I had a non-date with a former date tonight. It’s kind of a confusing one. I met BHM* on a popular dating (not hook-up) site. Started chatting on Friday night and got on like a house on fire. On Saturday we were both ditched by the friends we had plans with so decided to take a chance and meet up.

Now, I have to admit that what happened next doesn’t happen very often, but when I crossed the threshold of the pub and went over to introduce myself our eyes met and I felt that lightning bolt hit me firmly in the gut.

He was charming, clever, funny, ambitious and, helpfully, easy on the eyes. As we moved from pub to restaurant to wine bar I felt like I’d known him forever. Conversation flowed easily, he seriously made me laugh and we covered so many topics. And then he mentioned his wife.

Now, unlike the gorgeous Frenchman I embarked on an affair with only to discover, very unceremoniously, that he was “married for 20 years and loved his wife”, I knew BHM was separated. At least in title. Turns out a wife was the least of my concerns.

BHM was newly-separated, still bearing the emotional scars of admitting a marriage isn’t working. But the reason it didn’t work was because he was having an affair with someone else

BHM was newly-separated, still bearing the emotional scars of admitting a marriage isn’t working. But the reason it didn’t work was because he was having an affair with someone else. Now I’m not naive enough to think it’s that simple. I’ve been on all sides of the cheating triangle and there are no winners, only pain-filled losers – but here’s the awkward truth: happy people don’t cheat.

The affair ended months before BHM’s wife left, but between being dumped by his mistress and then by his wife, his father died suddenly. It was so clear that he was overwhelmed with heartbreak and grief, that I suggested we stay in touch but I made it clear, to both of us, that we should only be friends.

So BHM and I had dinner tonight and it was… nice. We sat as friends, talked work and writing and dating (he’s stopped and has since removed himself from the site we met on) and throughout the meal I found myself thinking that maybe I didn’t really fancy him and I was glad that I’d, for once, kept my emotions in check and not pursued him.

Then we went for another drink…

*Big Hot Mess – a nickname bestowed by my GBFF**

**Gay Best Friend Forever

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