Ask Fiona: How can I meet someone?
Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week: A man who can't find a girlfriend, sleeping with a married man and how to help a friend after she lost a baby
I'M A 36-year-old guy who's never had a girlfriend. I've met girls on nights out and had a dance and a kiss with them, but never saw them again after the evening was over.
I used to use internet dating sites as well and I went on lots of dates with different women. It all came to nothing unfortunately, and I feel quite depressed and demoralised sometimes.
I have a job driving buses working different hours and I don't get to see people very often on a regular basis. I don't know what to do next really.
FIONA SAYS: Persevere with online dating
It's difficult for people who work irregular hours to join clubs, groups and organisations that would allow them to get to know people as friends before forming relationships. Internet dating is probably the most logical way forward for you, but you say you've tried this, without success.
I wonder if you've used a specific match-making site or one of the more random ones such as Tinder or Happn? Paid-for services such as eHarmony and Match.com probably offer more concrete possibilities for a relationship because, having paid, people are more serious about wanting a relationship.
There are plenty of people who work odd hours, so you are not alone in finding it difficult to form relationships because of your job.
You say you've met girls on nights out, but haven't seen them again after the evening was over. That does make me wonder if there isn't something fundamentally wrong, like bad breath or body odour that's putting them off further dates.
Make sure there isn't anything like this by talking to a close friend or family member who can be brutally honest with you.
I'M NOT A MORNING PERSON
I WORK with my father in his business. I like the job, even though he seems to be harder on me than anyone else. I know this is simply because he doesn't want to be seen to be playing favourites, but my big problem is, I can't wake up in the mornings.
I'm very energetic at night, but useless early in the day. My dad gets furious with me; how can I explain that I'm simply not a 'morning person'?
FIONA SAYS: Introduce a new sleeping pattern
Like you, I'm more comfortable with late starts and working late rather than early ones, but at various times in my life, I've had to go against my nature.
A person's body will learn any sleep pattern, and you've probably established a 'late to bed and late to rise' pattern that means you find it difficult to wake up early. It's a habit that can be broken, though, simply by going to bed earlier.
It could be your father understands it's all about your habits, which could be why he gets angry with you. In time, your system will adapt to the new pattern so, if this job is important to you, make the change – you can do it if you really want to.
HE'S MARRIED AND DOESN'T CARE ABOUT ME
I'M IN love with a married man, who seems to have no regard for me whatsoever. I was seeing him while he was engaged and we had discussed moving in together once he had broken off his engagement.
He went ahead with his marriage, but still contacts me regularly and we usually end up in bed. I know this is no way to carry on, but I do love him, so what should I do?
FIONA SAYS: He doesn't deserve you
What do you want to do? Continue seeing a man who has lied to you and now lies to his wife; who only seems to contact you when he needs sex and treats you with total disrespect?
Or would you rather be free to look for a relationship that will give you genuine love, respect and the chance to be with someone who wants to be with you?
You know the answer, and while I understand you believe you love him and that breaking away will hurt, I think you know this relationship has no future. It is a humiliating, one-sided deal that's ruining your self-esteem and the sooner you distance yourself from this man, the better.
HE WON'T LET ME SUPPORT HER
A CLOSE friend of mine has recently lost her baby. It was her first child and I know she and her husband are devastated. I have tried several times to contact her to offer help and support but her husband always answers the door or phone and says she is refusing to see anyone.
Surely this can't be good for her and I almost think I should push past him and insist on seeing her. I just want to help.
FIONA SAYS: Try writing to her
People deal with pain in different ways and, at the moment it seems your friend feels she just needs time alone to cope with her grief, without people trying to help her along or cheer her up. It wouldn't be good for her to cut herself off from people indefinitely, but right now it seems that is just what she wants.
You could try writing to her, telling her you understand she wants to be alone, but reminding her that you and others do care about her and want to see her when she feels ready. When she's had time to deal with her grief in private, she will probably resurface.
You don't say whether your friend's child was lost through a miscarriage or cot death, but either way, there are several organisations that might help. Please either write to me again or contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau for details.
:: If you have a problem you'd like Fiona's advice with, please email firstname.lastname@example.org