Deaf, hearing relationships

Wahjasay

New Member
From what I'm reading , he looks as if he's dependent- booking appointments? Follow your guts -
 

sparrow2

Member
Well, I really can say my deaf guy friend, whatever....we're done, like really done. I can't even be his friend. He's hot and cold even with friendship. One month he's friendly; we're emailing each other, etc. and then all of a sudden he ignores me. Won't answer texts, emails, complete silence.

I brought lunch to his house, and there was no thank you....nothing. Then I asked him if he received it.....no reply, complete silence....nada....unbelievable .....I'm done with it. He's not out of town. I see him at deaf events so he's not ill, not dead, maybe just a jerk that's having fun jerking me around for the past year.
 

Annie09Z

New Member
I'm sorry this one isn't working out for you. It's time to forget this guy and move on. Good luck in your search for the right one for you, he's out there somewhere!
 

sparrow2

Member
Here's another thing that I don't understand. With my former guy friend, most of the time I couldn't understand his signing. He would get annoyed at me because I kept asking him to repeat. Additionally, even his english was very difficult to understand So, I thought it was me that didn't know enough signs to understand him. Yet, he's a very intelligent person with a high level job. Is he using signs that are considered high level signs (is there such a thing?). All the signs he uses I've never seen before.

Then, recently I met another guy who is also deaf (just friends) but, I understand him when he signs. And, he understands me. I can communicate with him. Also, his written english is better, and I can understand what he is saying. All the signs he uses, I've seen before.

I don't understand why I understand one person, and not the other. Like, my former guy friend; most of the time I didn't understand what he was saying in both written english and his signing....why is that?

I didn't think the two were related, but I thought I'd ask are the two related? being able to write well in english = being able to sign clearly? I don't think they are related, but I don't know either and is why I am asking
 

Nic

Member
ASL is a complete language with its own grammar and everything else that comes with language. English and ASL proficiency are as separate as German and English proficiency would be. How well someone has mastered either tends to be related to how long they've used them and under what conditions. Slang or shorthand, for example, wouldn't be something a non-native would easily pick up unless they're in an environment its used. Similarly it's easy for a native speaker to pick up a bunch of slang then not have mastery of the language in its proper form.

Like any other language, native speakers will typically be ahead of folks who learned as a second language. That's not to say someone couldn't master a non-native language and use it completely fluently perhaps even more properly than someone who was raised speaking/writing/signing that language. It's just that it takes time and you pretty much have to be immersed in the culture the language is used for a good many years/decades to sign/speak/write like a native.

The guy friend of yours... I don't know if he was just making it harder on you than he had to, went faster, signed/wrote lazily or what. It sounds like you have other friends who you do understand well, so they're either more accommodating (care to communicate with you more), or you're better than you give yourself credit for.

The guy friend might have just been looking for a way to push you away more, to try not to hurt your feelings as much or something. People can be dumb, and being honest/blunt/forthcoming is tough sometimes. You've most likely assessed the situation correctly, he's not interested in that kind of relationship. Who knows why? The only way to find out would be to ask him, but will any good really come of that? That's up to you to decide.

Personally I found a blunt direct approach works well and cuts through all the coy games that so often go along with dating.

More to the point, I think you know where you stand, and I know the saying is cliche, but there are plenty of fish in the sea. You'll find another companion before too long, just don't look too hard, these things just sort of happen when you least expect it.
 

sparrow2

Member
Thank you Nic. It is true; a direct approach would have been nicer from my guy friend. I would've known months ago, and could walked away then.

I've been told that the Deaf are more direct, but I have not experienced this. The ones I met are more indirect; my guy friend included. So, I am now wondering, are Deaf more direct with the Deaf? and indirect with hearing people?
 

Nic

Member
Thank you Nic. It is true; a direct approach would have been nicer from my guy friend. I would've known months ago, and could walked away then.

I've been told that the Deaf are more direct, but I have not experienced this. The ones I met are more indirect; my guy friend included. So, I am now wondering, are Deaf more direct with the Deaf? and indirect with hearing people?
Deaf or hearing, different people are just different. Some will be more open and direct, others will be more indirect and worry about hurting feelings or whatever.

