He Wants to Date Other Women Because I’m a Busy Single Mom


Hi Evan, I have been reading your blog for a while now, and am appreciative of the insights I’ve learned. I am working towards balancing a dating life while raising two amazing daughters. I have a full time career and a fairly active social life. I recently met a wonderful man online who similar to me has been divorced and has children. He typically has dated women without children as he found it was less complex. We went out four times in one month, and in between there was a strong connection we both verbalized and confirmed experiencing. I was surprised by his uncharacteristic request to date other women as he felt once a week wasn’t enough time to build momentum between us.

I told him I was happy to have met him and that we shared a connection, but wouldn’t be open to the idea of other people and cut things off. Intellectually, I feel I’ve made the right choice. However, I understand my lack of availability may be a big issue for anyone. My heart is having second thoughts and wondering if I should have been open to the consideration of getting to know him better while being open to meeting others? Is that healthy? I’ve dated a good amount of men, and on many levels he seemed wonderful. The “dating other people” bit threw me for a loop and hoping you might share your thoughts.

Thanks Evan. —Single Mom

Thanks for your question, Single Mom, because it’s a great reminder that sometimes a strong connection isn’t always enough to get a relationship off the ground.

There are a few things that I could stand to know about you that would give me more clarity on your situation — namely, your age, his age, and the ages of your respective children. Without that, I’m sort of flying blind here.

If a man is really young, he’s probably used to dating women without children, who are, by definition, a lot more available.

Because there’s a big difference between a 32-year-old man and a 57-year-old man.
And there’s a big difference between a 1-year-old and a 16-year-old child.

If a man is really young, he’s probably used to dating women without children, who are, by definition, a lot more available. Why should he settle down with a woman who can only give him one night a week when he can have a girlfriend who can give him three or four nights? That’s right: he shouldn’t.

And if either of you are raising young ones, they’re a lot more all-consuming than if you’ve got high-schoolers who can largely take care of themselves.

These circumstances will dictate a lot, whether you like it or not.

So the real question isn’t about this guy, per se. He’s just a placeholder for all men that you’re going to encounter as a single mom.

To figure out what to do the next time you meet a wonderful man, let’s backtrack:

Was this guy wrong for wanting a woman who’s more available? No.

Were you wrong for refusing to accept his open-relationship terms? No.

As such, there’s no cause for you to agonize or lament what went down. He did what was right for him. You did what was right for you.

Ultimately, he’ll find the childless girlfriend who can give him more time.

And you’ll find the single dad who understands your predicament and embraces it.

Doesn’t that feel a lot better than worrying that you let some guy get away?

I sure hope so.

P.S. If EVERY guy feels that you don’t have enough time for him between work, kids, hobbies, friends, family and your “active” social life, then yes, maybe you need to make a few cutbacks. But that’s another conversation for another day.

Join our conversation (106 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    Do you really only have one night a week to spend time with someone? Not only does that not seem enough to get a relationship off the ground, it doesn’t seem enough to keep a relationship going either. At least beyond the casual level. And the casual level was essentially what this guy was offering you when he brought up dating others.  
    Is your ex in the picture in terms of custody/visitation? Is he someone you could work with to get more ‘childfree’ time for yourself? If that isn’t an option, perhaps you can work with the parents of your children’s friends – you take turns with them taking each others kids to give each parent some free time. If it’s your already active social life that doesn’t leave you time for cultivating a romance, why not cut back on that? That is, if finding a potential love is important to you.
    You may find another single Dad who understands your one night a week situation, as Evan suggested, but I think your prospects are better if you can find a way to give more time to another person.

  2. 2

    Kudos, Evan!   On the face of it, I completely agree on all points.   It’s a shame a divorced dad can’t be more understanding, but these things happen.   In the end, you really want someone who will be understanding that you are a single mom with all the stuff that goes with it, and he’ll support and encourage you.   I too am a single mom with a preschool aged child and a teenager, with a full time career.   I can’t drop everything for a spur of the moment date and have to plan ahead for anything over night or far away.   I have been fortunate enough to develop a relationship with a divorced dad who is very understanding and goes out of his way to help me see him.   They are out there; just keep looking!

