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Mamie and Len started out as friends and hook-up buddies. Amy and Charlie began as friends and co-workers; but they all wound up in the same happy place.
Amy and Charlie became friends and roommates at college even though Charlie had a pretty blond girlfriend.
When Amy graduated, she took a teaching job in the suburbs while Charlie finished his last year of school. He was thinking about following his pretty blond friend to her home in Mississippi, but at the last minute, a position opened at Amy's prestigious school and Charlie jumped at it: "He moved near me, and we began hanging out with the same people.
"Finally in March, on the way home from a party with some friends, he and I looked at each other and I said something like, 'I think we need to do something with this relationship.' We agreed to go on a date, and one week later we were engaged.
"People at work were shocked. When he announced that he was engaged, they were certain it was to one of the friends we hung around with, because there was never anything between the two of us that anyone could see.
"My mother was also shocked. When I told her I was engaged to Charlie, she thought it was an April Fool's joke. She kept protesting, 'But you two are just friends!'
"We've been married 13 years, and the friendship we built has become a solid foundation for our marriage."
Mamie and Len lived in the same apartment building. They became friends and started to hang out together: "I was terribly attracted to him, but he didn't want to get involved with anyone who lived in the same building.
"I figured I'd rather have his friendship than nothing. We shared many bottles of wine and stories."
Mamie had begun dating someone rather seriously, but in her heart she knew he wasn't right. She wanted Len. Still she dated him for two years. During that time, Len didn't date anyone. Meanwhile, they continued to grow closer: "I would tell him things I never told anyone else. He became my best friend.
"Many nights we slept in the same bed without having sex. But every once in a while we did. It wasn't often and I never felt Len was taking advantage of me, and I never felt I was taking advantage of him."
OK, so now we have Mamie and Len, best friends and occasional hook-up buddies. What next?
Mamie gave Len an ultimatum. Either they date for real or they keep it strictly friends, friends without benefits.
"He asked if he could sleep on it. I stayed with him that night, and when we woke up in the morning, he said 'Let's try it.' We've been together ever since.
"It's been very easy. When we got married, I was 38 and he was 36, so we weren't kids. We've had our ups and downs, but mostly up.
"He's still my best friend, but he's also my husband and the man I want to be with for the rest of my life." We'll be married three years, three most wonderful years. I had always been told that you have to be friends before you can be anything else. Now I believe it."
Did friendship turn into more? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to email@example.com. And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."
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