But, from what I've experienced Deaf culture does seem to promote openness, sharing, and forwardness more than most U.S. hearing culture, but it's a generalization. And hearies/hoh are outsiders/newcomers in Deaf culture, so there's that to consider too. Like any culture you're going to be an outsider until you're not anymore, which just takes time, learning, and relationships.
 

Irish

Member
Sounds like this guy was just a crappy person overall, which may not have anything to do with his deafness. You just had bad luck with him as a person. :( However, it is a very good thing that you are doing your best to learn our culture and ask questions about navigating this kind of relationship. I'm sorry it did not work out between you and your former friend, but please don't let it deter you from trying again with other deaf people if you ever want to date them again. Look at this as a learning experience. You learned about our culture, and you learned about what you do NOT want in your next relationship.

By the way, I'm profoundly deaf myself. I noticed that you asked questions earlier about texting and deaf men only wanting to date deaf women. I just wanted to add my two cents...

For texting, even though my English is very excellent and I can easily carry a conversation through texting, I still prefer to just chat with my deaf friends in person than via text. It's just more personal that way (this has to do with my upbringing and personality, not deafness... I grew up in the 90s when texting wasn't a thing, so I prefer face-to-face conversations, as opposed to the kids of today who may have known nothing but technology while growing up. I also can easily talk for hours in person, but sometimes I have a hard time thinking of what to say during an IMing/texting session).

Some of them also understand me better when I sign to them instead of reading my texts - someone already mentioned that English isn't the first language for a lot of deaf people, and that ASL has a totally different grammar syntax. Some people are also very visual. Chatting with my friends in person or on the VP instead if via text helps me avoid a lot of misunderstandings between us. However, for some of my friends who DO have excellent English, I have absolutely no problem with texting them whenever we can't be there in person, or if we would prefer not to use the VP. It really depends on the individual.

As for dating, the point about communication has already been brought up. That is one aspect. However, another aspect, for me personally, is the common ground between two deaf people. For instance, someone who is deaf has the same background as me and will COMPLETELY get me... whereas a hearing person can learn everything related to deafness/ASL/deaf culture and empathize all they want, but will never FULLY, I mean 100%, understand what it's like to be deaf unless they go deaf themselves. I hope that doesn't sound elitist though. It's just one of these situations where you just have to learn something the hard way. Some people would just rather be with one of "their own people", for lack of better phrasing. It helps them avoid problems they may not want to face with someone from a different culture.

I hope that helps you understand better where some of us are coming from.
 

Irish

Member
As for my own experiences in dating... I still have yet to date a deaf person. The dating pool for deaf males my age in central PA was virtually nonexistent, but I just moved to Austin, so I will see what happens within the year though. I dated one hearing guy last year for seven months, and it did not work out. He claimed that my deafness didn't matter to him but it DID affect him at times, and he didn't know how to deal with it. He also was not willing to learn ASL even though I made it clear to him before dating him that I would like for him to learn ASL, and he claimed he was willing. I just let him go. Despite his communication issues, he's still a decent person overall, so we are much better off as friends than a couple. I'm still on good terms with him. We are just free to find other people that would be more compatible for us.

I did learn something the hard way from my failed relationship - if I find another hearing guy to date again, he MUST learn signs BEFORE dating - I will not just believe a hearing guy's promise, or trust that he'd pick it up as the relationship goes on. But if I could find a deaf guy or a hearing guy who can already speak ASL well, that would be a lot easier for me.
 

Nic

Member
...For instance, someone who is deaf has the same background as me and will COMPLETELY get me... whereas a hearing person can learn everything related to deafness/ASL/deaf culture and empathize all they want, but will never FULLY, I mean 100%, understand what it's like to be deaf unless they go deaf themselves. I hope that doesn't sound elitist though...
That doesn't sound elitist to me, if anything is sounds... comfortable. Honestly, I think even going deaf doesn't let a HOH or late-deafened person fully understand what it's like to be born-d/Deaf. We learned English first, we could hear while we learned English, we can typically speak as well as hearies, we didn't go to Deaf school, we didn't experience youth without hearing; it's different.

