For Julie and John, love was just around the corner – they just didn’t realise it.
A couple who lived on the same street in the same village for 10 years – so close their garages were back-to-back – and even married different people in the same church, finally met and fell in love after being matched by a dating site.
Despite both living in the village of Cosby, Leicestershire – population 3,500 – for more than 20 years, divorcees Julie Mould-Cook, 58, and John Malins, 62, who each have two children, were total strangers.
So when they matched on dating website eharmony in January 2011, they were stunned when, on their first date, they bumped into mutual friends from the same village and discovered the connections.
Now living together happily in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and celebrating their ninth anniversary in the New Year, Julie, mum to shop assistant Nona, 27, and office manager Millie, 23, said: “It was amazing. From that first date we got the feeling we’d met the person we’d always been looking for.
“We discovered all of these little connections, which makes it even stranger that we didn’t meet until we went online. But it feels like it happened in the right way.”
Having divorced after a 20 year marriage, Julie, who has two jobs, one in sales and one teaching communication skills, was encouraged by her engineer brother Karl Mould, 61, to join eharmony.
Despite feeling disheartened after a couple of unsuccessful dates, her interest was piqued when John’s profile popped up and they had a more than 90 per cent match rating.
“I was attracted to him because he had his own teeth and hair! He had a lovely face,” Julie laughed.
“So many of the others looked like Father Christmas and I was only 49 at the time, so they weren’t what I was looking for.”
Julie continued: “We emailed a few times, then arranged our first date for around two weeks later. I felt like I really trusted him, so he actually picked me up and we went to a restaurant in a nearby village, not the one that we had both lived in.”
While Julie still lived in the same house in Cosby, John, who also has two children from his previous 22-year marriage – Charlotte, 33, who works at an energy company and Bradley, 30 – and runs his own damp solution business, lived about 15 miles away, having moved in the 1990s.
Julie recalled: “We bumped into another couple who we both knew from Cosby on our date and they were like, ‘What are you doing here together?’ They both knew us individually.”
“Then we found out we’d actually lived in the same village for years,” she said.
“At that point I still lived there, but John and his wife had moved away in the 1990s.
“We discovered we’d lived on the same street, which curved round so my garage backed on to his garage. I’d lived directly behind his house, so we lived at the bottom of each other’s gardens throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, we think for around eight years.”
Julie said: “I didn’t remember him at all, but he said he did vaguely remembered seeing me walk my dogs around the village, as he also had a dog, but we were strangers.
“We didn’t recognise each other at all from the pictures we’d posted on eharmony.”
The pair discovered they had other connections – one being that John had played rugby for the village alongside Julie’s ex-husband.
“We really did have that ‘what a small world’ feeling on our first date,” she said.
“We found out we got married in the same church – me in 1988 and John in 1983. We both had the same photograph taken in the same place outside the church, which is very strange.
“Then his sister worked as a drinks rep in the late 1970s and would come to the hotel I worked at, so remembered me from there.”
Julie continued: “There have been all these moments when we’ve crossed over. We seem to have gone in different directions, but then it came full circle.
“Yet on that first date, it really was love at first sight for us both.”
After their second date a couple of weeks later, when John returned from a work trip, he asked Julie to be his girlfriend.
With the relationship moving quickly, the pair went on holiday as a couple to Ireland in April 2011 and, within a year, they had moved in together.
Explaining how she fell for John, Julie said: “He’s such a nice person, everybody likes him. We laugh a lot together even now after eight years. He’s just really easy-going.
“We love going out for walks together with our three rescue border collies Brodie, Hugo, and Mabel, and having little trips away out of season. We recently went to Wales and walked on the empty beaches.”
“We’ve both got very busy lives. I have two jobs and do a lot of volunteering, so when we get together it’s nice to relax,” Julie added.
“For us I think it happened in the right way. Life would have been different if we’d met earlier, but it feels like things happen for a reason.
“It’s strange to think we would never have met if my brother hadn’t pushed me to join eharmony and we would never have known each other because he had moved to the other side of Leicestershire.”
“But there’s a serendipity to it. It feels like things have come full circle,” she concluded.
Happy as they are, while they have talked about marriage, Julie says it is not on the cards anytime soon.
“We’re happy as we are and it’s not that important to either of us,” she said. “We don’t need it to show how much we love each other. John really is the love of my life and if it wasn’t for eharmony I would never have known it!”
Success on eharmony often boils down to how much you put in. Here are some tips to help get more success:
✅ Take the time to talk to your matches
✅ Complete your profile
✅ Post a range of flattering photos
— eharmony (@eHarmony) August 27, 2019
John said: “I love Julie dearly and wish we would have met years ago. I love how compassionate she is and she feeds me well!”
Rachael Lloyd, eharmony relationship expert, said: “The beauty of Julie and John’s story is that love was just a few doors down. They just didn’t know it.
“This illustrates that even when we might feel like giving up on finding someone special, love can literally be just around the corner.”
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