Relationship counsellor and psychosexual therapist Mary O'Conor offers relationship advice in her weekly column.
Question: I am in my 20s and single, with two children both with special needs.I find it hard to find someone to have a relationship with. Every man who I have contact with is either only interested in sex or finds me having special needs kids a huge deal. I also find men seem to use me - I'm starting to feel like I'm destined to be alone for ever.
Mary O'Conor replies: Two children with special needs is indeed a lot for a single parent to handle. I can understand your desire to have somebody in your life, and I can also understand a man's reticence to become involved when he hears your story. I wonder, however, if you are giving too much information too quickly.
Usually when people meet they give some details about themselves, but not too many. Initially, the conversation is very general, relating to hobbies, interests and things like current affairs.
It is only when the initial attraction seems to be developing into stronger feelings for each other that people are confident enough to share more intimate stuff regarding themselves and their families.
I don't think that this is in any way deceitful - it is a question of too much information right at the beginning. So if somebody gets to know you just for yourself to begin with, they then have a better chance of accepting all that comes with you - in your case two children with special needs - as the relationship develops.
I also think you would benefit by being part of a support group for parents of whatever special needs your children have, if you have not already done so - www.specialneedsparents.ie is a very comprehensive website and contains details of many different support groups.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or write c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately