Heart Searching: Men are more needy

Hungry for the stimulation and confidence of a relationship after a divorce, I answered some ads in a local, trendy listings magazine. I picked, first, a man describing himself as a 'travelling gentleman who needs companionship'. He was, in fact, an HGV driver taking articulated container loads across Europe. But I did get something out of it: a trip to Florence via interesting, beautiful and distracting scenery, camping untidily in his cab.

The next man advertised himself as 'fortyish'. Embarrassingly, I vaguely knew him and knew he was in his fifties. Another was a desperate case, calling himself a computer consultant and actually working as a VDU operator. He lived dismally in a grotty house, with an obviously disturbed son, the curtains drawn all day. I thought I needed help and he didn't even realise he did.

Then I dropped the idea. It seems men are more needy of relationships than women. I still haven't made a relationship. I have outgrown the need for one. Sometimes I would welcome companionship, but men of my vintage (I am 43) seem so needy, so demanding, so in awe of a woman coping on her own that they appear to me like parasites; and I need all the strength I've got for myself.

Caroline, Bristol