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how do you tell when love is romantic vs platonic?

8 Nov 2019, 10:21 pm (Edited 8 Nov 2019, 10:57 pm)
I've always been a very loving person, and many of my friends have called me such. I have a lot of really close friends who I really enjoy spending time with, and who I care about on a really deep level. I love them, platonically. I love them like my family. Lots of them are starting to date, though, which makes me wonder how they know. What does a crush feel like, versus someone you want to be friends with? Is there some kind of "tell" when you're with someone you feel romantically interested in? Is there a way to tell if you're attracted to someone even when you don't know them? I know that it is possible to google these things, but with so much misinformation I figured this would be the most reliable place. Then there's the whole orientation thing. I've been as close to romantic as I think i have with both boys and girls, but not at the same time. How do you tell what orientation you are if you've never been oriented to anyone?


TLDR - I'm a sophomore(15) and have questions.

((no need to answer these all or these specifically, just a shortened summary of what I'm curious about))
1. How do you tell if love is romantic vs. platonic?
2. How do you tell if platonic has become romantic?
3. What do you do if you think you are romantically interested in someone?
4. How do you tell your orientation? Should I know that before asking someone out, or trust I'll only be romantically inclined to people I'm oriented towards?
5-Does sexuality even matter in high-school dating?
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8 Nov 2019, 10:45 pm
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8 Nov 2019, 10:51 pm
Yo, I really wish I was able to answer your first 4 questions, but I can try and answer the last two

1. I guess the way you tell your orientation is just by searching around, and finding the one with the definition that most closely matches you (take me for example: I’m an auto/ace, but I originally thought I was straight though and through until I looked around and found things that I felt fit me better than the last alignments I’d suspected. If you wanna try this, I guess you can go to the Recycler, find the Pride Buttons, and search up their definitions to try and search for one that you connect with, and just remember: it’s okay not to know exactly what you are; I still don’t, and neither do lots of other people)

2. It kinda does matter - to some people at least. If your desired partner doesn’t wanna date a person who identifies as gay/straight/whatever, then to them, it does matter. I guess I’m trying to say that it depends on the person, really

Well that was a bit of info, hope it helped!
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8 Nov 2019, 11:08 pm
Question number 1 still makes no sense to me, and I'm still looking for the answer, but I'll share with you what my mother had to offer:

"How do you tell if love is romantic vs. platonic?"

"Romantic love is different because it feels inherently different. Rather than wanting to be around the person for fun, you want to be around them all the time. You spend every day thinking about them. You want to hug them endlessly and just exist in the same space as them. Maybe you think about their smile more than you normally would with friends, or maybe you just really want to be their friend. If you really wanna be someone's friend, there's a good chance you actually wanna be their partner."

Before offering this as my opinion, I wanna say: I think about my friends all the time, and I'm averse to physical contact so I've never thought about hugging someone, and being introverted means I don't really have an interest in spending all my time with anyone. So I don't entirely agree with my mother's sentiment, but it's the best advice anyone's ever given me on the matter.

In terms of question three:

"What do you do if you think you are romantically interested in someone?"

Honestly, you have three options as far as I can tell: leave them be and let the feelings dissolve; leave them be and hang on to the feelings (they will grow very strong with this option); or pursue the person! Go ask 'em if they're interested in you the same way :) If not, that sucks, but sometimes love just isn't shared equally. If yes, then that's something the both of you need to discuss with each other.
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8 Nov 2019, 11:47 pm
1. How do you tell if love is romantic vs. platonic?

This took me a long time to figure out and it honestly varies from person to person. For a while I thought I was in love with my best friend, and I am - just platonically though :) I think, if you can see yourself dating that person for a long time, and the idea of being in a romantic relationship with them makes you happy and excited, that's the difference! I love my best friend, and sure, I love to spend time with her and I'd be ok living with her, but I thought long and hard about dating her and I decided that while I do love her, we're both very different people and a romantic relationship probably wouldn't work as well as our friendship does.

2. How do you tell if platonic has become romantic?

That's another one that's kind of hard to answer, because everyone expresses platonic and romantic love differently. Try to think about what their love language is. Do they love to get you gifts? Spend lots of time with you? Say lots of nice things to you? Figure out what their love language is and see how often they show it to you. I have a guy at work I flirt with and he flirts back, but we both agreed we just flirt for fun and that's all. I think it's always ok to ask someone if they're genuinely interested or just being kind. As long as you are ready to have a conversation about it, of course! Because there's a time and place for everything, if you think asking would make them uncomfortable, you could always wait.

3. What do you do if you think you are romantically interested in someone?

XD I don't think I can help here. I clam up around people I have crushes on. And then I think about them... A lot. But I'd say you should spend more time with them and get to know them better! Especially if you're more outgoing. I'm quite the introvert. You should talk to them more and see if they're someone you'd like to be closer too.

4. How do you tell your orientation? Should I know that before asking someone out, or trust I'll only be romantically inclined to people I'm oriented towards?

