Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Online dating

All of a sudden, having split up with ex-boyfriend T, there seem to be quite a few things going on in my life. The result is that there are several posts in my mind that are waiting to be written, as well as a couple of "Dear GB" posts waiting in my right-hand side-bar. Apologies to the two guys who are waiting for the "Dear GB" posts. In my current state of mind, I find it hard to summon up the focus that I need to do a good job for them, but I promise to get round to it at some point in the not too distant future.

Anyway, this morning I've decided to ignore completely the list of pending posts in my mind and mention something that I spotted while reading the news just now. I'm a big fan of The Economist Magazine, and this morning I spotted this article about online dating. It's written from an entirely straight point of view, but it's interesting nonetheless. And it mentions one app that works for all sexualities, namely:

"Bang with Friends (BWF) [which] allows users to specify which of their Facebook friends they would like to bed. If both parties feel the same way, BWF notifies them. If not, no one is any the wiser."

In fact, that app presumably allows *straight* guys to suggest hook-ups with their male friends (*straight* or gay), as well as allowing gay guys to register interest in their *straight* mates :-). What will they think of next, LOL!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ex-boyfriend T

In the end, it happened over the course of a few days, without any real fuss. Since boyfriend T is currently working on a project overseas, we speak on Skype the day that I get back from my holiday. He wants me to do most of the talking.

"I just don't see any future for us :-(," I say with an emotional voice and with tears in my eyes, "or have I missed something?"

"But perhaps I should visit you for a night, or perhaps you should come back to the UK for a night, so we can talk face to face?" I suggest, "Before we make this decision that's going to have such a big effect on both our lives".

"OK," replies boyfriend T after a few seconds, but it really sounds as though he doesn't care.

"I've got an idea," I say, "just in case we can find some kind of reconciliation, I think we should leave it a week before formally breaking up, but after that I think we may as well start telling people."

And so the call ends.

He says that he doesn't read this blog, but he knows that as a result of the blog I sometimes give relationship advice to other guys. I worry in case he thinks that I'll be able to solve all our problems, so three days later I send him the following email:

FYI: I feel terrible that I have been able to help some of the guys who've emailed my blog for advice, but that I haven't been able to do anything to sort out our own problems. Perhaps the reason that I was sometimes able to help other guys was that they were actively seeking advice when they emailed me, and consequently that they had an open mind to suggestions. In any case, I don't blame you for wanting to live permanently in the closet, so I hope that we can still be friends. Divorce lawyers would probably call the reason for our split Irreconcilable differences. For me, the best way of making this official is posting something on facebook. Would you be OK with me posting the following within the next few days, visible to my friends only?

Just before bedtime, I spot him on Skype, so I decide to call him.

"Did you see the email I sent," I ask, "about posting the fact that we've split up on facebook? It's based on one of the 'life events' that they make available for people's timeline."

"Can you just do a standard little post, instead?" asks boyfriend T, quietly, "for me there's too much drama associated with that big box."

"Um, OK," I answer, "And actually, I don't see any point waiting. I'll draft it now and post it shortly, this evening, unless you've got a better suggestion?"

Boyfriend T doesn't say anything.

"Thanks for all the good times over the last four years," I say, starting to cry.

"Thanks for the nice memories," he replies.

"OK, I may as well hang up now and do this."

He doesn't raise any objection, so I hang up. But a minute later, I'm just about to post the news on my facebook timeline when he calls me back on Skype.

"A few days ago," he starts, "didn't you say that it would be good to meet face to face before we break up?"

"But do you really think there's any point?" I ask, "We're both clever guys, and we've both been wrestling with everything for years now. What else can we do?"

For me, the moment that I hung up on Skype, it was all over. Everything had already been said, so many times. There were no more discussions to have. All the arguments were over.

"I don't know," replies ex-boyfriend T.

"I just thought …" but he doesn't finish his sentence.

"OK," I say in a calm voice, "I'll post the news on facebook now and get it over with. Let me know when you're going to come back to the UK so we can sort out all the practicalities."

