Joan’s first love was called Ray, she met him at a wedding where she recalls some very passionate kissing in the garden. From then on they saw each other practically every night until his parents made him end the relationship. He cried as he told her it was over. She too was devastated, feeling unloved as a child during the war years, coupled with this rejection she felt cautious and fearful, terrified of falling in love. Her strategy became to reject before being rejected.
Love, however, was to become Joan’s specialist area. Having worked in the reception of a marriage bureau during her 20s, she was determined to set up her own company. Before quitting her job Joan secretly set herself up on a blind date with a man called Ken, who became a good friend and later a joint venture partner in her new business. It was the early 1960s, Joan poured her energy into creating a successful career and, together with Ken, managed to run three separate companies, including an escort agency and the country’s first computer dating service! Slowly Joan and Ken’s relationship changed; flirting and side glances turned into love. Although unmarried, they were happy together for close to a decade, happy that is until Joan began to worry that Ken might be ready for marriage. Although, in her heart, she longed for marriage and children, her old fears returned and, terrified of rejection and feeling confused and resentful, she left. It was a quick parting, neither really explained their feelings, and continuing to work together was hard. Joan was now in her late 30s. In time, Ken went on to marry someone else, of course compounding the intense rejection Joan so feared. She felt she’d lost her best friend, her lover and the left side of her brain. A few other relationships followed, but these came to nothing, mainly because of the barrier Joan put up each time things got too serious. Looking back, having pushed love away too often, Joan is sad that marriage and children didn’t happen for her, but feels that, in a way, she gave up love to give love to others.
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