  3. 3


    I actually agree with the guy who asked if he could see other women, due to the OP’s time restraints.   I’ve dated some single Dads who were very busy with their kids, which left limited time for me to go on dates with them.  

    I had to learn that those kids would always come first, not me, and while that is good for the kids, it’s not good for me.   I’d never been in a relationship where I had been put first, and I knew it was high time to expect that for myself.   I just had to learn that dating men with kids would probably be way less than ideal for me and that my focus should probably be on men my age who had kids very young, and are in high school or college, or men with no kids.  

    And so far, that’s worked just fine.   My guy and I are both agreed, we both do not want kids.   I’m glad I learned that lesson instead of banging my head on that same wall, over and over.

    And to the OP, hey, at least the guy told you what was up, instead of dodging your calls or texts, or just going behind your back.  

  4. 4

    Why can’t the new boyfriend come to your house for dinner with your kids and hang out? Why can’t he bring his kids over? This is what is going to happen if you stayed together so you should have offered to blend the kids a bit because really there is no other way when your both single parents or even if one is a single parent. What I have found is a lot of men don’t have custody of their kids but every other weekend. To me that is not being a parent at all, that is visiting your own kids. Women really should demand joint custody in divorce so they don’t always have the responsibility and can have time to search for another partner.  

    1. 4.1

      I am also finding this a huge problem as I have full custody of my sons of 10 and 14 and their father lives two hours away and only sees them every other weekend. I am finding it impossible to have time with someone I have just met it is   so frustrating. I am at that time of life when one son is old enough to leave alone in the evening but I cannot leave the youngest son alone with him. Also I did go out with a man with four kids and he used to come over in the evening to spend some time with me. Then our weekends off from our kids had to synchronise. We split up in the end as it was too much of a juggle. The new man is childless and never married but lives an hour away. No idea what the solution is……”???????

      1. 4.1.1

        Among other reasons, I have made the choice to give up the search for a mate until my youngest is grown. I realize that is not an option for everyone, but I don’t regret it.   I’m not lonely very often, as I either greatly appreciate alone time that I get or I hang with my close friends and have a great time.   I don’t hate being single.   I need some space.

        1. dandy

          Not sure how old this post is but I’m   a single mom too and I feel the same. I have not been in a serious relationship since I kicked my son’s dad to the curb, I’m nearly an empty nester now and not real sure about getting back out there again. I like my space.

    2. 4.2
      Ebonique minor

      Thanks Sandy. You summed it up. At least you understand. I have four kids and am a single parent with bi support system at all. No family nor close relatives. It is very hard to meet a man rather even have a social life

  5. 5

    As a (childless, single) guy who’s about to turn 42, I feel for this guy — you have a great connection, but you only see that other person ONCE a week — 4 times a month…in which there are 30-31 one days.

    He wanted to move it up to the “boyfriend/girlfriend” level and that’s really not one night a week (not even the whole day — just a few hours)….

    (A great example who wanted a committment, folks! see, he exists!!!!)

    After dating even planners, nurses, people in production, if I can’t spend at least 2 nights a week (at least!!!) with someone, I’m moving on…

    because he’s right — you can’t build something only on a few hours 4 times a month….


    1. 5.1

      Which is why it doesn’t make sense for a single mom to date a never-married childless guy. Until a single parent’s children are grown, they can’t come and go as they please. Yeah, single parents get passed over quite a bit, right or wrong. But a single parent who’s truly invested in his or her children won’t see that as sacrifice, but merely what he or she is called to do.   When I have done the OLD thing, and would be contacted by childless men or even men who had only.grown kids out of the house, I turned them down. I am not at the point yet where I can come and go as I want.   