As soon as it's posted, and for the next couple of days, I get loads of messages from friends and family offering support. But all I can do is cry for ex-boyfriend T, worry about whether he's going to be OK. The only people who know that he's gay are my friends and my family. Whatever effect our break-up is having on ex-boyfriend T, he's having to go through it all on his own.

Epilogue 20-Oct-2013: Looking back at this post, I think it's an accurate description of how myself and ex-boyfriend T finally ended our relationship. However, my main memory now is how much I cried as I was writing it. I guess that's one of the benefits of blogging. Without doubt, going through all the emotions that writing this post brought out was the start of my healing process.

Friday, July 26, 2013


(NB: anyone new to my blog should read this recent post to acquaint themselves with the some of the important people in my life).

The holiday with my Thai friend B is now over, and we've had a great time together :-). In spite of my friend Close Encounter's scepticism, I was indeed able to manage two platonic weeks with B while sleeping in the same room as him. However, I freely admit that my coping strategy for this involved a few crafty hand-shandy's, for example when B was asleep and snoring loudly in the adjacent bed! Two weeks on holiday in a completely different environment has given me time to think about my situation with boyfriend T.

One important thing that I've realised is that just because I'm in love with a guy, it doesn't mean that we're compatible to be each other's boyfriends, even if the other guy loves me too. With boyfriend number 1 back in 2008, although we both loved each other, the fact that I deceived him by pretending to be in a monogamous relationship with him when I was indulging in various activities with other guys meant that he lost his trust in me. Eventually, I realised that it was impossible for him to regain that trust as long as the old relationship continued. Communication became impossible, so the relationship had to end. However, now that we're close friends instead, I think that he does trust me again.

Deceiving boyfriend number 1 was a terrible mistake, and I've definitely avoided that mistake with boyfriend T because I've never lied to him. But I'm now sure that the kind of relationship that boyfriend T wants with me is fundamentally different to the kind of relationship that I want with him. For me, a solid domestic partnership is the most important thing in my life. For boyfriend T, the most important thing in his life is hiding his homosexuality. Most gay guys (including me) start by hiding their sexuality, but gradually become relaxed about it and eventually feel able to come out to some (or more) of the important people in their lives. I expected that the same would be true of boyfriend T, but if anything, at present he seems even more wedded to his closeted lifestyle, even though it's been more than twelve years since he's acknowledged to himself that he's gay. I find myself crying when I wonder what it would be like to be an old man walking down the street, seeing my life partner on the other side of the road with some of his old friends, and knowing that he'll pretend that he doesn’t know me if I approach him.

The result of all this is that at present, boyfriend T and myself are continually at war with each other in emails, conversations, text messages etc. Effective communication may have already become impossible, just like it did when my relationship with boyfriend number 1 broke down. I'm now feeling intense anguish about this situation, and find myself reminding myself about The philosophy of Butters Stotch all the time.

This isn't the only problem in my relationship with boyfriend T, but it is the most fundamental. Some of our other problems might have solutions if we could find a solution to this. However, there's been no progress in the four years that we've been boyfriends, so it would be extremely foolish of me to expect any progress in the next four years or even forty years. I think it's true that one shouldn't go into a relationship with anyone on the basis that you're going to make some change(s) to them so that they'll then be perfect. My experience with the coming out process made me think that the change I hoped for would happen naturally, but with boyfriend T, I no longer think that's true. I also thought that if I showed boyfriend T enough love, then I could end up being the most important thing in his life, just like he has become to me. But that hasn't happened.

On the other hand, there are wonderful guys in the world like my Thai friend B. I haven't disclosed this before, but before I met boyfriend T, myself and B did have some very enjoyable activities together :-). B doesn't have a boyfriend, and I don't know what my chances would be to make B my boyfriend, but I'd rather spend the rest of my life looking for someone than end up with a life partner who would deny my existence in some situations.

