Dear Dr. Romance:

I am writing because I am surrounded by negative people and thoughts, including my family.  I have no support structure. I hide from neighbors so people won't ask questions.  During the day I am on the computer being as proactive as I can. 

My question is I have a very hard time being positive, my self esteem is low and confidence level too.  When I date men notice it and it can be a turn off.  I don't have the "I can get this" type of attitude.  Change is not easy and it doesn't come over night but are there any books you can recommend or tapes I can listen to?

I am on the Internet trying to find someone special to marry someday.  I am 48, never married and no children. I am supposedly going to meet someone this weekend. I got sick last weekend so I had to reschedule and we chat online a little bit.  I never had the pleasure of enjoying a good relationship much less a good sex life and I would like that too.  Thank you in advance.  I look forward to hearing from you.  

Dear Reader:

Yes, if your original family and old friends are bringing you down, it's a good idea to keep your distance until you are strong enough in self-esteem to see that their negativity is their problem, and has nothing to do with you. Your worst enemy, however, is probably yourself. If you listen to your self-talk, you'll realize that you're being as negative toward yourself as your family is. This is the basis of your low self-esteem.  The good news is you're not stuck, you can fix it.  "Mirrors and Teachers"   and "Coping with Critics" will help you handle difficult people, "Attitude: From Negative to Gratitude" will help you change your outlook, and "Your Primary Relationship" will help you improve your relationship with your self - the model for all your other relationships. 

It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction has the exercises and information you need to improve your self-esteem, and understand and counteract your family dysfunction.

It Ends With You

For low-cost counseling, email me at


Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.