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Hey Woody,

I’m always pursuing guys that I can’t have and running away from guys that show interest. I’m a sad contradiction. I’m always alone and find myself longing for a boyfriend. Whenever hot guys do approach me I freeze up and can’t talk to them and they in turn believe there is no interest and move on. I’m afraid to make the first move. I’ve lost out on a lot of hot men over the years and realize I have no one to blame but myself. On top of that, I had one relationship over 14 years ago and he ended it. Since then I’m afraid to open up to anyone. I think he’ll only see my flaws once he gets to know me, dump me and my self-esteem will suffer. I lost my job after that relationship ended, obsessing over him and feeling like I was worthless and am afraid it could happen again.

Hey Woody,

I’m always pursuing guys that I can’t have and running away from guys that show interest. I’m a sad contradiction. I’m always alone and find myself longing for a boyfriend. Whenever hot guys do approach me I freeze up and can’t talk to them and they in turn believe there is no interest and move on. I’m afraid to make the first move. I’ve lost out on a lot of hot men over the years and realize I have no one to blame but myself. On top of that, I had one relationship over 14 years ago and he ended it. Since then I’m afraid to open up to anyone. I think he’ll only see my flaws once he gets to know me, dump me and my self-esteem will suffer. I lost my job after that relationship ended, obsessing over him and feeling like I was worthless and am afraid it could happen again. My inability to open up to anyone has earned me a bad reputation and many guys won’t approach me. They think I’m a tease. I’ve sought therapy before and that was a waste of money so I’m hoping maybe you have some insight for me. I read your column a lot and think you offer a lot of good advice. What can I do to get over these hang-ups and finally find the loving relationship I think I want? I’m tired of seeing others happy as life passes me by.

-Lost & Desperate

Dear Lost & Desperate,

There are lots of things I could suggest that would help you get over your fear of approaching guys or to make yourself approachable. In fact, I cover all of them in my book, “Meet Hotter Guys.” But you know what? Save yourself the money—it won’t help. Unless you have some fundamental sense of self—which you don’t—the tips and techniques in the book won’t do you any good.

Look, the first instinct of unhappy bastards like you is to find something outside of them to make them happy. Even if you did find someone to make you happy you’d end up driving him away with your unhappiness. So instead of looking for bliss to flow into you, I’d work on getting it to flow out of you.

Give up the search for a while. Stop wearing the T-shirt that says “Unit Available” and switch to the one saying, “Off The Market.” It’s only by turning off the 24/7 Boyfriend Scanner that you’ll find the strength and focus to do the hard work required. Namely, going back to therapy and sticking with it.

You did to therapy what you do in your love life: Seek, find and sabotage. So, therapy’s a wonderful place to start breaking the pattern. Plus, you’ll get lots of insight and straighten out the mess you’ve become. It’s a two-fer.

In some ways I think people like you enjoy the complaining too much to actually do something about the sad state of your love life. It’s sad but true—many men don’t really want a relationship—they’re just looking for one. And what they’re looking for is a canvas to paint their unhappiness on.

If you spent less time bitching and moaning and more time working and healing you’d become happier. And then my book will help!

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