I categorize “love” and “being in love” as two very different things.
You can love many people at the same time, from simple respect to the love of friendship to the deepest depths of intimacy and passion.
Love in that simplest form can stay within your own soul without co-dependence or need of love in return.
Being in love happens when two and only two people who love each other form deep attachments and inter-dependencies through which love flows. When you’re in love together you each flow love into shared hopes and dreams that are external to each of your souls. The more in love you are and the longer you are in love, the larger that shared love becomes and the greater the interweaving of two lives. The shared soul that becomes the reality of those dreams coming true and new dreams you share and the life you share together grow much faster than either of your own souls. One plus one deeply in love becomes far bigger than two unconnected individuals. Your shared soul is bigger than your own soul, your love is more important than just your life.
Back to your question: You can feel love subconsciously for someone starting with attraction and respect. Your sub conscious can be promoting the level of love you feel subconsciously long before you allow yourself to become aware of that elevation happening.
What you’re feeling deep inside is that this person might be someone you could fall in love with. Your conscious self may suppress that emotion for fear or even simple practicality and logic. That suppression might protect you from the risk of hurt but it might also deny you the opportunity for truly falling in love.
I believe that, by the complete randomness of the Universe, we are presented with and destined to find many opportunities among the people that we meet to find the love of our lives. We often waste those opportunities by not verbalizing and acting on them, or by staying in relationships that don’t fulfill our need to be in love and share our soul with someone for a lifetime, or by impatience giving up too soon on love.
Falling in love with someone is a choice that two people make together. Each and every day forward they must choose to be “in-love” with only that one other soul that they flow most of their love towards. Great risk but incredible reward when it works out.
Let your conscious mind free and dream about who you think you might fall in love with. Then, if you think you’d like to fall in love with them, talk to them about your developing feelings to see if there is any chemistry between your souls that might create an opportunity to fall in love.