On the flip side, I don't think born-d/Deaf or hearing understand HOH/late-deafened completely either. I wouldn't expect to ever fully understand what it's like to be early/born d/Deaf, and so I don't expect others to fully understand what it's like to lose your hearing as a young adult. They're different experiences, one you have to have first hand knowledge of to really, completely, relate to.

There is definitely more understanding when you actually do lose hearing though. And HOH and d/Deaf do have something immediately in common. My wife (hearing) does a really good job empathizing, but she doesn't completely get what it's like to be HOH. Sometimes it can be frustrating for me (for both of us), but mostly she's super supportive (we're learning ASL together), and we're both naturally happy people. I'm severe right & mild to moderate left, so I still hear well in good environments, but not so well in lousy environments, or when people speak softly, or whisper which might as well be silence... But the prognosis for the future of my hearing is a big fat question mark.

I have a good understanding of what it's like to be HOH now (still learning though), but probably not such a great understanding what it's like to be deaf even though I empathize, have read plenty in preparing myself for my possible future, and have my experiences from being HOH to help relate. I definitely understand some aspects now, but I don't think even close to completely.

Then if/when I do lose the rest of my hearing and I experience life without verbal communication, without sound, I'll still never understand what it was like to grow up and learn having never heard or having only been able to hear little, or learning ASL first, or any of the struggles in childhood.

I did learn something the hard way from my failed relationship - if I find another hearing guy to date again, he MUST learn signs BEFORE dating - I will not just believe a hearing guy's promise, or trust that he'd pick it up as the relationship goes on. But if I could find a deaf guy or a hearing guy who can already speak ASL well, that would be a lot easier for me.
I think it makes a lot of sense that you'd want someone to learn ASL as a remequirent before dating. Anyone not open to learning ASL, and then actually following through... it's probably not going to work out. It'd put too much of the communication burden on you. Having someone learning ASL divides that burden. And while the new signer will struggle at first, they have the ability to get proficient and make everything easier for both of you in the future. All-verbal keeps that burden on you forever, it's not fair.


Now all this said, I'd also say that there's something to be said about having a relationship (friends or more) with someone who is very different from you. Be it culturally, personality, language, whatever. It's very... expanding... to throw yourself into that and have those experiences. Communication needs to be able to improve over time though, or it probably won't last, but any experiences... they're worth it. You grow as a person because of them.
 

Irish

Member
Very good points, Nic. I was born deaf myself. Whenever some hearing person approaches me and informs me that they are losing their hearing, I usually sympathize with them and invite them to come to me if they need any help or resources for dealing with it. However, I also remind them that I may not be able to relate to them 100% due to the fact that I can't miss what I never had in the first place. They usually make jokes about what they wouldn't miss hearing then, and there's not much I can do or say at that point except wait for them to eventually realize that it's the little things they've always taken for granted. You don't know what you will miss out on until you lose it.
 

sparrow2

Member
I agree....I understand if some Deaf want to date only Deaf. It would be the same in all cultures. For me, it was not my intent to specifically date or fall in love with a deaf person. It's just when I met my former guy friend, it was electrical!! shall I say. I had never felt that way about anyone ever; deaf or hearing. I just liked him. I didn't notice his deafness; he was fine. He signed away at Deaf events, and I noticed it more on myself that because I wasn't a fluent signer, I was missing out on what he was saying!!! and everyone else. It motivated me to learn to sign, because I wanted to understand everything he was saying.

When I first started going to Deaf events, I felt as if some would not slow down or even talk to me just because I was a hearing person. Some even talked about me right in front of me. My guy friend did that a lot. It's really awkward when people are signing and you know they are talking about you, because they are all looking at you and signing. But, I understood and I took it because in a way it gave me a taste of what they must go through 24/7 in the hearing world. I only had to endure it for a few hours.

It wasn't all like that all the time; eventually, I met some really nice people who did slow down, and signed; they taught me more signs, and corrected me. I am grateful for these ones. They welcomed me into the Deaf Community, and I waited patiently, and almost a year and half later; I was given my sign name.

