November 25, 2021

Falling in love with someone you’ve known for years

Have you ever fallen in love with someone you’ve known for years?

It’s surprisingly common so you shouldn’t feel alone; in fact, the authors of this website were long time friends who become lovers at a later date. This was of course after many friends had suggested (to both of us!) how ‘you two would make such a cute couple!’ 🤭.

And of course, we eventually did fall in love!

But of course, there’s always a risk in such a circumstance. For example, what if you asked them out and they said no? Will this compromise the friendship going forward? A quick Google search shows many anecdotal cases where an individual, seeking to ask a crush about their feelings (for a romantic relationship), resulted in ongoing social awkwardness 🐢 and regret – asking someone out is hard enough without this additional pressure!

That said, other cases describe scenarios whereby the boldness of the individual’s inquiry resulted in not only a relationship but much later, marriage! Afterall, directness is an attractive quality to many people (including Lisa 😉).

In today’s blog, we discuss how to resolve this dilemma. Before we continue, let’s consider your feelings in more detail so that we can decide on the best approach.

Are your feelings a passing fling (lust) or permanent?

We ask this question first because if it’s really just passing lust, the best thing to do is probably nothing. After all, why risk the value of a long-term friendship for a short-term fling?

A UC Davis Study found via a survey of 800 people that almost all relationships (whether they end up being short-term or long- term) appear indistinguishable at the start. The study involved talking to individuals about their feelings and interactions when they began dating.

As such, our feelings at this moment aren’t likely to give us an indication of suitability in the long term.

UC Davis found that telltale signs of a blossoming long-term relationship appear after it becomes sexual. In short, if there’s sexual chemistry, the relationship tends to continue and if there’s none, it’s likely to fail.

At this stage, we’re assuming that your crush and you have not had any intimacy. Some friends do talk about their sexual preferences within their social circle. So, it’s possible that you may know what your crush is into and whether it aligns with your own sexuality or not.

Other considerations include whether they’re long-term relationship material.

For example:

  • Is there alignment concerning your careers? For example, are you looking to climb the corporate ladder whilst they’re dreaming of traversing the country in an RV? If so, this match seems unlikely to work.
  • How have they treated their past partners? For example, with commitment or a flippant attitude? If the latter, it’s worth moving on. Pro-tip, a tiger can’t change its stripes. If they’ve been a player in the past, they’ll likely be a player in the future.
  • Do you share similar interests? Lisa and I have a deep passion for coding, finance and all things business, so we always have something to discuss. If your passion is dirt bikes and theirs is environmentalism, then this may not be a match made in heaven!

If you’ve answered no to any of the above, then it’s likely time to move on. This doesn’t have to be difficult, spending time on your hobbies, heading off on holiday, focusing on work or looking to date other people are all good distractions. However, if you’re convinced that this is a relationship worth pursuing, we’ll now discuss how to know if your crush feels the same way.

Do they flirt with you?

Flirting is (at its essence) speaking in love languages and such, the actions of flirtation will vary from person to person.

The five Love Languages are gift giving, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation and quality time and are discussed by Gary Chapman in his book ‘The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate’ (you can read more about this subject here).

If your friend is speaking to you in one or more Love Languages, it’s reasonably likely that they feel some sort of affection for you. As such, your crush may like you if they display any of the following:

  1. Providing gifts: Does you crush buy you gifts? For example, if you mention your love of shiraz, they may unexpectedly buy you a bottle 🍷.
  2. Providing acts of service: Whenever you need a favor, is your crush always the first to offer help? Do they always stay back at the dinner party to finish the dishes 🧼?
  3. Physical touch: When interacting with your crush, do they consistently move into your personal space, touch your shoulder or hug 🤗 perhaps the tiniest moment too long?
  4. Words of affirmation: When you experience success, is your crush the first to congratulate you? Or when you need support, are they the first to offer support and kind words?
  5. Quality time: Does your crush want to hang out with you alone – a lot? Are they offering invites to restaurants, bars or other events in intimate settings for just the two of you?

Crushes are not the only individuals to display such behavior, after all, friends may do the same from time to time. However, a friend who sees you as ‘more than a friend’ will provide such affections to a greater and more noticeable extent than others in your social circle (or at least to an extent which is unusual relative to the closeness of the friendship). If you want a litmus test, compare how often they’ll touch your shoulder to that of their other friends.

Like most things in life, the above is easier in theory than in application. For example, perhaps your crush provides thoughtful gifts occasionally but has been known to do this for others as well? The lack of direct evidence leaves you open to the risk of misunderstanding their intentions.

Asking a friend to find out your crush’s feelings

If your crush is a long-term friend, it’s likely that you have some friends in common. Asking a trusted friend to find out (subtlety) if your crush feels the same way is a means of finding the answer whilst keeping plausible deniability and secrecy about your own feelings (should the outcome be in the negative).

A friend can simply ask your crush ‘Hey I noticed that you and [your name] would make a cute couple, how do you feel about them?’. And if they respond that they have a crush on you, perfect! See our blog ‘Top 10 Date Ideas for New Couples’ to find out where you’ll be taking them this weekend 😊 (shameless plug we know…)

What if they’re not interested?

If they’re not interested, then it’s time to move on. Whilst there’s still a chance that asking them out might result in a ‘yes!’, the likelihood is lower and we have to consider the downside with respect to issues/awkwardness within your social group. Also remember – if it’s not “hell yes” it’s no.

To sum it up

As humans, our emotions and thus relationships are messy and often never go to plan. Falling in love with a friend can complicate a strong friendship or cause awkwardness in a valued social circle. We’ve described the ways in which you can consider the potential for a romantic relationship in this circumstance and discussed how to find out whether they might feel the same way and finally, how to act on the outcome.

It’s worked out great for us, we hope it works for you 🙂 .