Do you know that all anyone really wants is to love and be loved in return? Even people who think this is not what they want, want this. It's an inherent human trait to want to have love in your life. Songs have been built, cities and societies have been built and destroyed based on love. The most amazing books and films are based on love. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with wanting to be in love.
The biggest issue is that our whole lives are spent waiting for the time when we will be in love or in a relationship. As children we are taught that a woman is supposed to remain coy and patient and that one day she will be rescued by a knight in shining armor, or in other words, we'll find someone who is perfect, perfect for us, understands out every needs and desires and we will live happily every after. However, with your dad passing when you were very young (by the way, my daughter is 16 and her dad passed when she was 8 years old, and I am working with her now on her self esteem and relationship issues) that had an impact on you that would be hard to measure. Then you first boyfriend dying in a car crash, you are most likely dealing with severe abandonment issues. In a way you may think that if you love someone, they may leave you (whether through death or other means).
The issues with the abuse you dealt with at the hands of your children's father, is two-fold. One part is that you have to ask yourself why you got with him and stayed with him as long as you did. It may have been you refused to allow yourself to lose someone, so you dealt with whatever he gave out. Once you did actually split with him, you may have known that you didn't want to be in the same situation, but also started focusing more on loss and or losing someone.
I'm not your therapist, so I can only speculate, given the information at hand. At this point, it sounds like the man you're talking about might be a good hearted guy, but it doesn't seem as if he's ready to be what you need him to be. So may need to reassess what's comfortable and somewhat familiar with what's good for you right now and in the future. It is possible for you to find someone to love that can love you the way you need to be loved, but the only time you will be able to move forward is when you can accept the fact that people leave. People leave. Whether they leave on their own for whatever reason, or they leave by death, they do leave and there's really nothing we can do about that. That's the way life is and it's very scary.
You can choose to be alone and not worry about losing someone, but the fact is, no one is an island and this will affect you through anyone you love. We're not judged by what happens in our life but how we live our lives. You can't prevent a lover from leaving if thats what they want to do, and the reason is because you cannot make someone else happy. Did you understand what I mean? You cannot make others happy. Sure, you can contribute to their happiness, but you cannot be the sole point of it. By the same token, you cannot depend on others to make you happy, YOU have to make yourself happy, and if someone else can contribute to that, then so be it.
Until you can say:
I know that love isn't always permanent and I accept that.
Even if I am alone, I will be happy because I am the owner of my life
I will not let anyone else dictate my happiness
It's ok to be selfish when it comes to my love
I will trust those who prove they can be trusted
When I trust, I am choosing to trust and if I get hurt, it won't be the end of the world, only the end of that trust
There are more, but it will take a lot to move even to these points. I'd like to know your thoughts on what I've said and how you feel about it. I'm also here to talk as long as you need to. Remember, your life is your own, and you can change any aspect of it, even when it feels like you cannot.
The change that you want in your life can happen, even as you are reading these words you can make a decision to make a change in your life, small or large as you need it to be, or are able to at this time. There is someone out there who is willing to love you the way you need to be loved, but before that can happen, you must change the way you look at love and relationships or you will continue to repeat your mistakes.
I have faith that since you've been able ask, not just your therapist, but to even come on a forum like this and talk about it, that it's not something that you are unable to change on your own, just something that you haven't been in complete understanding of. Once you can understand your behaviors and why you do, think and act the way you do, I'm convinced that you may be able to help yourself. What do you think?