Seven Romantic Feelings Besides Love

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Don’t you feel like there’s a whole lot of territory between “like” and “love” that basically just gets glossed over? As if when you like someone, you’re really just waiting to see if you’re going to fall in love with them.

But the ways that you can feel about a person that you are casually dating are in fact quite nuanced, and we get into all kinds of confusion trying to fit our feelings into one box or the other. Here are seven other (completely legitimate!) ways you can feel about a person you’re romantically involved with besides being in love.

1. In Crush
Usually happens before anything actually happens. People in crush are easily embarrassed around each other and prone to blurting out things they wish they hadn’t and knocking things over. Being in crush is characterized by an uncontrollable desire to just be around a person, then having no idea what to do once you are.

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2. Smitten
Being smitten is like being in crush—with the addition of a complete blindness to the object of your smit’s flaws. People who are smitten with each other believe, also, that there are no problems what-so-ever in their relationship.

3. In Lust
“Well, _____, and ________, but the sex is so good.”

4. In Lame
Two people who are in lame are together for no good reason other than that it’s easier than not being together. In other words, they’re both just too lame to pull the plug.

5. In Care
Like being in love, being in care means sharing a deep bond and a genuine mutual concern for each other’s well-being. If you’re sympathetic to each other’s problems and celebrate each other’s triumphs, you’re probably in care. People in care feel that the other deserves what’s best for them, even if that turns out not to be the relationship.

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6. In Laugh
Sometimes you just enjoy the hell out of someone’s company, whether it’s going anywhere or not. You just crack each other right the hell up like a couple of damn fools. There may or may not be any further chemistry there, but man do you have a good time.

7. In Like
“Wanna get some Pringles and Diet Coke and watch Fawlty Towers, tonight?” “You KNOW I do.” There is a certain exhilaration that comes with sharing a lot of specific common interests with someone. Sometimes that exhilaration gives way to never hanging out with your friends. Or doing anything. Ever. Besides watching YouTube videos of parkour guys and baking pies. Sometimes it leads to starting a business together. Or building a treehouse. You can be in like with someone forever. Another way to say it is that they make a good partner.

Having a few different ways to talk about all the feelings that come up, besides love, can help us to articulate what we’re getting, what we want and what we’re okay with in casual, or more serious dating. What terms would you use to describe the terrain between “like” and love?

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