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I want a relationship were the last words I wrote down at the end of our counselling. It was a thought that just plopped into my lap and rather than dismiss it, I owned it.

I am not very good at saying “I want” and I’m not very good at considering myself worthy of a relationship. It is therefore extremely difficult to say something that is inherently so simple.

I don’t want to be alone. I want someone to share my life with. I also wouldn’t touch me with a bargepole, so why should anyone else?

I did discuss it in therapy. We talked about the fact that I’d closed down such ideas and therefore, in the way that people do, somehow I make it clear that I’m not interested. No that I’m not interested in anyone in particular, but that I’m just not interested, not available, not open to consideration. I need to change that and I’m not sure how. Trying to be more physically open around other people. More eye contact is an obvious change but there is also sorts of body language that is much more subtle than that. Plus less subtle things like not walking away from someone I like because otherwise they might think I like them too much and to save them the trouble of rejecting me.

Whatever it is I need to change the way I come across physically and the way I come across emotionally. I come across as unavailable because that’s how I consider myself. I’ve been through several major relationships which all were not good really. As a result, when I noticed that I was falling into another relationship of an even worse nature, I pulled the plug on myself and basically decided, although it probably took me several years to articulate it to myself, that if I could make good decisions about relationships I could at least decide to stop making bad ones. So I did.

I have paused from the whole drama of trying to find someone and that has been good. I’ve learned, for the first time in my life, how to live independently, albeit with four children. I can cope with living on my own. But coping is not something I want to do for the rest of my life.

So the first thing to do is to change my mental attitude and stop being so closed off to the idea. The second, and the far more complicated issue, is to look at my body image and self-worth and improve the whole lot. If I can’t see myself in a more positive light then I won’t let anyone else.

This is a really scary realisation. I’m immediately thinking how it makes me vulnerable, how it opens me up to pain. But if I don’t open myself up to that vulnerability then I can’t open myself up to the good things either.