Arranging dates as a single mum is tricky. In the day time she and I are pretty much stuck like glue, other than the time she’s in the gym crèche, and in the evening she is in bed and I am housebound. Going on actual dates requires a babysitter, and due to lives and schedules, and my distinct lack of trust in most humans, these occasions are few and far between.

Inviting people back to my house for coffee and a chat is an option that works, but only if it’s with someone I actually know. I don’t like to invite relative strangers into my home at night, especially when my daughter is safely asleep upstairs. It offers a degree of trust that I am not comfortable handing out freely.

It can also be read as a come on. A definite come on. “Instead of going out for dinner, would you like to just come to my house?” That’s fine… in some cases… but most of the time I don’t want to be quite so forward.

Because of this, actual dates in actual public locations are few and far between. I find myself apologising. A lot.

I have been abandoned by potentials who are interested. Usually they just give up, which sucks but I understand, but sometimes I get told that they’re giving up. “I’ve been making a real effort but you keep blowing me off so I’m giving up”.


Sometimes it’s guys I am actually genuinely interested in. I don’t like turning them down, constantly apologising that “sorry I can’t” but I have to. I’m a single mum and it is part of the package, and to be honest if they don’t understand that then they’re probably not the right person for me anyway. But still.. I understand why they give up. There’s only so many times a man’s ego can take rejection before it will cave and go after easier prey.

It is frustrating, and it is hard. It is worth it, and having that little person snoring upstairs whilst I am downstairs watching Netflix on my own… again… is definitely wonderful. Every little bit of it. And fortunately there are men who I know, and who I can invite home for cups of coffee after bed time, so all is not lost. But it doesn’t mean it’s an easy scenario. Not many men want to base an entire relationship on sitting on a sofa, and not all men who I know well enough to invite round are men I want to get involved with.

This is not a new problem for women raising children alone. It is an old problem and it is one women have been dealing with for generations. But it sucks.

I hate saying “sorry” when I should be saying “yes”.


About J.J. Barnes

Author of The Lilly Prospero Series Writer and Podcaster at Blogger at Rose And Mum And More Contributor to The Huffington Post
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