It was at her boss's wedding that Sophie Holland decided, with stone-cold certainty, that she wanted to be next down the aisle. Simon, one of her closest friends for the previous three years. We'd stayed overnight at his parents' house, and I woke up and thought, "I am going to ask him to marry me."' Until then Sophie, 40, had worked alongside Simon, 44, in a fabric shop in Soho, London.
She'd found this affable, gentle man appealing as a shoulder to cry on when her succession of thrilling but chaotic relationships dissolved.
'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.
We were sitting on the bed in his parents' spare room when he kissed me for the first time.
Women in their thirties, who may be thinking about having children, may suddenly be more inclined to see the appeal of a devoted friend.
And often a crisis highlights the strengths of a person and renders them compatible (which is why some widows marry lifelong comrades because they've provided support in the depths of sadness).
I'd go on dates with other men and find myself thinking about him, and once I joked that we should get together.
I suppose I was testing the water to judge his reaction.