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Dating a longtime friend

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'I had no idea that Sophie's feelings for me had changed,' he recalls.

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That's why trust is key to the transition from friends to lovers.The happiness in one country compared with another can be largely explained by six key factors…[the first]: the proportion of people who say that other people can be trusted…' Ray Pahl, a professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, agrees about the primary importance of trust.I'm not the sort of bloke who takes the lead, so I sat back while she went on various dates with other men.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?'In our world the sheer struggle of two people trying to cope with everyday pressures and have a shot at a decent life is immense.

If they feel they are in it together and can trust each other to be supportive, that is extremely appealing.

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.

Also, as you move into middle age, you start to consider the question, "Do I want to get old with you?