Now let’s get this straight before I begin. I am in no way turning into a male Marbella version of Bridget Jones. But as I hurtle towards my 50th I look around at my peers and am struck by the sobering realisation that they are either “happily married” or have been “blessed by the arrival of children”.

So, in order to restore some semblance of normality to February, the mushiest of all months (I’ve never been keen on pink, and the mere sight of a Richard Clayderman CD is enough to make me start retching) let me explain a few facts. And let’s face it, I’m about as well prepared to become a member of the nuclear family as North Korea.

As an aside, did you know that St Valentine was beaten to death by centurions armed with post bags full of sentimental greeting cards? It’s also the feast day of the lesser known Saint Hallmark.

It’s hard enough trying to keep a relationship going in Marbella as it is. Because of the inherent distractions involved in life on the coast – nightclubs, great bars and the annual influx of tourists who come for the three S’s (sun, sand and I’ll let you work the other one out) I’ve come up with the following theory.

Relationships in Marbella use the same time scale as dog years. A one-year relationship in Marbella is equal to a seven-year relationship anywhere else. (If you travel abroad, you’ll find that the same rule applies in Los Angeles, although with a higher proportion of personal trainers, therapists, feng shui consultants and divorce lawyers involved.)

Perish the thought that you actually decide to get married. If you do take the plunge, take my advice and do it somewhere far away from Marbella without telling anybody. Otherwise you’re in danger of becoming “The Wedding of the Year” – you know the type. They feature in the society pages and are held at one of the big hotels. He normally runs a property or Internet company, while she is a hairdresser or beautician.

One of the pageboys/bridesmaids is normally the kid they had two years ago or from a previous marriage. All the blokes have to wear cream suits, and although neither of the happy couple has been to church in decades, a priest/rabbi/druid is flown over from the old country to conduct the service. The first song at the reception is normally something by Ronan Keating, by which point I’m about ready to ransack the bar.

Which brings me to another good reason to hold your wedding as far away from Marbella as possible. If you’ve got friends like mine, they’ll come to your wedding reception, drink the bar dry and make obscene suggestions to the bridesmaids WHETHER INVITED OR NOT. And never, ever, hold your reception by the beach. It’s an easy target for the hardened wedding crasher. All you have to do is take your customary stroll along the shore about an hour into the party, walk past the venue and bingo! You’re in. Nobody will question the fact that you don’t habitually stroll along the paseo in Armani every day.

And of course, following the nuptials, it’s only a matter of time before the K.I.D. factor crops up. You could follow the example of Madonna, Brad and Angela and rest of the Hollywood elite, who seem to spend their time zipping round the third world looking for the latest in ethnic chic to adopt this season.

I quite fancy the idea of adoption, and was trying to  adopt a 17-year-old Brazilian  lap dancer, but for some strange reason the powers that be took a dim view.

Once you’ve married and have kids, you go from being a SCREAMER – a Self-Centred, Rich, Educated, Adventurous Materialist to a SITCOM – Single Income Two Children Oppressive Mortgage, as one of you drops out to spend “quality” time with the infants.

But if you are about to embark down the path of parenthood there are a few fundamental freedoms that you should insist on. They are –

The right not to have to leave the front door looking as if you’re preparing for an attack on the north face of the Eiger. Bottles, bags, books, games and a 4×4 masquerading as a kid’s buggy? The Apollo Space programme landed on the Moon with less kit.

Freedom to drive a two-seater car. My partner can follow at a discreet distance in the people carrier, but I don’t want to spend half and hour trying to restrain the little darlings in their kiddies seats, making sure they’ve got their drinks, reading material and DVD for the journey. First class in Cathay Pacific have it rougher.

Freedom to eat what I want when I want. Just because I have a child, doesn’t mean that I have to give up cocktail hour or fine dining, but I don’t want a kids tearing around my ankles please. Take them to a child friendly restaurant. I’m not child friendly.

The right to walk around my apartment without the danger of treading on something sharp – Lego, Meccano etc – or in something indescribable.

The right to get up at 8.30 rather than have to tear into school in a 4×4 at some ungodly hour. As a fully trained journalist, I don’t start operating until 11am. Some mornings I dispense with real coffee altogether, just chop Nescafe into two lines and snort them. In a perfect world, I’d have a programmable drone car to take the little buggers to school.

I also reserve the right to go to dinner and not talk about kids’ schools and the right to drop everything and go off for a romantic break with my partner – without having to juggle timetables, babysitters, ballet classes, grandparents etc

The right to be able to watch The Godfather on the DVD, or listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the CD. There’s only a certain amount of Barney the bloody Dinosaur or Peppa Pig that a man can take.

Once all have the above have been agreed to in writing, then you should be quite happy to embrace both a long-term relationship and the prospect of parenthood.

Failing that, just get a cat!

And no, I AM  not expecting any post on February 14.