A wheelchair-bound model and Paralympic swimmer has revealed how she struggled to date with a disability before meeting the love of her life.
Rebecca Dubber, 27, from Auckland, won bronze at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 before deciding to try dating apps to find a romantic partner.
Dubber said her condition, caudal regression syndrome, used to hold her back from dating and had caused potential boyfriends to reject her.
‘There were nights after I made a move on a guy I had a massive crush on, had been rejected, and would cry myself to sleep,’ she told Stuff.
Runway model and Paralympic champion Rebecca Dubber (pictured above at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019) has shared her experiences of dating with a disability
Dubber, 27, (pictured) said she was scared to date and had often been rejected by potential boyfriends in the past because of her caudal regression syndrome
Dubber met her partner Mitchell McDonald (pictured left) through a dating app in late 2016. The pair are now engaged and Dubber said he was the ‘love of her life’
The 27-year-old said she felt ‘more comfortable’ using dating apps so men could get to know her before finding out about she was wheelchair-bound.
Dubber recalled her worst date ever after she failed to tell her new love interest about her disability.
The pair met up for a drink and conversation flowed well before her date turned cold.
‘I was trying to break the ice and asked him: ”Were you shocked when you saw me in my wheelchair?”
‘He had this stone-cold face, with no emotion, and said: ”It would have been nice to know beforehand,” she said.
Dubber said she met her now-fiance, Mitchell McDonald, after talking on a dating app and eventually asking him out for coffee.
‘Every little girl dreams of her fairytale fantasy of love at first sight but looking back I don’t regret the way I met my partner. He’s the love of my life,’ she explained.
Dubber (pictured) said she was ‘more comfortable’ using dating apps so dates could get to know her before finding out she was wheelchair-bound and meeting in person
Dubber (right) and Mr McDonald (left) pictured with their engagement ring in 2019
The runway model said the pair became ‘fast friends’ before accidentally getting locked out of a building atop a flight of stairs on their fifth date.
Mr McDonald offered to find a way into the building and immediately went searching for half an hour.
Dubber worried that Mr McDonald had left and almost called her dad but he soon returned with a security guard to help.
The couple are now happily engaged and Dubber insists Mr McDonald is the ‘love of her life’.
She has also urged others to drop their biases and stereotypes around wheelchair users and people with disabilities.
Dubber said these stigmas need to be broken down so disabled people are more comfortable in the dating world.
Dubber (pictured right with Mr McDonald) encouraged people to drop their biases around individuals with disabilities