Now, I myself is also losing my hearing. Right now I am HOH in my left ear. My right ear is ok. I don't know what to call myself. Half hearing and half HOH? I don't know. I haven't told to many people. The thing that's scary is that everyone I know expects me to hear. So, it will be another learning curve to adjust to not hearing, and then to educate everyone around me when I can no longer hear them. Even now, when I have to ask them to repeat; they get annoyed, so I try to stand so that they are on my right side, but I'm already getting a taste of I'm in for.
 

caz

Active Member
when first went deaf and went to deaf advents it was awkward after little time it got easy most signers in my view know they can be seen but sometimes forget..
remember not all deaf or hearing are polite but to hearing person who understands a little signing it could appear harsh but it not signers don't waste words
 

Nic

Member
Now, I myself is also losing my hearing. Right now I am HOH in my left ear. My right ear is ok. I don't know what to call myself. Half hearing and half HOH? I don't know. I haven't told to many people. The thing that's scary is that everyone I know expects me to hear. So, it will be another learning curve to adjust to not hearing, and then to educate everyone around me when I can no longer hear them. Even now, when I have to ask them to repeat; they get annoyed, so I try to stand so that they are on my right side, but I'm already getting a taste of I'm in for.
I think just HOH, probably not half HOH. You're really either HOH or not, a little HOH is still HOH. But, how you identify, HOH, hearing, or d/Deaf, is a personal decision from what I've read. Whatever feels right to you, is right.

I have severe loss in my right, but only mild to moderate in my left. In a good environment where I've got them on my left and they have a medium pitched voice and don't whisper, people wouldn't be able to know I'm HOH. I didn't tell anyone I was hard of hearing for quite a while (didn't fully admit it to myself for a while). But since my right reached severe, and my left got a bit worse, I'm having a harder time understanding people so I tell them upfront now.

Now all my close friends and family and most of the people I work with frequently know about my hearing loss. Most of them have learned how to communicate with me better too. They look at me, some know which side to stand on, and some who were notoriously hard for me to hear have stopped using that quiet whisper voice around me. Some (particularly family) immediately wanted to help me, fix me, but for the most part it's been easy telling people.

Personally, I'm embracing this change. It's kind of exciting, a new adventure. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit scared or that I never get frustrated, but mostly, I'm curious, eager to learn, and not too worried about it. What happens will happen, I'll adjust. This site, learning sign, and talking to folks who are late deafened and those who were born deaf has made this a lot less worrisome for me.
 
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sparrow2

Member
Well.....here we go again. I tried again to distance myself from my guy friend, but I always end up in contact with him. It turned out he had gotten really ill, but wouldn't go to the doctor. I ended up calling the doctor for him, and he went. Then, after the ordeal was over, I offered to bring food to him, and he accepted it. It was really nice

Now that he is recovering, and feeling better, he has gone silent again....I understand now that I think solitude is a comfort for him, because he's used to being alone. So, I have a question about this.

Would a deaf man prefer being alone over a relationship ?
 

Annie09Z

New Member
Well.....here we go again. I tried again to distance myself from my guy friend, but I always end up in contact with him. It turned out he had gotten really ill, but wouldn't go to the doctor. I ended up calling the doctor for him, and he went. Then, after the ordeal was over, I offered to bring food to him, and he accepted it. It was really nice

Now that he is recovering, and feeling better, he has gone silent again....I understand now that I think solitude is a comfort for him, because he's used to being alone. So, I have a question about this.

Would a deaf man prefer being alone over a relationship ?
I would say yes if that is what he is doing. The key to the answer is to come out and ask him what you asked here. Just say, "would you prefer being alone over a relationship?" He's the only one who knows.
 

sparrow2

Member
I don't think it matters. He always rejects me when I get to close, and it hurts. I know I should distance myself from him, but it's been really difficult. I always go back. I feel really foolish.
 

sparrow2

Member
Well, he finally told me. He's deaf and I am hearing person and the two don't go together. Both have different cultures. I think that's really flakey especially after knowing him for a long time. He should have said that from the beginning. Would've saved me heartache.
 

DeafNerdMommy

Well-Known Member
I am sorry it didn't work out. He should have started with his own opinion on being deaf and dating a hearing girl. My husband is HoH later in life so raised hearing. When he meet me he learned asl right away. He told me true love has no exception including hearing, or not hearing lol. You will find someone

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