At present, boyfriend T is working on a project outside the UK, so I can't talk to him face to face. Soon, I'm going to try and have a serious Skype conversation with him. The next time that I blog about him, I may unfortunately have to refer to him as ex-boyfriend T :-((.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Hot House

Hot house logoIt's near the end of my holiday with my Thai friend B. We've been rafting on the Zambezi river, we've been on safari in Botswana, and we're now in Cape Town for a few days to relax before flying back to the UK. Throughout the trip so far, I've managed to keep my promise to boyfriend T and be faithful to him. In connection with that, my Thai friend B has been so modest getting changed and having showers behind closed doors that I haven't even seen his naked buttocks!

"Are there any gay bars in Cape Town?" asks B, "Being on safari was great :-), but those safari camps were very straight so it would be good to mix with a few gay guys now."

"Yes I'm sure there are," I reply.

I dig out my laptop and use Google to do a bit of research.

"There's about half a dozen gay bars," I say after a few minutes, "and there's even a gay sauna called The Hot House!"

B looks at the relevant web sites and then looks at me with a cheeky grin on his face.

"Can we go to the Hot House, GB?"

I hesitate briefly. Going to the Hot House would be interesting, but given my promise to boyfriend T, I wouldn't be able to indulge in any activities myself. It also raises the uncomfortable prospect of seeing B getting intimate with another guy. I've always really liked B, and if things had happened a bit differently back in 2009 when I was boyfriend hunting, we might have ended up together. Seeing B get off with another guy will make me think "I wish that other guy was me"! Nonetheless, it’s a reasonable suggestion, and it also raises the possibility of me seeing B naked for the first time on this trip :-).

Within an hour, we've paid our 120 rand admission fee, and we're getting changed together in the locker room at The Hot House. We walk into the main bar area together, and immediately I spot a white guy who must be in his early 30's sitting by a computer, which is next to a sign which says "Limit 20 minutes". These must be the computers that are available to the sauna goers like us, for internet surfing or watching porn. Looking down at the towel round the guy's waist, I see that it's been loosened and he's sitting there with an enormous hard-on! He gives me a piercing glance, as though registering the fact that fresh meat has just walked through the door. Elsewhere in the bar area is a healthy mix of black and white guys of varying sizes and ages, although it does seem a bit empty.

There's a big notice on the wall saying:
Please shower before using the facilities
so we both head to find the showers. As I expected, given the kind of venue this is, the showers are open plan. While showering, I can't help myself peeking at B's naked body which looks absolutely gorgeous!

"I fancy the steam room," says B once we've put out towels back around our waists, "do you want to come with me?"

I sit in the steam room with B for a few minutes, but then I realise that to be a good friend, I should leave him to cruise on his own. I'm also curious to find out what other facilities there are here, so I get up and leave the steam room and go for a walk. There's a sauna, a couple of jacuzzis, a few dark areas, the usual maze of private cubicles equipped with those plastic-easy-wipe-clean mattresses, and a couple of TV's showing gay porn scattered among the maze of private cubicles.

When I return to the steam room it seems to be empty, but then an average looking chubby middle-aged white guy suddenly appears from behind a partition inside the steam room, followed by my Thai friend B looking a bit sheepish.

"Shall we go and find the sauna?" asks B, slightly nervously, once the white guy has left the room.

"That was quick!" I say indicating in the direction of the door where the white guy had just left.

"No, I didn't want him," replies B in a matter-of-fact voice, "I'm in Africa so I'm after an attractive Black guy, not a pasty old white guy!"

Inside the sauna B doesn't stay long. No doubt he wants to cruise on his own, as well as having a look at the other facilities, so he makes his excuses and leaves.

Within a few minutes, the sauna door opens again, and the white guy who had a hard-on at the computer walks in. He sits down quite close to me, and looks me up and down. About a minute later, he gently moves his right hand towards me, touching me lightly on my left knee. He's a perfectly reasonable looking guy, but I'm not here for activities, so I gently move his hand away. He looks at me with his piercing eyes again, as though he can't believe that I just did that, and then storms out of the sauna.

About fifteen minutes later, I'm sitting on a sofa in the main bar area, when the same white guy comes up and sits down next to me.

