‘Everyone else knew weeks before we did’: readers who fell in love with their best friend

Two-thirds of couples start out as friends first. These readers were looking for love in all the wrong places – before they realised it was staring them right in the face

‘I saw him in a different light and realised I really fancied him’

He was the first person I met at university, the day we moved into halls, and he tried to kiss me that night but I turned him down. I knew we’d be really good friends though, and I even joked that he would be godfather to my children one day. We stayed friends for a number of years as I careered from boyfriend to boyfriend, none of them suitable. Dave remained eternally single, focused on an army career. We stayed in touch and, not long after he returned from Afghanistan, we met up. He was different: he had grown up and looked hot! I saw him in a different light and realised I really fancied him. I was newly single and determined to remain so, but we went on a night out, snogged lots, and the rest is history. I’m so glad we had seven years of friendship – he’s still my best friend, we always make each other laugh and he’s such a wonderful husband and amazing father to our two children. Laura, insurance underwriter, Yorkshire

Suze and Brigid.
Suze (left) and Brigid. Photograph: Handout undefined

‘People thought we were mad, but I couldn’t ignore what we felt’

We are two female friends who met working together in a school. We were both married to men and sometimes socialised as a foursome, but mainly did stuff just us: gym, bookclub, theatre, cycling. We started spending ever-increasing amounts of time together and I developed a giant crush on her. I was extremely reluctant to act on it, but when we went away together on a book-club trip, we shared a bed. I was head over heels for her by then, but she said: “No, we’re not having an affair.” I went home that day and told my husband I was leaving him. I phoned her the next day and said: “I’ve left him. What are you going to do?” Within the week she had done the same, and we’ve been together ever since. People thought we were mad, but I just couldn’t bear the idea of ignoring what we felt. When you know, you know. The best thing we ever did was take that leap together, 29 years ago. Suze, retired, Cheshire

Charlotte and Tom.
Charlotte and Tom. Photograph: Handout undefined

‘I am so pleased that I married my best friend’

My wife, Charlotte, and I met in September 2005 as freshers at the University of Reading. We had some English modules together and formed an instant friendship, fanned by late-night movies, MSN Messenger chats and doing crosswords in the communal corridors. Unfortunately, we were both seeing other people and neither of us wanted to ruin a great friendship. It took us seven years and several relationships with the wrong people to finally get things together. I proposed in Ireland and we were married in 2017. I am so pleased that I married my best friend. Tom, teacher, Aylesbury

Lowis and Paul.
Lowis and Paul. Photograph: Handout

‘After our first kiss, we knew we wouldn’t go back to being just friends’

I met my husband when he became flatmates with one of my best friends – we were about 20 years old at the time. We instantly got on really well as mates and over the next 10 years I classed him as one of my best friends. Then, out of the blue, he asked me out on a date. I thought he was joking at first and made him wait two days for an answer. I didn’t want to ruin our friendship if things didn’t work out. We had an honest conversation about what we would do to protect our friendship if “going out together” felt too weird and both agreed that staying mates was the most important thing. After our first kiss, we both knew we wouldn’t be going back to being just friends. The secret? Being able to talk about what might feel strange, and confident that if it hadn’t worked out we would have kept our friendship. Lowis, senior lecturer, Yorkshire

Emma and Varujan.
Emma and Varujan. Photograph: Handout undefined

‘I had a dream about my wedding – but the bride was my workmate’

Twenty-six years ago, I got a job as a youth worker at the same time as a woman called Emma. Professionally, we got on well and became good friends. At the time, I was engaged to someone else, which took pressure off – being friends seemed to be the only option, and this created space for agenda-free fun and creativity. But in a dream I had about my impending wedding, the bride entered the church and it was the wrong bride. It was my workmate Emma! I shook that image from my mind but, the closer I got to the wedding, the more strained my relationship with my fiancee became. Eventually, the wedding was called off. Emma and I carried on working together, still as friends, until one day while I was talking seriously about something, she kicked the lever on my chair and I dropped to chin-height at my desk. Looking up, I saw her mischievous smile and realised something else was going on – we were falling in love. A year later we were married. Next month, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. Varujan, producer and director, Bristol

Paul and Jazmine.
Paul and Jazmine. Photograph: Handout undefined

‘Everyone kept asking: “When’s it going to happen with you two?”’

