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Dear Abby: I am a 41-year-old female working on my associate degree in paralegal studies. Most people I know tell me I’m attractive, and I do get some second looks from men, but there is one thing I think – although I’m not sure – that scares them away. I am disabled.

I dress well, am an average weight for my height, independent-minded, although not quite independent physically. I get around on crutches.

I live with my parents. I enjoy and participate in physical activities. I don’t have a lot of friends, which is fine with me, but I do have a number of special ones. I try to make the best of my disability, and everyone I know, even strangers, tells me I do well and admire me for my courage and strength.

I should be happy with that, but sometimes it bothers me that I haven’t found one man who can see past whatever it is that keeps them from liking me. I know a number of grumpy, unhappy, ungrateful women who abuse the men in their lives, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder at how “blind” their partners are.

I am not desperate. I like my alone time. But it’s a big, beautiful world out there, and I’d like to share it with someone.

– At a Loss in Ohio

Dear At a Loss: You need to widen your circle of acquaintances. Once you have completed your studies and have more time, make it your business to join local and state groups associated with your profession.

While some people may be put off by your disability, not everyone will be. Many people with physical disabilities have romantic lives and good marriages to partners who see past their disabilities and recognize all of the things they CAN do.

P.S. I know I have said this before, but you should also consider volunteering some of your time to a cause that interests you because it’s a great way to meet people.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.