"Hi, I'm Henrik," he says, smiling at me.

"Hi Henrik, I'm GB," I reply, smiling back. I still don't want him to touch me, but it doesn't hurt to be sociable :-).

"Where are you from?"

"I'm from London, you?"

"I'm from Cape Town," replies Henrik, edging slightly closer to me.

"I'm only here because my friend wanted me to come along with him," I explain.

"Oh, are you straight?" he asks.

"Absolutely not! In fact I've got a boyfriend back in Europe who couldn't come on this trip. I hope you don’t mind that I'm not looking for anything."

But almost before I've finished explaining my behaviour, Henrik touches me gently again, this time on my chest where he almost imperceptibly rubs my right nipple with his left hand. Again I move his hand away, smiling again.

"You've got nice legs," says Henrik, completely unperturbed by what's just happened.

"Thanks you," I reply, "I go running :-)."

"Do you think I've got nice legs?"

He raises his right leg up so that I can get a better look.

"Yes, of course," I lie. His legs are OK, but nothing special!

We chat for another minute or two, but eventually he realises that he's not going to get anywhere with me and walks away. 10 marks out of 10 for perseverance! Even though I didn't end up having any fun with this guy, that fact that Henrik approached me boosts my confidence a bit :-).

Shortly afterwards, my Thai friend B comes to join me on the sofa, sitting down where Henrik had been sitting. I tell him what's just happened.

"But where have YOU been?" I ask him when I've finished my story, "have you found anyone yet to, errr, play with??"

"No, it seems very quiet in here!" replies my Thai friend B, sounding disappointed. But I'm not sure that I believe him. He looks somehow different, more relaxed, dare I say satisfied?

"Have you seen anyone in here that you like?" asks B, as I continue trying to analyse his towel and his appearance for the truth.

Now, there's a difficult question. The real answer is "Yes, the guy that I came here with", but it doesn't seem like the right moment to say that kind of thing. I pause, trying to work out what to say. If my relationship with boyfriend T comes to an end then I'd love to try dating B, but there's a danger that we're getting too far down the path of being friends. Moving from being 'friends' to being 'boyfriends' can be very tricky. I'd like to find a way of raising that idea now as a some kind of future possibility, because that should make it potentially more feasible in case I do find myself single again. But then again, I don't want to make B feel uncomfortable for the rest of the holiday. I also need to protect myself from rejection, in case it turns out that B doesn't like the idea of me being anything more than his holiday companion.

"No," I say, answering a question with a lie for the second time in ten minutes, "as you say, it's a bit quiet in here."

But gradually, perhaps because of B's relaxed and satisfied(?) frame of mind, we start talking about our past relationships. Although B has dated lots of guys, he's never had a proper boyfriend that he's lived in the same house with. Fifteen minutes later and we're still talking about dating and boyfriends when suddenly the right opportunity presents itself for me to tell B that I like him.

"You know," I say putting my hand on his shoulder and looking him straight in the eye, "sometimes I wish you were my boyfriend :-)".

That seems perfect. Even if he doesn't like the idea of me as anything more than his holiday companion, expressing my feelings as a (perhaps impossible) wish shouldn't make him feel too uneasy.

"But I'm happy as a single guy," answers B, "All these problems that you're having with boyfriend T, relationships just aren't worth the hassle!"

But now I know that it's B who's lying. In different situations, he's often expressed his regret to me that he still doesn't have a boyfriend. But it's a perfectly understandable lie. He may be saying that because he wants to let me down gently. But it's also possible that he's simply protecting himself, after all, as long as I have boyfriend T then even if he does like me I'm not available to be his boyfriend.

We chat a bit more but soon we start feeling hungry, so we head off to have a shower before leaving to find a restaurant. Again I get a chance to peek at B's naked body.

"Nice arse :-)," I say cheekily.

"But I'm sure boyfriend T's arse is nicer," replies B.

Of course, the truth is that they both have nice arses!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Honey Badger

On holiday in Africa, I'm getting on very well with my Thai friend B. After Victoria Falls, where we went white water rafting on the Zambezi, we head to Botswana for a week on safari.

Both safari camps that we stay at had one unexpected feature. No mobile phone or internet connectivity at all! I was in deep shock for the first couple of days, but I gradually got used to it. I'm also sure that being completely off the grid for a week did both me and my Thai friend B a lot of good, in terms of allowing us to relax and unwind. And watching wild animals on safari is always amazing :-).

"LOOK!" says our guide, while we're driving back to our tented camp in our jeep one evening, "Two honey badgers :-)!!"

Unfortunately it's dusk, and there's not enough light to take a photo. But there are two animals that do indeed look like badgers, scurrying along by the roadside.

"Hang on a minute," says the guide, and he veers the jeep off road to drive alongside the two cute little animals.

Almost all the animals that I've ever seen on safari have either ignored the jeep (that's what the big cats like lions and leopards do), or run away from it (that's what the vegetarians like giraffes and zebras do). But all of a sudden, the little honey badgers stop and turn towards the jeep, and growl viciously. The guide laughs, as though he expected that behaviour, but I'm mildly taken aback. The honey badgers are so small compared to the jeep. A big cat could in theory jump on the jeep and do some serious damage to us, but what on earth could a honey badger do?

A few days later at the next safari camp, during the evening meal, the topic of which jungle animal we'd all like to be comes up.

"One of the big cats, I guess," I say without much thought, "perhaps a leopard. Lions are impressive, but leopards are much more elegant!"

"I'd like to be a honey badger :-)!" says our guide with an enormous grin on his face.

"Really," I say surprised, "we saw a couple of honey badgers at our last camp, and they turned out to be vicious little creatures. What's so special about them?"

"When you get home, look up 'nasty honey badger' on youtube," laughs our guide, knowingly. "Then you'll know why I'd choose to be one of them!"

And indeed, when I get back to London I find the following youtube video. The narration is hilarious, and quite camp too so my guess is that narrator is gay. In any case, having seen the video, I completely understand why someone might want to be a honey badger!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rafting on the Zambezi

The only pic of me that I've ever posted on this blog was the pic of me rafting in Chile with ex-boyfriend P back in 2008. The holiday pics that I posted earlier this month were taken at the Victoria Falls in between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and while there, we went rafting on the lower Zambezi river. So it seems time to post another pic of me, see below. The guide is at the back of the raft, with me, my Thai friend B, and four other tourists in front of him. I'm the middle tourist on the guide's right hand side. Needless to say, in terms of posting pics on this blog, I'm still a bit camera shy!Rafting on the ZambeziIf there are any readers who haven't tried white water rafting, I'd thoroughly recommend it. The guide that I had on this occasion was undoubtedly the best guide that I'd ever had for rafting, so if anyone goes rafting at the Victoria Falls, try and go rafting with the guide who calls himself "potato" from Bundu Adventures. One of the staff at the hotel where we were staying described it as "The most fun you can have with your clothes on!" and I think that's an accurate description :-).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Email about being gay in the City

Around the time that I went on holiday with my Thai friend B, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB

Hope you are having great holidays!

I've following your blog for a couple of years now and it's been great to find out more about (your) gay life, both personally and professionally.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on a few things that I find worrisome at the moment. Just to give you some colour - I'm an international student, studying in the UK, and I've moved to London three years ago. I'm decently successful university and job wise, however, I need some advice in regards to 1) my career; 2) sexual life (read: bi/gay, not out to anyone, probably not even myself!); and 3) a link between the two.

First, at the moment I'm experimenting with a couple of guys, only having fun. I don't plan to tell anyone about my sexuality, at least not for now as I'm not sure what I really want. I guess I can give myself some time, and I don't find it particularly problematic. I believe the best thing is to see whether I'll fall in love with someone as I had a couple of straight sex relationships but never actually felt deeper connection with any of my partners. Do you think that's a good strategy?

