What Causes Someone to Fall in Love?
"Falling in love" is what drives the romances we read about or watch in our favorite shows and movies. But what does it really mean to fall in love with someone? Falling in love happens when you have strong feelings of admiration and attraction to someone you care about. It is easy, when you are new to a relationship, or new to these feelings, to see the best about a person easily. You probably prioritize the time you spend together, and share lots of time, gifts, and affection with them. Falling in love is often a joy, and it can be part of what points you toward the person that's right for you. But it's important not to rely on strong feelings of attachment alone when making decisions about dating and marriage. You want to be sure, if you feel like you're falling in love with someone, that you share compatible beliefs about life, about priorities, and about spiritual things. You want to commit to someone only if they are respectful of you, your needs, and your boundaries. And if you feel "out of love", it may not be a sign of the end of your relationship. Depending on your reasons for falling out of love, you may be able to rekindle warm feelings by getting support and talking through your relationship.
Friendships are one of life's greatest joys. Finding someone we can share our heart with -- someone who understands and accepts us just the way we are is priceless. When we can have a deep friendship with someone from the opposite sex, it is a tremendous gift. There is so much to learn and respect about both genders. But at times these opposite-sex friendships can also be a great challenge. One of the most exciting, but frightening, barriers a friendship faces is when one person falls in love with their best friend of the opposite sex. The feelings are can be intense, and the fear of revealing them can be paralyzing.
Is dating your best friend worth the risk?
You’ve probably heard the popular saying: “Marry your best friend.” Why then is it so darn stressful to figure out whether or not to date your best friend? On one hand, the prospect of a romantic relationship with someone you already share a deep bond with can seem like a dream come true. But… What if it doesn’t work out? It’s an idea with its fair share of risks and challenges that should be carefully considered.
Dating your best friend could mean that you’d be starting your romantic relationship ahead of the game, with a foundation of trust and understanding that already exists. You know each other's quirks, preferences, and values, which can lead to a pretty seamless transition from bestie to BF or GF. That kind of familiarity can create a strong emotional connection, since you're not starting from scratch in getting to know each other.
What’s the catch? The fear of ruining a cherished friendship. You won’t just lose a partner if things go wrong, you might lose or irreparably damage the friendship. Two heartbreaks in one go.
Dating a friend could also change the dynamics in your social circle. It could be tons of fun for your friend group when you get together, but if you break up, mutual friends might feel awkward or forced to pick sides. Instead of losing one friend in the breakup, it’s possible that you could lose several, or that your friend group will never feel quite the same way.
All that said, there’s a difference between being cautious and wise about such a big decision, and letting your fear make your choices for you. Consider this question: what if it does work out? Does the potential of finding a deeper love with a person you already know and trust outweigh the potential for heartbreak? Will you be okay with your decision, years from now, if you let fear keep you from taking a chance on something that could be beautiful? Check out this reminder to be brave from Joshua 1:9.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
We’re not meant to let fear dictate our decisions. Dating your best friend can be worth the risk if your bond is strong and you’re both committed to making it work. The transition from friendship to romance requires careful consideration and open communication. Of course there are potential pitfalls, but the reward of finding love with someone who knows you deeply can be a beautiful and fulfilling experience.
The Gut-Wrenching Challenges to Secretly Loving Your Best Friend
Laura reveals the gut-wrenching challenges she's facing being secretly in love with her best guy friend: It's been really hard because sometimes it seems like he likes me and sometimes it seems very obvious that we're just friends. It's torn my heart up on several occasions. I'm currently trying to get over him, because it's just too hard to love him from a distance. I don't want to lose our friendship as we've been through a lot together in the years we've known each other, but I'd rather save my heart for someone who I know is going to give me his heart fully in return.
It's okay to have feelings of love because of the trust you share with your best friend, but that doesn't necessarily mean you are in love. But it does mean you have the ingredients to develop awesome love which could turn into a great marriage. Someone once said great friends make great lovers. The longer you're friends, the more stable your relationship is going to be.
A lot of good friends can do things that romantic partners cannot. Friends usually say what they need to say to each other without fear, and good friends are more likely to be spontaneous with their activities.
Two Warnings if You Think You Are In Love With Your Best Friend
When you start to feel you desire more than just a casual friendship with your best friend and you're not sure what to do next, let me offer you some advice that could strengthen both your relationship and your love for each other.
First, don't rush into a romantic relationship with your best friend. Many times, people confuse love with that other kind of caring love you feel for all of your other friends.
Second, don't spill your guts right away. You might feel like you have to share all your thoughts and feelings with the other person as soon as you start to feel something. That's usually a mistake.
Javier agrees: This girl and I have known each other for nearly seven years and we have been close friends for about three. Eventually, we did start liking each other and we went out for a month and a few weeks. After that relationship ended, I didn't feel very hurt or sad. It was odd. I found myself being freer and I got to thinking: Don't rush into [a romantic] relationship with your best friend...many times people confuse love with that other kind of caring love you feel for all of your [other] friends.
Find another good friend you can trust—someone with whom you can verbalize your deep emotions about your best friend with whom you are in love. This other friend will help you continue to show the self-control of letting a good friendship grow into an even deeper friendship. Hold your emotions and get them out in a healthy way with another friend. Why chance ruining a good thing, at least for now?
Friendship IS the start of a Real Romance
On the other hand, after you've been a good friend with him/her for some time, you should be able to read their moods. You should be able to get some sense as to whether or not the friendship has developed into more of a romance for him/her, as well as yourself. If you see these signs, you might want to begin to talk about them with the good friend you so deeply love. After all, good friends should be able to talk about nearly anything.
I think Jane has a great perspective: The only time I would recommend someone reveal their feelings is if they are SURE it is mutual. A really honest friendship will often develop into love without any conscious effort. And if he doesn't love you, isn't having a REAL, HONEST, CARING guy friend better than a boyfriend who might leave you at any moment? Friends are people who you don't have to constantly worry about leaving you for no reason. And if he cares for you and stands up for you, he already loves you in a way already.
First and foremost, good friends should know how much each person values the other. We make the mistake of demanding that many of our relationships be all or nothing romantically. Whether the person you are in love with ends up marrying you or not, you have had the joy of experiencing real love.
Real love is rich, pure, and self-sacrificing. To experience that kind of love with anyone is a priceless gift.
This is how the Bible describes true love: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Isn't that awesome? This verse also describes how God loves YOU! Trust God as He shows you whether your best friend will become your life's partner. You may want to pray to God for guidance in this relationship and even have others pray for you.
Still wondering if it's really love or friendship? Read: How to Know if it's Really Love.