Honestly, orientations can change over time. If I were you, I wouldn't worry as much about labels! Especially if you don't feel drawn to anything particular yet. Don't let an orientation limit your dating pool if you don't feel like you have one yet. If you like a girl, you can like a girl! If you like someone who doesn't have a gender, that's cool! If you like a guy, that's cool too! I'm pan so I just don't really worry much about gender, but I do have a preference for guys, but if I end up with someone who isn't one that's cool too! Orientation is something that you can think about forever, and you're always free to try something new. If you pick something, you don't have to keep it forever! If you do that's ok too! I picked pansexual when I was 12 and that's never changed, but my gender has.

5-Does sexuality even matter in high-school dating?

I'd say just date who you feel attracted to, regardless of that kind of thing. If you like someone, you like them and that's ok!

I'm not sure if any of this is good advice, so take it with a grain of salt XD I'm sure you'll get lots of other responses too that might be more helpful.
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8 Nov 2019, 11:48 pm (Edited 8 Nov 2019, 11:51 pm)
when I was 14 I had all these questions.
everyone told me I'd figure it out once I got older. :-)

spoiler: I'm 20 now, and I still don't know! :D
I internalized a lot of messages about how I was too young, and that there was definitely a distinction. There was (and is) lot of nonsense about how once I "grew up" I'd Just Know™, but you might never know and that's okay! What's important is to be comfortable with yourself.

it's okay to have more than one label, or more than one set of labels -- maybe one you tell close friends, one you choose for yourself, and one you tell acquaintances and strangers who don't need to know your whole life story / would ask you to define each word you use. it's up to you! labels are what you make of them.

the way I personally experience attraction, I've never found the split attraction model (separating romantic orientation / sexuality) sufficient, but I do sorta consider myself a lesbian. I don't necessarily identify with the label the same way other people might, but for me, there's a huge distinction in the way I think about women & nb ppl versus men.

What do you do if you think you are romantically interested in someone?
spend some time together! get to know each other! if you think you'd like to label your relationship as "dating", then ask the other party if they feel the same!
don't push yourself because your friends are dating, and you feel left behind.
you're 15, you have so much time to find yourself (even if it doesn't feel like it!).

Should I know [my orientation] before asking someone out, or trust I'll only be romantically inclined to people I'm oriented towards?
orientation is so much more fluid than people make it. If you like a person's company and you want to date them, that's really all that matters. Tell them you're questioning, and you can work it out together.

I know a gay man dating a straight woman, and sometimes that's just the way things happen.
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10 Nov 2019, 2:42 pm
1. How do you tell if love is romantic vs. platonic?
I think romantic love is the kind of love where you want to overlook the person's flaws so that you can care for them and take care of them. They're the kind of person you want to introduce to your family, and the kind of person you want your family to accept and love too. It's kind of like the love you'd feel for your mom or dad or brother or sister, but in a different way -- you want to be close to this person, you want to snuggle with them, and you just want to make them feel special and loved and important.
2. How do you tell if platonic has become romantic?
When you start feeling warm and silly and special inside when you think of them. Your heart might start racing and you'll start thinking about what a special and wonderful person they are and how happy they make you, like no one else has ever made you feel before. It's just a good feeling. It's not obsessive or possessive, it's just... good.
3. What do you do if you think you are romantically interested in someone?
Depends. Sometimes, if I've been romantically interested in someone and I've felt like it wasn't reciprocated, I've just ignored it because their friendship was too important to me to risk. If I've felt like we were a good match and that it wouldn't ruin our friendship if something were to happen, I've told them. I was 15 when I met my only longterm romantic partner.
4. How do you tell your orientation? Should I know that before asking someone out, or trust I'll only be romantically inclined to people I'm oriented towards?
You won't necessarily be romantically inclined to people you're oriented towards. My best friend is 100% gay cis male. However, he has been romantically attracted to a woman we know for over a decade. The difference is that he's not able to become aroused when thinking of her, but he loves her very very deeply in that special way that makes him blush. I am asexual, but I have been romantically attracted to all genders.
5-Does sexuality even matter in high-school dating?
Depends on what the end goal is:
If the goal is to just partner up so you have a date to go to the movies with, it doesn't matter. When I was a very young teenager, I had a gay "boyfriend" for a few weeks, just because we both wanted to try dating... We knew it wasn't a real romantic relationship, but neither of us had ever had a partner before and thought we might as well partner up with each other just so that we could try doing "couple" things with other couples. It was neat.

If the goal is to find a long term relationship or to express yourself sexually, it does matter. I don't think I could handle being with someone who wasn't asexual. My best friend knows that he can't act on his romantic feelings for this woman, even though they're mutual, because they're not sexually compatible. This is something I can't really give much advice on because I'm ace, but sexuality is very important to allosexual people and even if you have matching sexual orientations, you won't necessarily be sexually compatible.
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