Paul and I met via Twitter in 2017, through a mutual follower. We attempted dating but it just wasn’t the right time for either of us. After several months of no contact, he got back in touch. We caught up on life and agreed we had been fantastic as friends – we got on so well, it felt like a shame to let it go. Over the next year, the friendship strengthened and we spent time going for dinner and coffee, telling each other about the (good/awful) dates we had been on, and giving each other advice. Friends and family kept asking: “When’s it going to happen with you two?’ and we’d just laugh it off. Cut to July 2021, and we own a house – and a cat – together. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Jazmine, social media manager, Essex

Patrick and Inès.
Patrick and Inès. Photograph: Handout undefined

‘Everyone else knew something was up weeks before we did’

I met my girlfriend in 2018 when I was studying abroad and she was an undergrad. Our halls had a cafeteria where we ate nightly and, over the course of the year, I gravitated towards a particular group. I liked spending time with her in particular, and started scheduling study sessions in which we spent much of our time just talking or sharing music. Our friends told us later that they knew something was up weeks before either of us did. We’ve now been together for two and a half years. Patrick, student, London

Rachel and Ben.
Rachel and Ben. Photograph: Handout undefined

‘There are things you can overlook in a friendship that you can’t in a relationship’

My boyfriend and I were friends for more than 10 years before we started dating. We met at school and became really close friends in sixth form. We happened to go to the same university and ended up both working in London, so we were consistently meeting up for regular catchups during the different stages of our lives, but had always just been really good friends. It wasn’t until we were both single in our mid-to-late 20s that we started to think about each other differently. I knew that being friends with someone doesn’t guarantee they’ll treat you well as a partner – there are some things you can overlook in a friendship that you just can’t in a relationship – but my boyfriend has always been a caring, trustworthy person, and us getting together has led to the best relationship of my life. Rachel, SEO specialist, Bedford

Nick and Alice.
Nick and Alice. Photograph: The Nook/Kate Disher Quill

‘We were such good friends that I didn’t want to make a move’

Nick and I first crossed paths in preschool, in the early 90s, but our friendship began in earnest in high school, where we shared the ups and downs of adolescence: drinking too much at parties, gossiping about who was dating who, struggling through the stress of exams and growing up together. When we left school, I started to realise I had feelings for Nick, but we were such good friends that I didn’t want to make a move and risk losing him. Time passed and our friendship deepened. We kissed after a party one night and it didn’t take me long to fall in love. Nick was initially nervous about the risk of losing his best friend, but once that line was crossed, we couldn’t seem to stop crossing it. We got married in February this year and are expecting our first daughter in November. Being friends first has given us so much shared history and the luxury of knowing each other deeply before we fell in love. Getting together with my bestie was the best decision I’ve ever made. Alice, government adviser, Sydney

‘We thought about what might happen if it all went wrong’

I met my husband at university. We were friends and I was in a relationship, but when that ended abruptly after five years, another friend told me there was someone who had been waiting for me to be single for a long time. I joked: “Well, you can tell Tom Cruise, I’m not ready!” I genuinely did not know who she meant, and when I found out I was incredulous, then horrified. I never saw him that way at all. After a night out, I told him I knew how he felt about me, but that I didn’t feel that way about him and he cried. But six months later, we became a couple and a year later, we were married! We both thought about what might happen if it all went wrong, but in truth, it was remarkably easy. We already liked and cared about each other, had shared interests, a fantastic group of friends in common, and we already knew each other’s past – there were no nasty surprises, and no need to pretend to be anything other than ourselves. We will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary this year. People often look a long way for love, but sometimes it is right under your nose. Anonymous, British Columbia

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