"I need to tell you all about my new man," a friend announced the other day over coffee.
Oh, not again, I thought. This girl whom I see about once a year, has always got some amazing new guy who she wants to rave about.
I began wishing that we had met up for a few stiff vodkas instead of the coffee. She produced a photo on her phone. I peered at it and nodded with a polite smile. He was no Brad Pitt, but he had a full head of hair and a nice set of teeth.
I half-listened as she gushed about his amazing job and his amazing car and amazing everything. It was only when she got to the "amazing kids" part that my ears pricked up. What? He was married?
"They're kind of separated," she said defiantly.
"They're pretending they're still together for the kids."
That old chestnut.
"If you met, you would see how nice he is."
I said I didn't want to meet him, and I meant it. But in a way I felt sorry for my friend. She has always had the worst luck in men.
The last chap she dated was someone she met on the internet who sounded delightful. They went out for a romantic meal. He paid but then sent her an email the following day with an invoice attached for half the food. She sent him a cheque and then deleted his number.
The fellow before him took her out dancing one night and left the club with another woman. He drove the other woman home with my friend's house keys, coat, and mobile phone in the back seat. She had to walk home to her mother's house in her stilettos and short sparkly dress.
It's safe to say my friend's love life has never been a great success.
If you're ever missing the excitement of being single all you have to do is meet her for a chat and you will be grateful for your own settled life.
But why take another woman's man? Aren't there enough available men to go around? Who wants to be a cuckoo? Sometimes at creative-writing workshops, budding writers ask me if my heroines have affairs? The truth is that they don't. Not knowingly anyway. Why? Well, a heroine must be likeable. She must be the type of woman you can identify with.
Few women will identify with a fictional character who would have no problem taking their own husband. It's the same in real life. Mistresses have few friends. It is not comfortable hanging out with a couple who are having an affair.
"Look at my neck!" my friend said, suddenly beaming. I could feel myself recoil in horror. Who wants to see a hickey on a 38-year-old woman? But it wasn't a hickey. It was a chain with a love heart on it. Very cute. For a teenager, maybe.
"He might leave her one day," she said wistfully.
"He might" I agreed. 'But just remember that a man who leaves his wife for you, will one day, have no problem leaving you for somebody else."
Marisa is the author of Along Came A Stork