  6. 6

    Single mom: I think you may need to step back and prioritize.  If you enjoy dating casually, then  one night a week is great. But if you want a LTR, I don’t see how you can achieve that with anyone by only seeing them once a week. Yet, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to take away even more time from your kids or career. How about your “fairly active social life”? Include dating as a part of that, and maybe you can devote two nights a week to a prospective partner instead of doing some of the other activities.

    It’s a trade-off; you need to decide what’s more important to you. Maybe for the time being,  your other social activities matter more. But it’s pretty hard to achieve a LTR with the time you’re currently devoting to dating.

    1. 6.1

      I don’t see why 1 night a week is a huge problem early in a long term relationship. In fact I think it is healthy. The bottom line is: it’s not going to be 1 day a week FOREVER.

      Im a single mom to a 2 year old. I’m dating a never married, childless man and we are late 20s. For the first month I saw him 1x a week and once every other weekend   (which is 6x instead of 4, but close enough). Then I introduced him to dd and now we do 1-2x a week (1 without dd as I use a sitter) and every other weekend we do something with my daughter and on the weekends I don’t have her we do something alone, so now it is at least twice a week.

      And eventually maybe we will make a solid 2 days a week.

      I think relationships are supposed to GROW. I don’t see starting slow as a problem and starting with 3-4 days a week could cause even a perfect match to burn out.

  7. 7

    I would have been one of those women in the past that many of these single dads gravitated to, ya know, because I was young and “unburdened” by those wretched kids and had all this free time to devote to dating.
    But even then, it really bothered me how these every-other-weekend dads (like Sandy mentioned) would talk about how they were SOOOO tired having to spend the whole weekend (!!!) with their kid/kids. I remember saying once, “Well, imagine having them every single day of the week, like your ex does.” That usually quieted them down.
    From someone on the other side of the fence, I’d say good riddance to those single dads who can’t understand the time crunch a single mom would have. I love kids and wouldn’t have had a problem dating a single dad if it actually seemed like he was, you know, a DAD and not a guy who simply visited his children. I limited myself to men with no children for this very reason… A man who is truly involved in his children’s lives will be understanding of a woman who has time constraints due to raising children.

  8. 8

    I agree with Evan that there will be a single dad out there who embraces the fact that you are a busy single mom. I’ve been in the same situation for the past 7 years raising two teenagers who see their dad every other weekend. I have no family support so I am THE parent and support system for my kids. Up until recently, my weekdays included a time consuming career, carpooling to school and back, late afternoon, evening, and weekend soccer practices and games. Whew! Just writing this makes me wonder how I do it! In this 7 years, I’ve dated casually because that was my choice and my family circumstances wouldn’t allow me for more time. I met one man who was understanding, but his kids were grown and he wanted more time. We are still friends but nothing more. Also, the men I dated were not ready to blend kids or take on the responsibility of dating me and the kids.   Now, with a son in college, and my daughter graduating from high school, I am dating more and am looking for a serious relationship. It’s time for me. I have no regrets that I’ve put my kids first these past 7 years.
    Single mom, if you want more than a casual relationship,   it will take some effort on your part and willingness to free up some time to commit to a relationship with a man. I hope that you find that special person who understands that you come as a package deal. I hope I do too!

  9. 9

    Meant to add… I agree though that you might have to be open to making more time for dating… I like the suggestion of at least twice per week. But I hope a single dad would be more understanding of a single mom’s time situation if she’s at least trying to make time to date.

  10. 10

    Can each poster on this thread disclose if they have ever been a single parent (and that includes half time parents) or had children?  

  11. 11

    For SalsaQ re: #10
    I was a single parent for many of the years my son was growing up.

  12. 12


    Never had kids, and I’m not one bit interested in having them in the future, either.   That’s why I am better off with men with grown children, or no children.   I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent and I don’t want to find out.   No offense to anyone here, it’s just a life choice for me that works.

