DEAR DEIDRE: I’m having my first crush in 20 years, and I don’t want to muck it up.

I’m a 50-year-old man and a survivor of domestic abuse.

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My ex-wife was violent and hurt me so deeply that I swore I would never love again. 

I dedicated my life to being a single father to my two wonderful sons, now 16 and 17, and protecting them from their toxic mother.

But now, to my surprise, I’ve met a lovely woman, 45, through work. She’s divorced too and has also had bad relationships.

We have had after-work drinks together, and we’ve messaged each other as friends. Now I’d like to take things further. 

I can’t stop thinking about her, and it brightens up my day. I even get butterflies when I see her – like a teenager.

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But I’m worried she doesn’t feel the same and that if we did get involved, I’ll get hurt again. 

I’m not sure what to do. 

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DEIDRE SAYS: Starting a relationship is always scary and risky, and even more so when you’ve been terribly hurt in the past.

But the rewards are usually worth the risk, and you deserve a chance at happiness. Do nothing and you might regret it.

Remind yourself that not all women are the same. 

If you like this woman, take time to develop your friendship so you know there’s more to this than a crush. Take it slowly, enjoy her company and have fun. 

My support pack, Learning to Love, might be helpful. 

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