ADVANCED psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist CLAIRE GASKIN sees clients in Essex and in London’s Harley Street. If you have a problem you’d like Claire’s advice with, email agonyaunt@nqe. com For more details on Claire’s work, visit

Dear Claire,

How do I go about meeting someone if I don’t want to do on-line dating or hang around supermarkets in the hope of spotting someone vaguely attractive ?

I am constantly hearing about how people met the man/woman of their dreams just by chance, or from a friend of a friend and I always thought that would happen to me but it hasn’t.

I am in my forties and apart from one ill-fated long-term relationship, I have been single most of my adult life.

I have attended a whole host of friends’ weddings and milestone parties wondering if this will be the night I meet the person of my dreams and now I am wondering if it will ever happen.

I feel so lonely but just the thought of joining a dating agency of any kind makes me feel anxious.

I think I maybe fear rejection the most and I just want to know how I can get over this and take steps forward ?

Claire says:

Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 relationships begin online.

However, around 80 per cent of people tell lies on their profiles, so you do need a thick skin to navigate the virtual dating game.

Even in the real world, meeting the ‘person of your dreams’ is no guarantee for everlasting love, unless your wish-list includes ‘agreeableness’ - the number one predictor of relationship success.

Finding a kind and considerate mate is more likely to result in enduring happiness.

Start by increasing your social circle of like-minded people. Join clubs or groups which have regular events. If you like walking, join a ramblers club; if you enjoy reading, go along to your local book group. You get the idea.

Not only will you feel less lonely but it will increase your self-confidence, something which loneliness chips away at.

If you’ve always struggled with romantic relationships, and the fear of rejection, you may suffer with low self-worth. Both hypnotherapy and BWRT can help to dissolve fears and improve self-esteem. Or, why not treat yourself to a makeover, for a quick boost?

Having an air of confidence is attractive to potential partners.

Be creative in building new friendship circles and you just might find that special person, waiting for you.