Advice: Why am I still single?

She's 32 and hasn't had a 'real' relationship for a decade. Is there a Mr Right out there?

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I am 32 and currently living in London, but am returning soon to New Zealand.

I have recently come out of a relationship of sorts, which was quite damaging to me on many levels, but I know I am better out of it.

He was married, and even though told me he was separated when we met this ultimately wasn't the case. This lasted over a year, and ended by him walking out on me after telling me he had recently been sleeping with other woman and that what we had was a joke, and that other than his sex life with his wife he is happily married. Disaster to say the least!

I am very anxious about moving back to New Zealand. It has been over four years, and during that time my friends have all moved forward with their lives.

They are married, or have kids or both. I feel like my life has been quite stagnant. My friends in London often joke that we lead a temporary life over here.

I really am worried that the clock is ticking and while I have been away I might have missed my shot at meeting the right guy.

I haven't had a "real" relationship for about 10 years. I often have feelings of being inadequate and not good enough, like whoever I date is constantly looking for a better model.

It's like I am successful in almost every aspect of my life except relationships. I have a great job, own my own home in New Zealand, love rugby and most sports. I'm well-travelled, can cook, love cars, have great friends and family, am fun and enthusiastic and am fairly attractive.

I wonder what is wrong with me. Why are other people in seemingly happy relationships, and I am the one with no one?

I honestly do not see myself as desperate (though some would), I actually just see myself as crushingly lonely.

Have you any tips that will help me meet a great guy, not so that I fit in with everyone, but so that I can experience love with someone that is special and sees me in the same way?

Perpetual Bridget Jones

It sounds like you are going through the really normal process of making some big transitions in your life and reflecting about how you want your future to be.

I would encourage you to think of all you have gained from your time away.  It is true that your friends may have moved on and many now have children and partners, but you also will have changed so it is great that you are not expecting time to have stood still for everyone.

This change creates opportunities as well as challenges, and I wonder if you are signalling a willingess to embark on a kind of personal journey as well.

This might sound like a bit of a cliché but the best tip I can offer for meeting the right guy is to be really happy in your own skin. You do deserve a loving relationship but it is likely your feelings of being inadequate and second guessing your partners about wanting a 'better model' are getting in the way.

Those feelings of inadequacy will colour your choices of who you attract and who you stay with. If you don't think you are worthy, you will be sending those messages out.

Sometimes the negative messages we carry about ourselves are a bit hard to shift and can continue to interfere with our intimate relationships, so I would suggest you go and get some help from a counsellor.  They will be able to help you identify more about how the messages are impacting on you, and help you connect with all those wonderful aspects of who you are. 

So for now, enjoy and appreciate all you have and the way you have contributed to those successes ... successful career, own home, great family and friends.  Hold onto that dream that that you will find someone who is special and sees that in you, but also embrace this in yourself.

When you move home immerse yourself in social activities, friendships and developing the kind of lifestyle you enjoy. Learn to love yourself and trust the relationship will happen when you are ready.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

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