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?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.
It seems that physical attraction is often a by-product of a cemented companionship.
'I had no idea that Sophie's feelings for me had changed,' he recalls.
'After a few months of first meeting her I realised I was attracted to her, and as time went by my feelings grew a lot stronger.
Yet not every close friendship will develop into the kind of romance that would give Danielle Steele a run for her money.
'It's the sexual chemistry that ultimately sends you over the edge,' states Christine Northam, a counsellor working for Relate. Each of us has a psychological make-up that has been moulded by life's influences and experiences, and most of the time we're not even aware of it.