Are you starting to develop romantic feelings for a long-time friend? How exciting! Or on the other hand, maybe not. Moving to a more-than-friends status can be scary and confusing. If you’re thinking about going for it, here are some things to think about before taking the plunge.

1. The Feelings Might Go Only One Way

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12

Although you may have developed strong feelings, relationships require two people and the other person might not be interested in thinking of you as anything more than a buddy. Admitting love for a friend who doesn’t share those romantic feelings could create an awkward tension in your friendship.

So before sharing your heart, you may want to do a bit of homework. Toss out a bit of lighthearted flirting and see if it’s reciprocated. Ask a mutual friend to gauge your friend’s interest in starting a dating relationship.

2. You May Already Know Too Much

Honesty and transparency in a relationship are essential. It’s important to be open with your partner about your past boyfriends or girlfriends. Knowing your significant other’s dating history is not a bad thing.

However, as friends, you may have been privy to the good, the bad and the ugly of your partner’s past relationships. If knowing ahead of time exactly how he or she behaves in a relationship is going to cause problems that you can’t move past, then dating might not be the best plan for you two.

3. It Could Lead to the End of Your Friendship

Let’s face it. As hard as they are to deal with, breakups happen. What will happen if your dating relationship doesn’t work out? Will you be able to maintain your friendship, or will you end up going completely separate ways?

Before moving into a boyfriend-girlfriend arrangement, take a good, hard look at the risk and whether it’s worth it to you. You may even want to sit down and discuss it together. Sometimes having a plan for how you’ll remain friends after a breakup can help you transition back into a regular friendship. Even if you can stay friends, however, keep in mind that your friendship may never be quite the same.

4. You Can Skip the Getting-to-Know You Phase

Moving on to the positive, there are also some great things about dating a friend. First dates can be filled with uncomfortable small talk and awkward pauses, but the nice thing about dating a long-time friend is that you can skip all that. Since you already know your date’s family history, job details and favorite foods, you can enjoy deeper, more meaningful conversation on your early dates.

5. There’s A Reason You’re Friends

Common interests, shared hobbies and similar senses of humor are often what bring friends together. You guys are friends because you like one another. Your friendship may also be built on shared spiritual values.

What’s better than a boyfriend or girlfriend whose company you really and truly enjoy? Friendship should be a natural part of a long-lasting relationship. You two have spent enough time together to know you can have a good time with one another.

6. New Relationships Are Exciting

It’s fun to be part of a couple, and being in a new relationship can provide all sorts of happy feelings. If you have the opportunity for that, why not take it?

In order to make the most of this feeling, there should be some definite changes in your relationship. Rather than just hanging out in the same way you always have, add some special touches. Go out on a date to a nice restaurant where one of you pays rather than splitting the bill. Start holding hands when you walk together or pick a song to be your song.

Falling for a friend could lead to your own heartbreak, but it could also lead to the love of a lifetime. Think hard and pray about it before you reveal your feelings, but if there’s a chance of something good happening, don’t let fear keep you from pursuing the relationship of your dreams.

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