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From Friends to Lovers

Two couples share how being friends first has helped to shape the foundation of their romantic relationships.

 By April Zara Chua

Deep, meaningful friendships are a source of happiness, joy and security for most of us. It is no surprise then that many good friendships evolve into romantic relationships.

Read on to find out how these couples who started out as friends ended up together.

The First Impression

Jonathan Quek, 33, and Jade Wang, 33, first met as classmates in Secondary 3.

Jade was quiet and academically competitive, while Jonathan was mischievous and stood out from the crowd. “I would always find opportunities to play pranks on Jade, but there would be minimal or no response from her. No anger, no reporting to the teacher – nothing!”

The pair got to know each other better only after graduation, during a meet-up with friends from school. It was then that Jonathan – who has had feelings for Jade for a while – made his first move. “I subtly hinted my feelings to Jade by holding her hands when we were at the beach. But being the nerd that she was, she completely did not get it.”

Breaking the news

Jonathan and Jade first found it boring and awkward to be in a relationship. They already knew so much about each other and sometimes had nothing to talk about.However, the couple did not give up and looked for ways to fuel the spark in their relationship, such as by going on spontaneous dates.

Jonathan and Jade also took some time to adjust to their new status as a couple. It came as a shock to their friends that the two were dating, as only one of them had known about Jonathan’s feelings for Jade. “No one in our circle of friends saw us as a couple. We were miles apart in terms of character – imagine the ah beng dating the top student!” Jonathan laughingly says.

The couple dated for nine years before tying the knot in 2011.

Something more

For Amrish Nair, 31, Shanthini Sandramohan, 30, was just a familiar face at gatherings, as she is the cousin of one of his best friends. One day, however, the two found out that they were going to the same university.

“We had never really spoken to each other, but my cousin requested that I meet Amrish on our second week in university to help him orientate as he had missed the first week,” recalls Shanthini.

They soon became good friends, hanging out with the same circle of friends to study and occasionally go out. “It was two years into university when I realised that I needed this beautiful soul in my life forever,” shares Amrish.

Amrish worked up the courage to ask Shanthini out on a date – and he had the perfect cover story. “He asked me out on a date on the pretext of thanking me for helping him out with his notes and homework. One date was all it took. I realised he was the one,” Shanthini says.

The couple has been married since 2015, following a six-year courtship.

A solid foundation

For both couples, their friendship years were building blocks to the meaningful relationships that they now share. They agree that those crucial years helped them to develop a deeper understanding of and respect for each other, which made it easier later on to manage expectations.

“We could be ourselves from day one [of the relationship]. No boundaries, no secrets and no thick make-up!” shares Jonathan.

Although Jonathan and Jade have been married for seven years, they are still very involved in each other’s interests. “I am a Liverpool fan and on match days, Jade will ‘pretend’ to be interested in the latest score and ask me who my team is playing against. I actually appreciate that.”

Amrish and Shanthini, who have been together as a couple for nine years now, still make it a point to have a date night once a month. This, they say, helps to keep the spark alive in their relationship.

Putting your heart out there

When asked what they would like to say to anyone who has feelings for their friends, both couples shared the same advice – don’t hold back.

Amrish and Shanthini believe that it is worth putting your heart out there. “Even if it does not work out, [you] deserve to know. And do not forget about the friendship that you both first had.”

Jonathan and Jade, too, think it is worth a shot. “Let the other party know how you feel. Regardless of the outcome, at least you will have no regrets.”