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Having been single now for just over 5 months (having previously been in one serious relationship or another for 6 years) I have deduced that it really REALLY sucks.

At first, despite being extremely upset at the demise of my last relationship, I acknowledged that it would be the first time in my 20's (I'm now 26) that I would have the freedom to do all the things that young urban people do in a big city like London - and I must admit I half fancied the idea. Five long months on I just want my life to be the way it has been for so many years. Singledom is not for me for the following reasons;

1) I miss having someone around who I can tell all my problems, stories, worries and fears to (buddies are OK but there is a certain degree of myself that I can't reveal to my closest friends, it's a guy thang)

2) By Wednesday night when the previous weekend is a distant memory, the lonely walk to the video shop to grab a movie and order a takeaway seems to reek of someone with "Past Sell By Date, Please Throw Out" emblazened on their forehead. (I realise that 26 is not old but paranoia is a big part of being single and besides, it's nearer to 30 than 20 isn't it?)

3) I've come to the conclusion that sex is like heroin - you can go for years and years without the need for it, but once you've got the taste for it, the rapid onset of it's denial to your person feels like HELL ON EARTH!!! (Lioncub sits in a corner, trembling, twitcing and scratching the carpet having gone cold turkey for some time)

4) I no longer get the opportunity to go to nice places like restaurants, quiet bars or cinemas as I feel the need to surround myself with crowds and noise in busy bars and clubs so as not to feel like the sad lonely fart that I occasionally feel I could become.

5) I have found myself becoming unfairly resentful towards my friends partners, subconciously blaming them for 'stealing' my friends away from me.

6) The weekends have taken on a far more sinister guise as my opportuntity to redeem myself and perhaps wake up next to person I'm going to be with for the next six years! - Inevitably I fail to meet anyone I'm remotely interested in or, even worse, alcohol and desperation kick in and I end up with somebody with whom I have absolutley nothing in commom with whatsoever and spend the next 48 hours spiralling into a whirlpool of pity and self-loathing, regretting the things that I said or did to end up single in the first place.

6) Being in a relationship since I moved to London has retarded my social skills to a certain degree, in that I haven't really gone out of my way to meet new people as I haven't felt the need to do so. And believe me, London can be a VERY lonely place.

7) I have found that my female friends have started to threaten to 'set me up' with one or more of their friends which (for me, and I know this is only my opinion) smacks of desperation and fills me with an unsumountable mountain of cringe.

8) I've started to relate more and more to the character 'Rob' in Nick Hornby' s 'High Fidelity' and fear ending up at the local picture house with my mother and father aged 35 on a wet and windy Sunday evening)

These are the thoughts that were charging furiously around in my head this morning as I awoke to a big, empty house with the rain beating down on my bedroom window. I don't always feel this negative about my predicament but it helps to vent a little spleen in e2.

Thanks for listening.

I am fifty, and have been single all my life. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

If there is anything I may "hate" (I prefer dislike) about it is that it was not my choice.

When I was a young man many girls were quite interested in me. But I intended to become a Catholic priest, so I never reciprocated.

Nevertheless, I did fall in love several times, but always ended the relationship. Not because I no longer liked the girls, but because I had to choose between a marriage and the priesthood.

I lived in a Communist country with strong persecution of religion, so I did my priestly studies underground. I did not live in a seminary. But I did have a spiritual guide. I mentioned to him how much I loved children and wanted to have my own. He just told me to forget it.

That is cruel. I do understand the ideal of celibacy for spiritual reasons. But it should be a choice. And I don't mean a choice between becoming a priest or getting married.

Why should an institution make that choice for you? Especially when it has no theological reasons for it?

In the early history of the Catholic Church, it did have married priests. It did want to make sure that its priests could handle the married life without scandals, so it made a rule it would keep ordaining married men only after they have reached a certain age (35, or so, I do not remember the exact number). If you were younger, you could still be ordained but only if you were not married (and the Catholic Church has always believed one cannot get married after the ordination). With time, there were fewer and fewer men willing to wait till that age, so eventually most, perhaps all, ordinations were of unmarried men. That was still their choice.

But then the Church changed its law and decided not to ordain married men no matter what their age.

As I said, I love children and wanted my own. I was in love several times. I would have willingly waited till the age of 35. But I did not have that choice.

The irony of it is I have chosen a different religion around the age of 40. Now I am neither a priest nor married. And I have no children. C'est la vie.

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