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    I wanted to reply because you sound like me. I’m still single and working through my issues but I am finally in a place where I feel I am deserving of love, confident that I will meet someone but where I am also happy if it doesn’t, somewhere I never thought I’d be. I hope I can say something to help a bit.

    First of all, I think you’re going in the right direction; you’ve already worked out what your patterns regarding men/relationships are, where they come from and you also recognise that the answer lies within you. Try and see the time on your own as your friend, an opportunity to work on yourself. you’ve aksed for things you can do every day; if you don’t already, i’d recommened practising Yoga and mediation. Yoga can be useful for releasing negative emotions and mediation will help you to quieten the mind and reduce the negative thoughts. Even if you still have the thoughts, we will learn just to notice them before they drag you down into some negative reaction and you’ll stop taking them so seriously. As a side note, i’d also suggets doing yoga with a female instructor to avoid the risk of the yogic student-teacher crush! Like Geoff says above, i’d also recommned Eckhart Tolle’s teachings. They have really helped me a lot. He’s also spoken on this topic quite a bit.

    Regarding your background, have you asked your dad about his reasons for leaving/staying away? If you feel you can, it might help to talk to him about it and let him know how you felt growing up. Perhaps you could write him a letter. even if you don’t send it, just writing it down will help them emotion to come out, as you noticed when you were writing your post. Remember also that had your dad stayed, it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t have these same emotional issues. My dad was around, but I still have the same problems, which i think are down to my relationship with both my parents and my family as a whole. I know you said he was a loving father to his other children; maybe he was that way because he felt he was missing out on his relationship with you and wanted to make up for it. If he’d stayed and had a poor relationship with your mum that would also have affected you negatively. Talking to him about his reasons, if you haven’t already, may help you put the past to rest.

    Something that’s also helped me is realsing that (almost) everybody, even those people we least expect, has problems with self-esteem on some level. I remember a while ago, really liked this guy thought he was the sexiest, best-looking, nicest, most wonderful person ever. Like you, I had the same ‘he’d never want me thoughts’, until I was his friend on facebook and saw him writing about all his insecurities and asking why he couldn’t get a girlfriend. You never know, the guys who are ignoring you ma be doing so because they’re also shy and don’t believe you’d ever be interested in them!

    Another thing that has helped me is (re)discovering the things I like doing and taking up new hobbies, although make sure it’s something you genuinely like and not soemthing you think will help you meet men. Having fun, or perhaps developing a new skill can help boost your self-esteem, bring more people into your life and will leave less space for the negative thoughts to distract you.

    Hope this has helped!

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