We were friends before you started dating

As we live in a time when many relationships seem doomed to end in a dosi-do of partner swapping, few of us hold out much hope of ever celebrating a golden wedding anniversary.That's why trust is key to the transition from friends to lovers.Their judgement tends to be more reliable.' Sophie and Simon have now been married seven years and have just had their first child, Maggie Mae. 'I truly believe that because we were friends first our relationship has always functioned on a much deeper level, which is actually quite rare among couples.It's difficult for me to define why it switched focus that day of the wedding, but, looking back, I think Simon was starting to get under my skin.The reality is that when friends become lovers the shift in their emotions is usually gradual.In fact, it's so subtle they don't even notice it's happening until the moment a kindly hug becomes loaded with intention.

Secretly I hoped there might be a future for us, so when she proposed I couldn't have been happier – or more gobsmacked.' In her book, Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me, Lucia van der Post writes: 'All I know is that love comes out of the blue, sometimes when you least expect it, and that the key is not necessarily to go looking for it but to keep your heart and mind open to a wider horizon.' Yet, where friendship is concerned, the trigger that instigates a full swing into commitment is complex. Perhaps Sophie had tired of flitting through relationships and wanted someone more dependable?

Deep down I knew he already liked me when I made my move.

We were sitting on the bed in his parents' spare room when he kissed me for the first time.

Subconsciously you're deciding whether you can take it further, from a friendship on to a more emotional and sexual level.' Of course, the overlap in what we want from both friends and partners is significant.

In a poll conducted for the women's website 83 per cent of female participants believed that a purely platonic friendship could exist between men and women.

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