"After an abusive relationship I'm happy and ready to start again. Any advice on the next steps?"
I am a mature woman who has been married, had children and - after 12 years - am now divorced. My ex was abusive and has now re-married. I have always enjoyed sex and never had a problem having orgasms.
But I now realise that this had nothing to do with the men involved in my life, it’s because I’ve taken ownership of my body and sex. In the past, I used to fall under their 'spell' as I thought it was them making me feel good.
The problem is, now I know the truth - that’s it’s me making sex feel good - where do I go from here? I am independent and happy but find when there’s a man in my life, it makes things worse not better. I would eventually like a good relationship.
Any advice on how to make the next part of my life more successful relationship wise?
Yes - but let’s first give you a big pat on the back for getting to the point where you feel in control of your life and your own happiness, sexual or otherwise! Well done! Not all women emerge from an abusive relationship feeling strong and I applaud you for this achievement.
It’s not a problem that you had the sexual epiphany of realizing you are very much in control of your sex drive and orgasms. It’s a plus! You are the one who turns yourself on and know what you need to make yourself orgasm. I wish more women were like you!
There’s a perception that men ‘give’ orgasms and women ‘take’ them, rather than create the right environment for them to happen and you’re spot on for realizing it’s all in your control. So stop worrying there’s something wrong with you for not ‘needing’ a man.
The only real issue you need to explore properly is how to make sure your next relationship is a happy one rather than destructive to your life. This means choosing men with your head, not your heart (or other parts).
Take it very slowly and don’t be shy about asking lots of questions. Try to meet as many friends and family of theirs as possible, quite early on. You can learn a lot about someone by their friends and family. The sort of man who is trustworthy will be loved by people around him because he treats them well.
Introduce prospective partners to your friends too and listen to their honest opinions. Ask questions about his relationship history and be particularly cautious of men who don’t take responsibility for their part in why past relationships have gone wrong.
If you see any - and I mean any - hint that you’ve chosen an abusive man again, end the relationship immediately and get yourself in to see a good therapist. You’ll find one at the British Association for Counselling & Therapy (bacp) and Relate.