"EYE-OPENING, POWERFUL AND EMOTIONALLY NUANCED."THE DAILY BEAST
A SUNDANCE TV ORIGINAL SERIES
starring Angela Rockwood, Tiphany Adams, Auti Angel, Mia Schaikewitz and Chelsie Hill

PUSH GIRLS: The push and pull of relationships

Lots of relationship drama on PUSH GIRLS this week, from Angela and Dustin having a serious conversation about the direction of their relationship to Mia and Tiphany going on a speed dating adventure. All the girls are at different phases, relationshipwise; I love watching Auti and Erik’s incredibly strong, loving marriage as much as I enjoy seeing Tiphany explore the relationship world because she’s still searching for what, and who, she wants.

First up: Speed dating with Mia and Tiphany. Both noted that they felt awkward being the only wheelchair users in the room, but it sounds like Mia got into it, while Tiphany kept a bit of a wall up by focusing on the appetizers more than the men!

I was glad to see Mia give dating a try after her recent breakup, and gladder still when she recognized that the chemistry just wasn’t working for her. There’s a really common perception that people with disabilities have a hard time finding people who are sexually attracted to them and willing to commit to long-term relationships, and PUSH GIRLS is really pushing back on that narrative. Mia knows that she doesn’t have to race into a new relationship or fear being left alone forever, and she doesn’t have to settle for an emotionally unsatisfying relationship either.

I especially loved her point about first dates: “People might think that a first date is awkward because I’m in a wheelchair, but…a first date is awkward because it’s awkward.”

It was definitely hard watching Angela and Dustin interact with each other as they try to navigate their separation, and harder still to see the people around them pushing them back together when Dustin clearly wasn’t interested in that, and Angela was starting to adjust to a new life without Dustin. They clearly love each other deeply and that won’t change, but that love is taking a new form now, brought home when Dustin talked about being concerned about who will care for Angela, and being happy that Auntie Judy is there to take over tasks like helping Angela use her standing frame.

Ending any kind of long-term relationship is hard, but especially in this case. Many people with disabilities rely on their partners as care providers, which can complicate separations, and can become a weapon if the situation becomes contentious. The fact that Dustin is focused on making sure Angela gets the assistance she needs, rather than on being resentful or angry about the support he’s provided over the years, shows that he truly cares for her.

I hope Angela is able to find peace, and, when she’s ready, to find a new partner to share her life with.

Favorite quote, from Angela, talking about Dustin’s well-developed pecs: “Your boobs are bigger than my boobs right now.”