Why I broke my 20 year man ban

Af­ter swear­ing off men for­ever, Louise Ten­nant, 57, from Coven­try, was faced with a wel­come blast from the past

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Sit­ting in front of the telly, I picked up my ipad and started scrolling through Face­book. Since my kids Ben, 33, and Becky, 27, had left home, the place had felt a lot qui­eter.

So it was nice to feel con­nected to them in some way, even when they weren’t around.

That said, I was more than happy with my own com­pany.

It had been that way for 23 years, since the kids’ dad and I split up.

Ben was nine and Becky was just four at the time.

Heart­bro­ken, I’d sworn my­self off men com­pletely.

And from that mo­ment on, my kids were my one and only pri­or­ity.

Men, love, re­la­tion­ships? They didn’t en­ter my head.

Only, that night in Oc­to­ber 2016, a mes­sage sud­denly ap­peared in my Face­book in­box.

Hi, re­mem­ber me? It’s Dave Evans from Gi­bral­tar. My jaw dropped. ‘Bloom­ing heck!’ I squeaked, my heart pound­ing. Talk about a blast from the past! Of course I re­mem­ber you, I typed back quickly. How could I for­get? Dave Evans was my first love. We’d met in Gi­bral­tar back in March 1981.

I was 20, on my first hol­i­day abroad with friends.

We were cel­e­brat­ing the end of our nurs­ing ex­ams in a bar one night when a tall, hand­some stranger had ap­proached me. ‘Fancy a dance?’ he’d said. I was at­tracted to him straight away – he was so hand­some!

‘Go on then!’ I’d grinned, tak­ing his hand.

Af­ter hit­ting the dance floor, we’d sat down for a chat.

Dave, then 25, had told me he was in the Army and was sta­tioned out in Gi­bral­tar for three months. We’d talked for hours.

And be­fore I knew it, the bar was clos­ing.

For the rest of the hol­i­day, Dave and I had be­come in­sep­a­ra­ble, but all too soon it had been time for me to re­turn home.

Smit­ten, within eight weeks, in May 1981, I was fly­ing back to Gi­bral­tar, this time with­out my friends.

Those next days had been so ro­man­tic, shar­ing bot­tles of wine and kisses in the sun.

Be­fore long, Dave was back in the UK, sta­tioned at a base in Maid­stone, 140 miles away from my home in Coven­try.

I’d hoped our ro­mance would blos­som, but our busy lives meant it had been hard for us to meet up.

In truth, we be­gan drift­ing apart.

So when Dave was sta­tioned abroad again in April 1982, with no ac­cess to a phone, it seemed in­evitable that we’d lose touch.

It was sad, but I was so young – just 21 – and still work­ing out what I wanted to do with my life.

And there was one thing I knew for cer­tain – I didn’t want to be an Army wife.

So I’d moved on, and a few months af­ter Dave had left, I met the fa­ther of my chil­dren.

We’d never mar­ried, but we were to­gether for 10 years be­fore it all went wrong.

And I’d been sin­gle ever since – I con­cen­trated on my kids, vol­un­teer­ing as a foster carer and work­ing as a part time teach­ing as­sis­tant for chil­dren with spe­cial needs.

So Dave’s mes­sage had taken me by sur­prise.

Check­ing out his pro­file

We’d had our fun in the sun

pic­ture, I found my­self smil­ing.

He looked older, of course, but he was still so cute.

Fir­ing mes­sages back and forth, I dis­cov­ered Dave worked on the Isle of Man as a taxi driver.

I’ve been wed and di­vorced twice, he ad­mit­ted.

So I told him about my breakup and the kids.

It was like no time had passed at all.

We swapped phone num­bers and it wasn’t long be­fore we were chat­ting.

Then Dave an­nounced that he was vis­it­ing fam­ily on the main­land the fol­low­ing week.

‘I could pop round and see you,’ he said. I pan­icked. Is he af­ter some nos­tal­gic fling? Be­cause I wasn’t – not with him or any­one else.

But Dave must have sensed my con­cern.

‘I just want to have a cup of cof­fee and catch up,’ he said. ‘Then I’ll find a ho­tel.’ So I agreed. I felt sick with nerves when, a week later, Dave was stand­ing on my doorstep.

He was still hand­some, just a lit­tle greyer around the edges. ‘You look older,’ I blurted. ‘So do you!’ he laughed. Grab­bing a cof­fee, we sat on the sofa to­gether.

‘I got back in touch be­cause I had a dream about you,’ Dave said. I raised an eye­brow. ‘Oh, re­ally?’ I said, won­der­ing where this was go­ing. Dave started to laugh. ‘OK, you were wear­ing your nurse’s uni­form, but it was noth­ing dodgy!’ he winked, flir­ta­tious.

‘And it just made me won­der what had ever hap­pened to you.’

The rest of the day flew by in a whirl of chat and laugh­ter.

I’d for­got­ten just how funny and sweet Dave was.

And damned sexy, too! Not that I told him… Soon it was push­ing 11pm. Too late for Dave to find a ho­tel. ‘You can stay in the spare room,’ I said shyly. Go­ing to bed in the next room, I felt strange. I was half thrilled, half ter­ri­fied. There was no doubt I still fancied Dave. Did he feel it, too? And if do, dare I do any­thing about it? I’d been so hurt in the past… These ques­tions were still whirling the next morn­ing when my daugh­ter Becky came to visit with my two grand­kids. I thought Dave would scarper, but he stayed all day, chat­ting and help­ing out. And that night, over a pub meal and a few drinks, I be­gan to let down my de­fences. Warmed by al­co­hol, we started rem­i­nisc­ing about our time in Gi­bral­tar all those years ago. ‘We had so much fun,’ I laughed as Dave poured me an­other glass of white wine. ‘We did,’ he agreed. For a mo­ment, he fell silent… Then he smiled, his gor­geous green eyes twin­kling.

‘I still fancy you, you know,’ he said shyly. I felt my stom­ach turn to liq­uid. It was now or never. ‘Me too,’ I said, blush­ing slightly. The night took a very flirty turn from then on.

Let’s just say, come clos­ing time, I knew Dave wouldn’t be crash­ing in the spare room.

It’s been 18 months now, and me and Dave are madly in love.

He’s met all my fam­ily, and I’ve met his – even one of his ex-wives! We all get on so well. Dave still lives on the Isle of Man, and has asked me to move over there.

But my whole life is in Coven­try, and I’d miss my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

We spend two or three weeks to­gether, and then a month apart.

It keeps things ex­cit­ing. I’ve re­tired this month, which will give us more time to­gether.

We speak on the phone ev­ery day and we’re al­ways hop­ping on planes for ex­otic get­aways.

But this time it isn’t just a hol­i­day ro­mance. It’s for keeps.

Would I break my ban for him?

Dave had a dream about me

Dave was my first love

Re­united af­ter decades

Madly in love again

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