Women's Health (UK) - - AMOUR AND MORE - Per­sia Law­son, 31, is a love coach and au­thor of The In­ner Fix. She lives in Lon­don

‘Grow­ing up, I al­ways wanted to be in a re­la­tion­ship. As a teenager, I would sleep with my friends’ boyfriends and thought noth­ing of hav­ing one-night stands. I was ob­sessed with the idea of fall­ing in love, and yet I was ter­ri­fied of in­ti­macy.

Through­out my twen­ties, my be­hav­iour only be­came more ex­treme. It wasn’t un­til I was sex­u­ally abused at the age of 24 that my par­ents saw for the first time how un­happy I was. I was at my low­est ebb when my dad took me to a yoga re­treat in Thai­land. I re­mem­ber com­ing across a book called Women

Who Love Too Much – I opened it at a ran­dom page and started read­ing. It was like ev­ery­thing in my life sud­denly made sense. When I was a child, my par­ents had both used drugs, and the book ex­plained how chil­dren who grow up in such en­vi­ron­ments of­ten go on to have dys­func­tional ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships. I’d al­ways told my­self that my par­ents were the ones with the prob­lem, not me. It was the im­pe­tus I needed to change for good.

Back home, I started a 12-step ther­apy pro­gramme, and over the next 18 months I com­mit­ted to ab­stain­ing from re­la­tion­ships. There was no one else to val­i­date me, and that was so im­por­tant.

Hav­ing that time on my own meant that when I met my cur­rent boyfriend, in 2015, I ap­proached the re­la­tion­ship dif­fer­ently and I was up­front about my re­la­tion­ship his­tory straight away. We’ve been a cou­ple for two years now and we’re about to travel the world to­gether. Our re­la­tion­ship isn’t per­fect (whose is?), but it fills me with hope that, after hav­ing gone through so much, I’ve been able to move for­ward.’

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