This is as much venting as it is a question, so it got a bit long. Sorry about that.
I've always been an insecure person. I suffer from periods of low self-worth and depression, which has made the whole coming of age-thing difficult. I have no idea what my gender or sexuality are, that's just a giant, messy can of worms. I've only ever been in one "relationship", and even that one went nowhere because I quickly realized that we weren't on nearly the same level of maturity despite our same age, so I ended it quickly. I've had crushes, but they've all been "I'm a horny, lonely teenager, someone please help deal with that"-crushes that I didn't act on. There was never anything emotional behind them.
Then there's her.
We met online as kids. We live on opposite sides of the country and have never met in person. We talk just about every day online, we watch anime and play games on voice chat, we give each other advice, we share our secrets and worries, we help each other with homework... The only difference between us and typical best friends is a few hundred miles and expensive train tickets.
We've has lots of late night conversations about our identities. She has always been very accepting and supportive through my search. She, on the other hand, has always had a kind of "meh, whatever"-outlook when it comes to sexuality. We've discussed it and she might be asexual aromantic. I accept this, of course. Thing is... lately I've come to realize I might be in love with her.
I don't mean like a crush. Crushes are, in my experience, fast and furious. My feelings for her are very slow burn. If crushes are microwaves, this is a crock-pot. I think she's a beautiful person who's not afraid of being herself and showing her opinions, she doesn't pretend to be anything she's not, she's confident, our personalities compliment each other wonderfully and she acts more kind and accepting to me than anyone else in my life. She's been there during all my lows to help pick me up and she's always been happy for me during the good parts of my life. I feel like she doesn't mind any of the things I'm insecure about.
Honestly, I think I might be in love with her. There's nothing sexual to it, it's purely a mental thing. But she's never felt romantic attraction to anyone and I have no idea about her feelings for me. I absolutely don't want to mess up our friendship by just blurting it out, especially because our relationship is a long range one. I would be completely lost without what we have now.
I guess my question is, could what I'm feeling be love in a romantic sense or is she just a super close friend? I've never had other close friends, so I can't really compare. Should I say anything about my feelings, and if so, should I wait until we've met in person to do so? Or am I just a desperate person clinging to the closest thing to me out of loneliness?