Second and more important for me, I'm not really sure which career to choose - banking or law. I'm a bit confused as I don't know which one to choose. What is most important and where I feel your contribution to my decision making process can be the largest is - how does it feel to be gay in the City? Would you expect any differences in these two careers? How many of your colleagues are openly gay? I heard people making fun - talking pejoratively about gays in both industries? Have you ever had a feeling that your career progression is related to your sexuality? Do you think there a lot of closet gays in your bank? (I read some previous posts on your blog, but I'd appreciate if you can expand more on it than you previously did with the sauna anecdote). Some general observations on both careers will be great.

Finally, two quickies - if you meet someone at gaydar, is it conventional to meet up with the same person again? I find it more convenient (saves time) but people seem to be very reluctant after a second meeting. Just curious... The last one - is there maybe any way of meeting City professionals, who are not out? Just to make it clear - I'm not looking for any financial benefit (e.g. Oxbridge graduate with good job prospects), but I'd just like to meet some gay people, who have similar interests like me, but obviously I don't want everyone to find out. (Exaggerating a bit, no one probably cares about me, but I want to keep it down for the moment).

Many thanks in advance, Grateful reader

Firstly, I think this reader's gay personal life strategy is absolutely fine :-). Secondly, I usually avoid giving general career advice, however some of the reader's career questions relate to being gay in the City so I'm happy to say something about that.

Regarding being gay in the City, as long as someone is reasonably confident in their ability to do a good job at whatever firm they work for, then I don't think they should worry about it at all. I never felt that my career was hampered in any way when people found out that I was gay. I even came out to my boss in 1992, which was a long time before there were any legal employment protections, and my career at that bank had no problems.

The fact is that in all walks of life, people are always making jokes about other people's perceived weaknesses or shortcomings. In that sense, life is just like being in the school playground, where kids poke fun at each other for being too fat or too short or too anything! On my recent holiday, I was told that Dutch people sometimes tell jokes about Flemish people being stupid, and in turn Flemish people sometimes tell jokes about Dutch people being arrogant. Being gay is just another characteristic that it's possible to tell jokes about. This aspect of everyday life is probably a bit harsher in the City than elsewhere. However, if someone does make a joke about someone's characteristics, my advice would be for them to take it as a compliment that they've been noticed :-). In the recent past, Stonewall ran an advert on the side of London buses which said "Some people are gay. Get over it!". I feel that the City got over it many years ago.

Regarding online cruising, I've often hooked-up with the same guy after an initial meeting that went well. If a guy is reluctant for a subsequent meeting, then it suggests to me that either
  1. he's a very very cruisy guy and simply wants to *do* everyone he finds faintly attractive once only, or
  2. He didn't find the first meeting with you sufficiently enjoyable to warrant a second helping.
If this is happening a lot, then unfortunately my guess is that it's the second reason, so perhaps you're a bit selfish in the bedroom? My advice would be that in future whenever you meet a guy for activities, then you should try and make sure that he has at least as much fun as you do! If you do that, then even if he's a very very cruisy guy then he may want to meet you again :-).

In terms of meeting gay city professionals, there's still the monthly drinks for gay people working in banking, see the interbank LGBT forum website. I'm sure that many of the guys who go along to that aren't out to everyone that they know, so I think that's your best bet when you're ready for it.

Do any other readers have any thoughts for this reader?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

On holiday with my Thai friend B

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post about the current state of my relationship with boyfriend T. In that post, I mentioned that I would soon be going on holiday with my Thai friend B. That holiday is now happening :-). When I used to blog more frequently, I often used to post a couple of holiday photos to see whether readers could guess where I was (see some of the posts with the 'holiday' label). So do any readers want to hazard a guess as to where we are at the moment, based on the two photographs below?

Update 23-Jul-2013: Click here to find out where these photos were taken!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Dinner with a wonderful guy who I met in 2007

A few weeks ago, I bumped into K in the street. I’d be absolutely amazed if any readers remember K, because he’s a guy that I occasionally visited for activities back in 2007 :-). I hadn’t seen him since 2008, and with the passage of time dimming my memory, I almost didn’t recognise him.

“Hi, it’s K isn’t it?” I say, taking him by surprise.

