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When Dec met Ali (or why the best loves are often slow burners…)

We’re delighted that I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here TV presenter Declan Donnelly is engaged to his girlfriend and talent manager of over a decade, Ali Astall. 

The news that the pair were best friends for nearly ten years before they became a couple eighteen months ago, has us thinking about all the different types of love that exist, and how there really isn’t such a thing as one path to successful love and marriage.

In a world where celebrities often go from first date to wedlock (and often splitsville) at breakneck speed, we think Dec’s story is a great example of how love, as portrayed in the film When Harry Met Sally, can often be a slow burner.

That’s not to say that finding the right one and quickly moving to the next level is the wrong thing; here at Spark Of Love we just think that every route to love should be celebrated, and for those embarking on a journey of trying to find someone to share life with, an open mind about how love may evolve, will stand anyone in good stead.

Here in the office we’ve been thinking about other couples who took the long route to marriage as well as those who, like Dec and Ali, stood by one another as friends for many years before they decided to take the relationship further.

Kimberley Walsh and her partner of over ten years Justin Scott announced their engagement in early November, just two months after the birth of their first baby, a little boy called Bobby.

Although Kimberley and Scott dated from their very first meet, they took time to establish their relationship was right before rushing into anything.

Speaking to a magazine, Kimberley said: “I knew there was something special from the beginning. But I’ve always been the type to question knowing when someone’s The One, as I’ve been in love before and you can fall out of love.

“But when the years go by and you’re still in love, you start to think that it’s going to stand the test of time. I can’t see it changing now, the longer we’re together, the more sure I am.”

Prince William and the now Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton were famously college roommates and friends before they began dating. Still, it was many years – and even a short break from one another - before the pair moved in together and more still before their engagement was announced to worldwide fanfare.

We love some of these William quotes taken from a media interview not long after they announced their engagement. They perfectly sum up the importance of friendship in a relationship and how taking time can lead to beautiful things.

“We moved in together as friends, it just sort of blossomed from there really. We just saw more of each other, hung out a bit more and did stuff. It was really nice and it was good fun and we got on really well.

“When I first met Kate I knew there was something very special about her. I knew there was possibly something that I wanted to explore there. But we ended up being friends for a while and that was a good foundation.

I do generally believe now that being friends with one another is a massive advantage. It just went from there. I knew over the years, I knew that things were getting better and better and we went through a few stumbling blocks as every relationship does, but we picked ourselves up and carried on.”

Do you have a story about friendship turning into love after many years? Share it with us on Twitter via @flamedating.

Picture: Picjumbo.com


Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.