Dear Dr. Romance:
Is it possible to love someone without ever dating them? If so, how can you tell that you are in love?
Yes, it's possible to fall in love without dating. For example, if you have a close friend, classmate, work associate, neighbor or friend of a friend that you have spent time with (without dating) you can become attached. Most of the time, however, loving someone from afar has a strong fantasy component, which can be misleading. You don't really know if it's real love without direct experience of the other person face to face. Also, it won't be lasting love if it's not reciprocal. The following tips will help you figure it out:
Dr. Romance's 3 tips to finding true love:
1. Know the difference between fooling around and building a real relationship. You can mess around with anyone (if you understand the deal and have safe sex) but before you bring someone into your life, or share money or living space, remember they're bringing baggage. Know what's hidden –what's not said at the beginning. Their baggage becomes your problem. Remember, whoever you're dating is on best behavior. It gets worse later, not better.
2. Understand your own needs. Need a lot of space? Want lots of affection? Have to know what's going on all the time? Like to share everything? Or are you able to relax and go with the flow? Whatever your style is, it's OK, but you need to know it and be able to communicate it to your future spouse. You can teach each other, if you both know what you need.
3. Don't seek romance, seek partnership. Romance is for dates, and fun to have on occasion in your marriage, but it's partnership that will get you through the rough times. Don't look for someone who sweeps you off your feet. That indicates a control freak, and you won't like what happens later. Look for someone who likes give-and-take, who seeks your opinion and considers it, who cares about what you want, too.
"Stupid Cupid" will give you more information on how to tell if you're in true love, and The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again covers everything you need to know about dating and devloping a relationship.