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I don’t know how to send out signals, how to receive them, or even whether I want to.

Some time after finally getting rid of ex2 I almost got into a relationship with someone who, at the very least, liked to dominate, to harangue, to belittle. I almost got sucked in. This was partly because I didn’t really think I deserved any better and partly because he’d expressed interest. Luckily I realised what I was doing and stopped after only having got involved a little bit. I decided at that point that if I couldn’t make better judgements then I would be better off single. Even if that was for ever.

So I decided to learn to be happy on my own, independent of whether I had a partner or not. I’m still learning but when I look at people who are desperately looking for a partner, who think their happiness depends on finding one, I feel better. Until I see happy couples. I am genuinely happy for them but I am also somewhat envious.

Add to all this the fact that I have little self-esteem, although it’s better than it was, and that I don’t find my body attractive in the slightest, I really don’t see why anyone should be interested in me. If I don’t like me, why should anyone else? The saggy belly and dental plate don’t help.

There are of course practical reasons. I’ve been told that I’m hiding behind children and I certainly didn’t want them to grow up with a succession of “uncles”. But they’re older now and that reason, which has turned into an excuse, is no longer valid.

So the question is, do I want to find someone or not? I really don’t know. I don’t want to put myself up on dating sites to be approved of or not. I can’t really handle that. Maybe I could if I really wanted to, but I’m not there yet. In the real world yes I keep an eye open but quite frankly most people over 40 are either happily partnered or single for a reason. That’s glib and there are exceptions.

But when there are exceptions do I notice them? Or do I assume there’s probably something wrong with them that would put me off if I knew. Do I send out signals saying approach me please, I’m curious. Or do they say keep your distance? Do I actually recognise signals being sent in return or do I just blank them all because I really don’t want to have to think about it.

Since having this discussion in therapy I haven’t been able to let it go. Friends are popping into my dreams in weird ways. My mind is having its own little fantasy but I don’t know whether I want to join in or not.

When I was 13 I had self-confidence (in my looks at least), hopes and expectations, let alone dreams. Now I haven’t got anything. to encourage me.