He hadn’t really noticed me, and probably thought that I was a complete stranger before I started talking to him!

“I used to, um, visit you in your home a few years go :-),” I say, trying to help him remember me. “Do you still have a boyfriend?”

“Ahhh, you’re the banker aren’t you :-)?” he replies, finally recognising me. “Actually I split up with my boyfriend a couple of years ago now :-|. How about you?”

“Well, I finally split up from my long term boyfriend in 2008, but we're still friends, and since summer 2009 I've had a new boyfriend :-)."

We chat for a couple of minutes before I make a suggestion.

"Hey, let's go out for dinner one evening and catch up properly :-), what do you think?"

It turns out that he changed his phone since I last saw him, so we exchange phone numbers and agree to contact each other in the near future. A few days later, I send him a txt msg. I'm mildly concerned in case K thinks that I'm asking him out on a proper date, so I include wording to try and make the situation clear:
Hi K, good to bump into you recently :-). Shall we catch up over lunch or dinner at some point, if you've got time, and depending on your work schedule? This would just be lunch or dinner (and note a 'date' LOL) because I've still got a boyfriend. But it would be really good to see you again :-), so do let me know if you can find the time? GB x
Within a few hours, I have his reply
That sounds alright to me!
We exchange a few more txt msgs over the coming days, and eventually we agree a date. The day arrives, and although I get there first, no sooner have I installed myself at the bar than I spot K walking over to join me.

"You're very punctual :-)," I say to him, before giving him a kiss on both cheeks, "you obviously managed to find this place without too many problems!"

"Actually," replies K, "I've often walked past this place, but I never really looked inside. But now that I'm here, it does seem quite nice :-)."

"In this part of town, this is my favourite restaurant," I answer, "because it's got such a reasonable wine list! It's hard to find restaurants where you can get decent clarets and burgundies that are ten years old or more, and even harder to find restaurants that sell a few wines like that for £100 a bottle or less:-)."

We have a cocktail at the bar, before heading to our table to eat.

"So what happened between you and your boyfriend?" I ask, once we've ordered our food.

"Well, we lasted for almost four years, but if I even looked at another man he was so jealous. He used to go through my mobile phone records, and sometimes he would call the numbers that he didn't recognise, to make sure that I wasn't cheating on him."

"WHAT?" I reply, astounded, "No one should have to put up with a boyfriend doing that kind of thing."

"And towards the end," continues K, "I'm pretty sure that it was him who was cheating on me :-(."

"Awww, I'm so sorry to hear that."

"If I remember correctly," I say, "your previous boyfriend used to sleep around a lot too, didn't he?"

"Well kind of," answers K, "my previous boyfriend already had a long term boyfriend. I think he loved me too, but we had to keep everything hidden from his main partner."

"But you're SUCH a nice, loving guy," I suddenly say to K, unable to hold in my indignation anymore, "that you really do deserve a proper boyfriend! You shouldn't have to live in the shadows as someone's second boyfriend, and you definitely shouldn't have to deal with your boyfriend phoning up random numbers on your mobile phone to check that you're not cheating on him, that's OUTRAGEOUS!!"

"Wow," says K quietly, smiling at me, but a bit taken aback by my outburst, "thanks GB :-)."

Gradually we start talking about other things. I tell him a lot about boyfriend T and my current concerns, and he tells me more about his background. I find it very easy to chat to K so we spend a lovely evening at the restaurant together, but eventually it's time to go home.

"It's been really really good to see you again," I say to K once we're outside the restaurant, giving him a quick peck on his lips, "so let's not lose touch again!"

"Very good to see you too, GB," replies K, "so yes, let's meet up again before too long :-)."

If I do ever need to look for another boyfriend, then out of the guys that I already know, I'd definitely put K on a target list of potential new boyfriends. But the more that I think about possible future relationships with K or my Thai friend B, the more I realise how much I love boyfriend T. Although I'm not optimistic at the moment that my relationship with boyfriend T will last, I sincerely hope it does, and that we can spend the rest of our lives growing old together.