3. Sex and respect, Part 3.

My family never questioned why they never met my boyfriends. I kept many of them away, with so many hidden secrets I could not risk them being exposed. My family were needy and I was sure they would reveal themselves at some point and uncover my pretence.

My mother rarely asked about my love life. By the time I reached my early twenties, my sister had been with her boyfriend for eight years. They married when I was twenty two. Her relationship was far more important. I couldn’t turn to her with boyfriend problems. She had only experienced it with one man. She was lucky as he was devoted to her, she never had to deal with the games people played. I wanted to have those chats with my mum but she was more concerned with my sister. I felt she’d just laugh at me as I had always been a source of amusement to the pair of them. I could hardly turn to my father, he would only use it as a weapon against me in the future, saving all the casual remarks I made to him or the times I was truly upset and using them to insult me. I wouldn’t tell friends in fear they would laugh too. I just kept it concealed from everyone.

I continued to meet pointless men and have disastrous, fleeting relationships. Everything was meaningless and had no depth. I longed to meet someone I connected with. In 2007, after dating an imbecile, I decided enough was enough. I was at my lowest. Things were awful at home with my father, I was unhappy in my career and I had put on over two stone in weight in the space of two years. It was time for a drastic change.

In the space of four months, I managed to shed the two stone I had put on. My confidence had returned and it didn’t take long for the men to follow. This time it felt different and the confidence felt real. I actually had a bit of fun that year and I didn’t berate myself for it either.

By 2008 and the point I met my husband David, I looked back on my dating and sexual history. I was surprised by how many worthless men I had met and how I had lowered my respect for myself so much. I wished that I could have discovered true inner confidence sooner and not fallen for the compliments in the dating game. I wish I wasn’t so desperate to feel loved or be needed by a man. I just looked for everything my father was not giving me and I don’t mean that in an incestuous way. I mean security, love, kindness, honesty and most of all,

DECENCY.

I wish I had learnt these lessons earlier and been a bit more prepared. All my friends had long term relationships and weren’t seeming to be making the stupid mistakes that I was. I needed the guidance from the two people you expect to get it from.

I was lucky to meet my husband at the right time and feel like I was truly worth something, I was attractive and appealing and that I deserved love and respect from a man.

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