't think she has the manual dexterity required (she is clumsy, not sure if this is cause by her LD or not but...) This has caused friction, with claims I don't support her, etc, but I do support her doing her Masters... I mean who would make a better Occupational Therapist (a job where you assist people in living with their permanent disabilities) than someone that lives with their own disability!

Its also raised some of my own questions as well, such as do I want to have children with this girl, because of the hereditary nature of LDs (both on my side of the family and hers (her brother is dyslexic) and if so would I trust her to care for my child... as I said, she is not stupid, but she does seem to lack focus and an eye for minute detail that might be important (such as detecting a problem early vs. late)...

She is also unwilling to accept part of the blame for her failures... now I agree that unwarranted discrimination is wrong, but if she just wasn't fast at a job, maybe it wasn't the job for her. She is also particular about training... and this is more of a philospohical difference... but she thinks she has to be shown how to do everything exactly and for all situations, whereas I think you should be able to extrapolate and generalize things and make your own decisions... (maybe this is exactly the problem with her LD - she just can't do those things).. I personally think it is unrealistic for an employer to train you for all situations (not to mention not always possible)...

I don't know how to end this ramble but with the current state of things I don't know if I am strong enough to stick it out with her... but if I do break up with her, I fear that she will lose the only good thing in her life (in her eyes) and it would destroy what remains of her self-worth... I do love her and I have brought these things up to her and she agreed to try to change... but I don't want her to change for me, I want her to change for herself and her own well being...

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Feb 23, 2006 10:26:55 PM

Well, first thing, working at WalMart may not be rocket science at all -- BUT the fact is that it requires a skill set that not all of us have. THere are many, many highly paid scientists and engineers who quite probably would get fired at Walmart. You really think Einstein could have cut it? It sounds like she doesn't do the Vanna White thing... but has other`skills Vanna probably doesn't have. (I don't know Vanna so I don't know -- and she might have googled her name and be reading this :-))

Difference between them and her is they *have* some confidence and success. But self-pity isn't going to get her anywhere... I would concentrate on supporting that Master's idea 'cause I'll bet the negativity hasn't spread to that.

Joblessness gets **any** of us depressed... but it can change. I do suspect her feeling that she needs *everything* spelledc out exactly is partly a function of her LD - a sort of rigidity of thinking and seeing things in black and white... which means right now she sees a lot of BLACK.

Is she receptive to doing some career exploration just to get to know herself better and boost her confidence in that strange notion that she really does have something to give the world, even if she isn't going to be the bubbly wal-mart greeter or smiling bank teller? I'm thinking of doing some of the exercises in _What Color Is Your Parachute_ -- it really helped me when I was doubting there was a direction to go into. With a coach to work through them with her (and it's full of all kinds of positive stuff, too, like the idea that you only need one YES... and chapters for people with "real" problems like prison records that might make her feel a little better) it could be something that moves her forward during this awful waiting period.

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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A person
Joined Apr 22, 2005
Posts: 119

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Posted:Feb 24, 2006 8:16:31 AM

I work at Wal-Mart and no it isn't rocket science . I find the work to be repetative and disastisfying. But on a postitive note it has really improved my self-esteem. I use to think that I wasn't mentally competant but when I started working there I stood out as one of the stronger employees.

They have even asked to consider going into managment, but with an extremly low self perception (caused by low number on a test) I don't know if I could hack it.

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Feb 24, 2006 9:42:18 AM

Good that it's working for you :-)

That doesn't mean that everybody can do it, though! Not to get too schmaltzy, but different people have different paths...

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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A person
Joined Apr 22, 2005
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Posted:Feb 24, 2006 11:44:14 AM

And I hope that my path isn't retail for the rest of my life!

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Beth from FL
Joined Jun 15, 2003
Posts: 621

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Posted:Feb 24, 2006 11:22:37 PM

I have to agree with Sue that not all of us can succeed at Wal-mart type jobs. I once got fired from a waitress job (couldn't keep drink orders straight--partly because I don't drink much and didn't even know the names of them). At the time, I was 25 and couldn't find a job (in C-U Sue!). Ended up getting a Phd instead.

Frankly, my work now requires far less multi-tasking than all the entry level jobs I previously had.

One thing I did when I was at a deadend career wise was go out and interview people actually doing work I was considering. It was an useful exercise. I had thought about law, for example. But when I talked to lawyers there was a pattern: those who hated law school loved being lawyers and those who loved law school, hated being lawyers. I attended a law class and thought it was great fun. I knew I was in trouble then.

It really isn't that uncommon for people to have trouble finding their niche. I am not learning disabled (my son is) but still part of becoming an adult is learning what your strengths and weaknesses are and how to find your place in the world. Some lucky folks know this very early but most of us do not. But, and this is a big but, you have to be willing to figure it out and not take it too personally when things don't work out. I always figured it was one more thing I KNEW I did not want to do.

All that said, you shouldn't stay with your girlfriend because you feel sorry for her but because, on balance, the relationship is worth having. She's clearly struggling but life is like that sometimes.

Beth

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Feb 26, 2006 1:46:31 PM

Oh, let's not talk about what *I* was like as a waitress. Fortunately it was the midnight to 7 shift where it was seldom crowded and humor made up for incompetence... but in six weeks I pulled out and went downstate to the pool company and cleaned pools for the spring. (Now *that's* not rocket science... but I still wouldn't have wanted to do it for another company; this one works with its workers "little" foibles and inconsistencies and also made sure things were reasonably safe, even tho' we were working with some pretty noxious chemicals.)

It's important to hold onto the belief that you do have something to give... and try to see possibilities in the opportunities that come up instead of all the ways they could fail. It's tricky to know when I'm being realistic about my limitations and when I'm just being pessimistic sometimes... but when in doubt, I dismiss the pessimism because that in itself can sabotage an opportunity.

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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A person
Joined Apr 22, 2005
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Posted:Feb 28, 2006 11:47:59 AM

I know I have an inferiority complex when it comes to dating and developing meaningful relationships with the opposite sex due to my Ld's.

Recently a female expressed interest in me as I did her, she is an over achiever and academically far to the right of the bell curve than myself. I've been reluctant to try and talk to her due to my fear of not being able to say the appropriate thing at the right time. I really like her as she is attractive and has a great personality. I often think that I could never have a permanent relationship with a women because I wouldn't be able to adequetly provide for her let alone a child.

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Feb 28, 2006 4:27:32 PM

One approach would be not to even think of it as "a relationship" - but just get to know each other without strings (well, unless you both like kites or playing violins :-)).

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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