  13. 13

    As a single Mom of a now 16 year old, I understand.   Also age of the guy does matter.   Now, my once a week date is sometimes almost 2 whole days!   And that is cool for both of us.   When my son was younger, the guys that really felt I was special would work with me:   Come by the house for dinner..etc     They wanted to see me kid or no kid. KIMM     Keep it Moving Mom the right guy will come along!!!

  14. 14

    Am I the only one who sees the either/or premise a little sad?   If he really wanted to see how this could go, couldn’t he have brought up the need for more face time before notifying her that he wanted more time elsewhere?   Or couldn’t she have tried to come up with some alternatives?   e.g., including him in some of the social activities with others?  
    However, I’d be slow to add him in to family things until the likelihood that he’d be around for a while.   The whole ‘dad substitute’ situation can be confusing to kids, especially if there are lingering feelings about the divorce.
    As it is, looks like they need to chalk it up to having had several good dates, then moving on.   Not such a bad thing.
    Btw, I was   a single mom for many years — yes, it did cramp my dating style, but as mentioned above, that felt like the right choice to make at that a time.

  15. 15

    Some of these posts make me feel there is no hope for my schedule and dating. Especially since I have been told by the last couple of guys I have dated that my schedule makes it difficult to maintain momentum or some variation as to why they don’t take me seriously for a LTR. My job is traveling. I have as many days off as I work and when I am home I do not work so I am very available. But this schedule doesn’t seem to fit into many people’s 8-5 jobs or even guys in my same career field. There is some weeks that I can not see someone at all and other weeks I can see them every day. I am single, no kids, but not much control over what days I can hold off in any given month.
    Finding someone that I feel a connection is difficult enough without being rejected because my schedule determines when we get together.

  16. 16

    I completely agree with Laura.   I’ve been a single Mom for 13 years.   The kids “used” to see their dad 2 nights a week and for the “full” every over weekend. Even that was too much for him.    in the past 4 years he has hardly been around physically (zero financially).   I support them 100% for everything.   I am fortunate that I have a great job and make a great salary.    I have no family here and so I am on my own with one car and volunteering and supporting 7 extra circulars/sports.   I made the kids a priority and wouldn’t change a thing.   I am looking to new horizons in a few months once my kids go to college.  

    The OP was VERY fortunate that her guy came clean with his expectations.   I had a doozy of a slime bucket that wasted years of my time (that i posted about a while back).

    I do not think I would be able to date a guy with kids younger than 16.   I’ve raised my kids and I really don’t want to help to raise or be involved with another’s young kids if it came to a LTR/marriage.  

  17. 17

    @JoAnn #14
    You raise a good point – was there discussion about spending more time together and how it could be accomplished? Or did he spring the dating others idea on her because he wanted to date others – using her once-a-week schedule as an excuse? Chicken/egg – egg/chicken. Hmm.

  18. 18

    I was a single parent with an ex- whose work schedule did not allow for regular visitation.   That situation cost me dearly on the dating circuit while the kids were growing up. And guess what?   Now that they’re grown, they still have a hard time accepting the fact that I date and have other things to do besides attending to their last-minute plans.

    Here’s my point:   even a single mom must account for the day when the kids will be off on their own.   That is, unless you want your daughters to be perpetually single and living up under you for their adulthoods.   Make time for yourself and a fellow (not necessarily the one who left, but some fellow). And be prepared to compromise.

    I’m dating a great guy now, but I feel so awkward having to assert myself with grown children about my right to time for myself.   Don’t put off this tug-of-war.   It will never go away.  

