I've always thought of myself as an intelligent, spirited woman, a decent judge of character with a finely-honed bullshit radar.
So imagine my surprise when I found myself shaking hands with the woman I had just been told was the fiancee of my boyfriend - or so I had thought - of three years.
I never set out to have an affair with another woman's fiance. (Cliche number one.) I didn't even know that my 'boyfriend' - I use the term loosely here - had already been spoken for. (Cliche number two.) Over the course of our first date he painted a thumbnail sketch of his life that made no mention of a woman already in it. (Cliche number three.)
But I'm not a complete idiot, and it's hard to spend three years with someone and not pick up on the odd red flag along the way: limited contact during the evenings and weekends we didn't spend together, a preference for out of the way placesâ¦ (Cliches four and five.)
And - the biggest cliche of them all - it's incredibly easy to ignore red flags when you don't want to see them, to keep enjoying the moment and not ask too many questions because you don't want to ruin what is, in all other ways, a very very good thing.
It's not so easy, however, to ignore a face-to-face meeting with the love rival you never knew you had.
Before I ended things - because, DUH - any mental picture of me post this relationship was a picture of me in pieces, bawling over a future lost. No Chardonnay (that's one cliche lost), but nights spent sobbing into a tub of Ben & Jerry's, my waistline expanding in line with my misery.
Turns out, however, that image was a cliche too far. There's no point sobbing over someone who spent three years lying to you, and a future without a proven cheat is no loss at all. In that sense, at least, I can thank him - it's a lot easier to move on from a human cliche than it is a real boyfriend.