GB,When I receive the email I'm away visiting my sister, but in any case, I can hardly refuse such an intriguing request. I send him an immediate reply:
I wonder if I could have a chat with you sometime soon if you are around. I need some help and thought of you.
Tomorrow evening maybe?
Sure :-). I wonder what’s on your mind, but I guess I’ll find out!Later in the day when I check my email again, I learn a bit more about what's on his mind:
I’m out of London at the moment but coming back late tomorrow afternoon. Shall we go to the pub, or would it be better to meet at my house or yours?
Best wishes, GB
Well to be honest, my wife and I are having relationship troubles. It's a big and thorny topic that isn't best served by e-mail. I wonder if I could come over to your house at 6pm ish if you are back?Needless to say, my friend knows that I'm gay, so I'm not sure why he thinks that I'll have any insight into how to repair straight relationships. None the less, I'm happy enough trying to give advice in connection with gay relationships, so perhaps I'll be of some use.
The following night, after exchanging a couple of emails to agree the time, M turns up to visit me at home.
"Would you like a glass of wine?" I ask him, once I've taken his coat.
"Sounds nice :-)," he says with a smile on his face, although through the smile I can sense some discomfort.
We go into the drawing room carrying a decanter of 1999 Grand Cru red Burgundy and a couple of glasses, and sit down facing each other across the coffee table.
"I'm feeling a bit nervous actually," says M, trying to smile.
"Don't worry," I reply casually, "have a drink of wine, that'll help!"
"Well," says M, taking a big breath, "for the last 18 months or so I've been having an affair, and my wife doesn't like it!"
"I thought you were going to say something like that," I say without reacting.
"Really? How come??"
"I don't think you ever told me, but many years ago a mutual friend of ours told me that your wife had kicked you of the house for while because you'd been sleeping with another woman. Ever since then I've always assumed that you've been sleeping around when the opportunity arose."
"But why would you think that I'd continue to sleep around after that?"
"Simply because that old incident proved to me that you're the type of guy who likes to sleep around :-)," I answer, "and it's a habit! Lots of men do it all the time and you're just one of them, that's all. I presume you know the false paternity statistic? That just measures infidelity that produces a child, so there's clearly much much more going on than that :-)."
As we chat, the details of M's particular situation gradually emerge. It turns out that in his case, the other woman is only slightly younger than his wife, and that she's divorced with a couple of kids. Usually in these situations, I reckon straight men go for much younger women who haven't been married and who don't have any children.
"Actually that's what my wife found most distressing," explains M, "the fact that it wasn't a younger woman. I think I've fallen in love with her GB, but I love my wife too."
"So what are you going to do?"
"I don't know. My ideal solution would be to keep seeing this other woman, perhaps spending 30% of my time with her, and spend the other 70% of my time with my wife and kids. But my wife would never go for that!"
We carry on chatting for more than another hour, without reaching any conclusions, during which time we polish off the whole decanter of Burgundy as well as half a bottle of claret.
"Thanks GB," says M as he's getting ready to leave, "It's been really helpful, possibly the most helpful of all the people that I've spoken to!"
"I don't think we solved anything though," I reply.
"Of course not," says M, "because there's no right answer. But now I feel less like a villain, which seems to have been a theme for me and my wife. It's good talking to someone who is non-judgemental :-)."
"Well let me know how it goes."
"Yes, let's try and catch up before Christmas. Hopefully I will have made some progress."
Even if I don't know much about straight relationships, M's parting comments make me feel that I may have been of some use after all :-).