This is an eternally asked question, no matter who you are. There’s no getting away from the emotionally complex boundaries between platonic and romantic attraction. Sometimes, this only comes with time and experience. However, here are a few hints and tips that can help you judge whether you love him or you’re in love with him.
- You love him like a brother. Is your love for this guy more affectionate than lung-bustingly intense? Do you feel really comfortable and content with him, but not necessarily like something is missing? That probably means that your feelings are really deep and meaningful, but not destined for anything more. That’s great, you clearly have a wonderful relationship with this person that will stand the test of time.
- You can’t be without him. This probably means you’re in the obsession stage of the relationship. You want to be around each other all the time. While friendships have this stage too, it’s because you want to be like them, rather than to kiss them. Ask yourself whether you just love this person because they represent something within yourself that you might think you lack. Romantic relationships don’t tend to be as aspirational as friendships. In a partner, you want an equal, while in friendships, you often implicitly want a role model.
- You feel protective of them. While some might say that this is jealousy, I don’t think that jealousy is actually the market of romantic intentions. I have been jealous of so many random, innocuous aspects of people’s lives around me. It’s rarely about romance. Sometimes, even with friends, you feel left out when they hang out with other people. Therefore, it’s not the most useful metric. Instead, distill whether those feelings are more protective, or whether you want to have their attention.
- You want to be part of his life. With friends, you often want to learn all about them so that you can feel closer to them and understand them. However, when you are in love with a person, you want more than that. You want to be a part of their past, present, and future. You want to adapt to their life, and see them in yours. Men and women can be friends, despite what people say, so remember it’s not all or nothing. Friendship is still really important.
- You’re excited about his future goals. Is there anything more attractive in a person than ambition and having life goals? I doubt it. While, in friendships that sense of resentment and jealousy can rear its ugly head, for a relationship when you’re in love, you only want the best for them. You’ll find it easy to view your crush’s success as another reason why they’re so great. In friendships, you might try to compare yourself.
- You want to meet his parents. You want to be part of his life and get to know all the people who made him so special. This is a really intimate life encounter and it can be so enriching. Plus, you get to see his baby pictures, and that’s always so cute.
- You’re extremely attracted to him. While you might deny it, true attraction is difficult to ignore. Particularly when it’s illicit. Most people when wondering if they’re in love or not don’t have to question the attraction part of the equation. If you are trying to convince yourself that you’re in love with your best friend, you probably aren’t. Much as it would be convenient!
- You want to commit. With this person, you can see what all the songs are about. Even the whiney, pathetic ones by boybands from the nineties. With time, you have to hope you will be relating to the lovey-dovey songs rather than the angsty ones!
- He makes you want to grow as a person. We all need to achieve a certain level of maturity in order to be good partners. No one is born with perfect social skills, and being in a relationship is a learned skill. You get better at it over time and he makes you want to improve. Sometimes you can love a person, but they unknowingly make you compare yourself to them or make you feel anxious. However, when you accept that you’re in love with someone, those feelings are easier to manage. You can share your intimate vulnerabilities without feeling less than.