shadow of a sad woman sitting down cryingMaya asks: I’ve just come out of an 8 year relationship, main issues having been him lying about petty/serious things for years (I allowed him to convince me he would change). 3 months before our wedding, this June, I found out he was having an affair.

I’ve broken off the relationship and travelled back to london (where I’m at uni at the moment), cut off all contact (changed email address, phone no. etc). He somehow found my phone number and has been contacting me – and I, like an idiot have started responding – if only to say ‘dont contact me’, which is defeating in itself.I try not to lie to myself about this situation, I know the reality of it for me is that;

1. I’m afraid about being alone in a country where I have no friends, no family, a different culture to where I’m from
2. I’ve been with this man since I was 18. He’s my first boyfriend, first love, first everything, and I’ll admit I’m terrified of being here on my own and the prospect of being single now, at my age (in this place I’m not familiar with etc), with very little or no experience with men.
3. I have a difficult time making friends, meeting new people.. I just don’t know how to go about it (weird I know, but I’m pretty shy)

Admitting all these things to myself, I do know that what I want is to move past this destructive period in my life, and start my life again somehow. I just don’t know how.

What suggestions can you give. My current situation in a nutshell: I’m in london on my own- no friends, or family – How do I meet people? How do I ‘integrate’? …I probably need professional help to sort myself out, but I thought, since you and others have had such experiences, maybe you can offer some advice. Thanks.

NML says: You are right to have nothing to do with this man. He just seems to be deceitful and I am sorry that you have experienced what you have, but also relieved that you didn’t end up married.

My suggestions:

You go to university in London, one place where it is easy to be who you want and also where you can meet people relatively easy. Many people make it their home away from home as everyone comes from somewhere else. I arrived in London almost 8 years ago, and admittedly whilst I’m not a shy person, it was daunting knowing one person who I saw occasionally and no-one else. What I do know is that you have to be in it to win it. You don’t meet people if you’re not in the right places to meet people or you are not getting involved.

Your life since you have been with him seems to revolve around him so you need to create a life for yourself. You should never place everything all on one man because it gives far too much power. Should things not work out, you’re left with no support. It’s also unhealthy as it is co-dependent.

Go to university events, go along to your uni restaurant after classes, get involved in nights out, offer to help out with the entertainments team – a great way to meet people and quick crash course in overcoming shyness. Join interest groups – every university in the UK has one. If you don’t have any interests, take up one or some. If you can afford to, do some charity work as it’s also a great way to meet other people or get a part time job. Whilst it is not easy, start learning to make conversation, to introduce yourself. Some people may know you as shy and may be wary of approaching you.

Trust me, if you meet another woman and told her about your recent experiences, you’ll quickly find common ground. Man trouble is something that bonds many a woman!

Find out who you are and what you enjoy.

Remember that you create the life and the experience you get. If you stay without friends, it won’t be him but you that has created this so you have to step out of your comfort zone.

I suggest seeing the university counsellor as this will also help you to clear your head a bit after your experience as you don’t want to find yourself with another man like your previous.

This is a time to redefine who you are and be and live your best you.

Your thoughts? How have you restarted your life after a difficult break up?

If you want to learn how to understand your involvement with Mr Unavailable’s and how to move on, check out my new ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. Find out more and download.

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