24/03/2011 10:56 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dating Again:The Semi-Detached Parent:

Something odd happened last week. I got asked out on a date. Obviously, living as I do, in my semi-detached world, there are some boundaries which are just not crossed, and things that are just not discussed. And the issue of dating or 'seeing other people' is one of them.

A mum at the school gate was telling me about a pal of hers who 'had left her husband but still lived with him' (she was oblivious to my almost identical situation) 'Every weekend she would go off with this other man but claim to be visiting relatives,' she whispered, 'She just couldn't bring herself to tell him there was someone else, to rub his nose in it. How can people live like that?'

I feigned interest and wondered how things would pan out when the woman concerned eventually got caught out. As she undoubtedly would. I then rapidly steered the chatter elsewhere. It was all too close to home.

So anyway, I was asked out. A work related conversation with a person I had met once or twice somehow culminated in a rather clumsy, 'Erm, would you like to come out for dinner some time?'

Fortunately the question was put over email, so the instant look of horror and panic that swept across my face was between me and the computer screen. I agonized over my reply.

"Sorry," I finally typed, "Thank you for asking, but I'm not really in a position to do that."

Which all sounded very clumsy, formal and trite, but was at least entirely honest.

"No worries," came the reply.

"If only that were true," I typed in my head.

The trouble is of course, I can't say no forever. I didn't want to go out with this particular person so there was no resentment issue, as in me feeling angry that I was being held back by my ridiculous living arrangements, but I couldn't help but wonder what I would have done if I had wanted to go...

Also on Parentdish, dating again when you're a single parent

How did you approach dating after a break-up?