A man with cerebral palsy who hopes to find love for the first time has gone public with his search for a soulmate.
Jeff Arseneaux, 46, dreams of marriage and children but says potential partners are put off by his disability, which affects his gait and his speech.
The public speaker has never been in love and says he is always ‘friend-zoned’ because people are afraid to romance a disabled partner.
Although Jeff, of Covington, Louisiana, feels he has a lot to offer, he said it is extremely lonely when potential partners go cold on him as soon as he broaches the topic of love.
Describing himself as a ‘romantic’, Jeff has searched for love on dating apps like Tinder, at singles mixers and at local club events but his quest has been fruitless so far.
Jeff has launched his soulmate search publicly and urged interested singles to get in touch with him through his website.
He said: “I’ve never been in love, at least not the gut-wrenching love that people talk about.
“I would love to get married and I would love to have a family.
“I definitely want children, I want someone to go home to at night. I’m tired of being alone.
“I’m actively trying to meet someone.
“I go to singles events, I go to church, I’ve asked people out but so many of them look at me as just a friend.
“I go to festivals and bars and I’ve tried online dating.
“It’s so frustrating.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten along so well with someone and then I try to bridge that line between friendship and romance and they disappear.
“It hurts but it’s a reality for me.
“It’s hard to watch your friends getting married. When my best friend got married, it should have been such a happy occasion for me, but it was instead profoundly lonely.
“It was one of the longest days of my life.”
Jeff believes the main problem is that people are uninformed about disability and are too afraid to ask important questions.
One of the main worries people have when it comes to dating someone with a disability, Jeff says, is intimacy.
The bachelor works with local non-profits as a public speaker, to help break down the myths surrounding disabilities.
He said: “I think the barrier is the idea that people have that people with disabilities can’t be intimate.
“It’s an issue that people are scared to explore. People don’t want to talk about that and it’s a problem.
“Through my public speaking, the main thing I’ve been trying to do is to inform people what it is actually like to have a disability and to help people understand that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t form relationships.
“I want people to stop looking at those with disabilities as inspiring role models, but human beings capable of being loved.
“In terms of a relationship, I would want someone to know I’m looking for someone to love, not to take care of me.
“I don’t need someone to bring me to the bathroom. I go on vacation by myself, I’m completely independent.
“People think that if they fall in love with someone with a disability, they are going to have to take care of them and it’s not the case.
“I love it when people ask me questions about my CP. It shows me they are and that they are interested in informing themselves.”
Jeff describes himself as an old romantic and said the perfect date night would start with a dozen roses and end with a walk on the beach.
Although he’s been unlucky in love, single Jeff remains hopeful that his soulmate is out there.
“In a partner I’m looking for someone to acknowledge my CP but not obsess over it.
“To realize it is only a small part of me.
“I’m looking for some I would love to meet someone to do normal things with, like go to a ball game.
“I’d like to meet someone who can just let their hair down and doesn’t care too much about public perceptions.
“Mostly I’m looking for someone kind and funny.
“I love horse-riding and golf. I’m really into football – I support the Saints – so it would be great to find someone who shares my hobbies.
“Ultimately I would like to finally find someone to share my life with. That’s my goal.”
To contact Jeff or find out more information about his public speaking visit https://www.callonjeff.com/