"Hey gorgeous" when he wanted to just be friends?

I was seeing a guy briefly - a month. We hit it off immediately and intensely and talked all day, every day in some fashion. I knew he had met another woman at the same time as me and was seeing her (it was early and not exclusive therefore allowed). Nearer to the end I started saying "hey handsome" when I greeted him and he mirrored with "hey gorgeous" before we'd be affectionate.

Then I went away on a trek for a week and we went no contact because of lacking cell coverage. I came back and he remorsefully told me they had seriously connected with other woman while I was gone and he was choosing her. He lammented meeting us at the same time and begged me to stay friends because he cherished my company. I agreed even if that kinda sucks.

I haven't seen him in person again but our texts (not every day or all day anymore) start with him saying "hey gorgeous" which I don't get since it was an escalation while we dated and I assumed would drop (I dropped the "hey handsome" part)

Is this just an inside thing or like pet name thing? I don't know, it's weird for friends, no? What does it mean?
"Hey gorgeous" when he wanted to just be friends?
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