Originally Posted by Ivy
...I still miss both of them, and I frequently wonder if there is indeed something very wrong with me.
Poor, poor Ivy.
Yes, there is something wrong with you - you have a low self-esteem and an internal tape that keeps on playing the same stupid old message over and over again. The tape leads you to interpret other people's actions and words in a manner that is consistent with the tape, regardless of what was actually said and done. The biggest thing that is wrong with you is that you always think there is something wrong with you.
Like with Ella - to the degree she is not in control of her sexuality the reason is not her wild sex appeal (which you think you lack) or you being a prude or she having a non-committal attitude to lovers (you) but her quite likely having experienced severe denial of control of her sexuality at some point in her life. This is not on you, cannot be cured by you, and should never have anything to do with your own self-image.
What made it possible for you to overcome your insecurity and self-blame with Vino? Are these experiences you could transfer to other relationships? Have you had therapy in the past? Self-help and meditation can work wonders too (for me it has) if you can't afford or are not comfortable with therapy.
I am rooting for you, Ella and Ben! And Vino too!
"Resentment destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stems the root of our spiritual disease."
"In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper - list people, institutions and principles with whom you are angry. Ask yourself why you are angry."
"In most cases it was found out that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal relationships, including sex, were hurt or threatened. We were sore, burnt-up." Alcoholics Anonymous, 64-65.