I'm a 37 year-old woman and I haven't been in a relationship for a long time. Where do I start?
You’ve obviously been unlucky in love but are still willing to get yourself out there and find the right guy.
My question is about relationships. I have not been in one for a long time. The last one was with a verbally and emotionally abusive and aggressive man for 5 years. I'm 37 and people say attractive but I am not very confident about my appearance.
I have always been quite shy with the opposite sex, when I was younger I covered it up with alcohol. Dating since the relationship has been sporadic. I have met men I was attracted to but they are few and far between.
One wasn't keen on me, one was married and so on. I think I am scared of making a wrong judgment again although I trust myself a lot more. With men who show interest I just back off from them. I think they are wrong for me.
I can usually tell if a guy is a gentle character but let's face it at my age all the good ones really are taken. I'm otherwise social and outgoing, I just don't go out much for financial reasons and having moved, I miss not having someone to go out with when I like.
I want to start dating again but I feel a bit lost. I just don't know how to overcome my insecurity and to learn to distinguish it from gut instinct. I also want to understand how men see me because I think I have something written on my forehead that attracts the wrong kind. Can you help? Do you do workshops? I need hands-on practice!
It's not surprising that you have a crisis of confidence, given your five years spent in an abusive and intimidating relationship. You are still bearing the emotional scars from that time and as countless abused women will testify, it can take a very long time for those scars to heal. Women who have suffered abuse from their partners say time and time again that the emotional abuse is worse than the physical abuse - it leaves you feeling worthless, shy, depressed, vulnerable and unsure of yourself.
The great thing in your case is that it hasn't put you off men for life! You've obviously been unlucky in love but are still willing to get yourself out there and find the right guy. This is great news, but it would be best to face your lack of self-esteem and self-assurance first, so you don't just continue to lurch from one bad experience to another. You deserve to fully reclaim the trust and belief in yourself which I know you once had. But to do that - and become the 'true you' - you need to confront the past - however painful that may be.
The answers to all your questions can be found by addressing those awful five years you went through - you won't find the answers if you bury that dreadful time in the sand and just hope it'll go away. As I said before, the scars are still there - and you need them to heal before you can move on with a clear mind and with confidence in your own judgment.
Please look in your local area (see Yellow Pages) for groups and charities that deal with domestic violence and help yourself - and them - by getting involved. You can get some counselling for yourself, and you can also benefit others by telling your story. You'll come out if it stronger, wiser and ready to enjoy the rest of your life - with a partner that's worthy of you.
Refreshingly frank and funny, actress and presenter Julie Peasgood delivers practical information to transform your sex life. The Greatest Sex Tips in the World explores the world of eroticism, revealing secrets and techniques that will energise and enhance your enjoyment.