    1. 18.1

      Dee, you brought up a good point. Often, men decline to date women with children because of the way many women use them as an excuse. In short, because she has kids, he is expected to be at her beck and call. If she has a free weekend, he needs to be ready to go. If she is busy, he has to understand. In short, it is not a level playing field. She can make demands, but he cannot. The minute he does, he is a selfish jerk that has no sympathy for how hard it is to be a single mom. Well, sorry but that is not fair. So any men choose not to deal with it. Others will date a single mom but aren’t expecting it to go anywhere long term. He simply wasn’t seeing anybody else, she came along, and he figures why not enjoy some companionship until a better opportunity comes along. A childless opportunity. He may also get lucky and she turn out to be one of the rare women who can actually find time for him…who can love her children and yet make him feel like he has a very very special place in her heart. In other words, he doesn’t feel like he comes second.

      My gut tells me that this guy had one of two possibilities going on. The likely thing is that he met another woman, but wasn’t sure if it was going to go anywhere, so he wanted to be honest with the first woman, still pursue a possible relationship with her, but also get to know this other woman. Most people do that anyway, but this man had the honor and good character to be honest. Now, don’t be so quick to bash people who aren’t honest. As we see, that honesty is almost never rewarded, and almost always severely punished.

      The other possibility was that in a way, he was trying to test her…to say to her, “You aren’t the only show in town.” He wanted to see if she would realize that he needed more, and would see him as important enough to fight for. In other words, he might not have wanted to date other women, he might simply have wanted her to realize that if she wanted a relationship with him, she needed to not take him for granted.

      See, what seems to be forgotten here is that he was a single dad, so he too had to shuffle things around, and yet was able to find more time to devote to a relationship with her…but she wasn’t able to find time to devote more to him. Seems he is ready for a relationship, but she is not. Good luck finding a guy that will be happy with 1 day a week. Oh, and am sure she has a laundry list a mile long as to what she “deserves in a man.” From a man’s perspective, she’s not much of a catch. Kids, friends and family come first to the point that he gets penciled in for one day a week with this Goddess. Yes he should thank the Gods and be grateful for that once a week blessing. The truth is, she is better off alone, or like EMK said, she has to find that single dad who is also so busy that he can’t find time either. He’ll be grateful that he found a woman who doesn’t screw up his schedule. Short of finding a guy like that, she’s not going to find a top shelf guy that sees her as a prime catch. Just not going to happen. If he’s top shelf, women who are a much better catch than her are going to be available to him. It’s as simple as that.

      1. 18.1.1

        Simply awesome response.

  19. 19

    I’m 51 w/no kids and plenty of experience dating and or attempting to have relationships with single moms. Like Evan said all “single moms” aren’t the same because of the variables……ie: ages, how many, is dad around etc…..
      The internet has changed everything for the single mom because they don’t have to leave home to get attention from men. I think a lot of them think they have time for a relationship if “they meet the right guy” but most of us childless men know better because we’ve spent a lot of time dating women we rarely see while their ex husband who sees the kids “every other weekend”(4 days a month) is having a grand ole time dating women left & right. Just because a guy has kids doesn’t mean he’ll enjoy dating a woman with custody of kids that’s for sure. And he has more time and options.
      I never say never but at my age if the word “babysitter” is in a woman’s  vocabulary I pass for the most part. Thank god a lot of women online put the ages of their kids in their profile but occasionally I have to ask (nicely in conversation) Some of them seem down right offended which is funny being that they have no problem seeing my yearly income or asking “what do you do for a living”….lol

  20. 20
    Flower White

    I’m single & no kids and I have to say…I do not wish to date a single fathers, but I will date *grandfathers*!  Because a parent has to put their kids first. Unless they are lousy parents the kids HAVE to come first! My pet peeve is fathers who abandon their kids or never see their kids, men who let their ex wives do all the work?   No can do!

    Thing is, child rearing is the most serious and important job that you can have and if you mess that up, the world suffers. No date is more important than raising your child.

    I try to be flexible…once I almost dated a man with a 4 year old -uh, no!! Then, I had alot in common with one online guy, he was asking me out for a date when he revealed that his adult daughters still lived at home, all THREE of them. Heck NO.

    Different strokes for different folks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *