Different Forms of Love: Understanding Platonic Relationships
When you mention “love,” most people immediately think of the fuzzy feeling they get when they think about their significant others. However, were you aware that love comes in many forms? The reality is that there are many different kinds of relationships that you’re likely to encounter in your life besides romantic ones.
Contemplate it for a moment. You have ties to those in your social circle, professional circle, immediate family, extended family, and the larger community. Romantic relationships are not a part in any of these.
The definition of a platonic relationship.
Platonic friendships are a type of relationship when there is a deep friendship between two people where a sexual connection is not present. The lack of sexual attraction is the most apparent distinction between a sexual relationship and a platonic one. But here’s the thing: contrary to popular belief, there isn’t always one person in a platonic relationship who needs sexual intimacy from the other.
One or both partners in a platonic relationship may harbor romantic feelings for one another but won’t classify as romantic partners with physical intimacy. However, this is only sometimes the case. In many cases, both people involved experience a genuine platonic connection. While romantic partnerships tend to get more attention, the truth is that some most vital and fulfilling friendships aren’t romantic. Usually, they’re instead based on mutual respect and support among friends, similar to platonic friendships.
In the 1500s, the Greek philosopher Plato conceptualized platonic love. But, unfortunately, the phrase no longer has the same connotation it once did. Plato initially characterized Platonic relationships as those in which sexual attraction was absent. Many platonic friendships can also include physical intimacy but are often classified as friends with benefits or, better, friends with mutual benefits. A non-sexual relationship, like a platonic one, can often include affection without physical intimacy. Therefore, a mixed signal in a platonic relationship is normal, especially in opposite-sex friendships. A guy friend might experience your ‘deep connection’ as a potentially intimate relationship.
According to him, platonic love is the only way to become closer to God. It inspires one to grow into their full potential. All forms of relationships, according to Plato, can benefit from the idea of platonic love. The term “platonic” is now commonly used to describe any friendship that does not involve romantic feelings.
According to Jordana Jacobs, Ph.D., a platonic connection between two persons of different sexual orientations or genders has the potential to be profound, personal, and life-changing.
What do relationship experts say about platonic relationships?
Relationship specialists say a strong support network is essential to health. Social relationships between non-sexually attracted people can bring comfort, support, and a sense of community. These experts say platonic partnerships are good for idea exchange and emotional support. These experts say friendships may make people feel heard, valued, and safe.
Relationship experts say friendships may be better for those who struggle to find a mate who genuinely loves them. They can give them emotional connections, emotional support, and psychological treatment to help people stay well. Furthermore, platonic bonds might become spiritual bonds.
Experts also recommend being honest with platonic friends about their expectations and relationship limits. This can prevent misunderstandings and keep a healthy bond.
Comparison of Platonic and Unrequited Love
Ok, so we established earlier that there is no potential for one person to develop romantic feelings for another and then “friend zone” the other in a platonic relationship. The truth is that there are many types of relationships, and not all of them include sexual feelings. When two people are platonic friends, nobody feels romantic or sexual desire toward the other.
Unrequited love occurs when one person feels romantic affection for another, but the other person does not return those sentiments. A deep friendship between these two people is possible. Still, it will never be platonic since one has romantic expectations. In most cases, these are very meaningful relationships, and nurturing the other persons’ need will help build your emotional connection further while keeping your friendship intact.
Whether someone outside your friendship group was to ask you if you were dating, you and your friend would likely both say no. Writing for Bliss author and Ph.D. candidate Diana Raab believes platonic love is a unique spiritual and emotional bond between two individuals. The two parties engaged have no romantic feelings for one another. But, on the other hand, there is a strong presence of loyalty, respect, and care.
Signs One may say that you’re in a platonic relationship.
The following traits and indicators can help you determine whether or not one of your relationships is platonic.
Although integrity is prized in any friendship, spiritual bonds are more important. As a friendship develops, you and your buddy will inevitably share more personal information. This indicates the beginnings of trust inside the partnership. You can count on your friend to always tell you the truth. When two people genuinely care about one another, they are likelier to be open and trustworthy. This means, that friendships often develop into some of the most meaningful partnerships in one’s life.
The existence of limits
When you stop and think about the relationships you have that are healthy, you will realize that they all have limits. Respect for one another is vital, and individuals can only develop this quality in themselves if they are taught to respect the boundaries of others. Saying something like, “Hey, I’d prefer not to go out tonight since I’m trying to control my expenditures,” is quite acceptable. You may also politely request that the recipient not disclose any details from this conversation to anybody else. It benefits both parties when platonic friends are eager to create reasonable limits in a relationship.
Affirmation of Value
Relationship success requires mutual admiration and affection. Showing your buddy some love and gratitude is a great way to strengthen a normal friendship. Appreciation for your buddy may benefit your friendship and help you feel grateful for the safety and other benefits it provides. When you and a buddy do something kind for each other, listen to each other when they’re upset, or let each other vent without being judged, you’re doing a lot.
Do You Benefit From Having a Friend Who Is Not Your Partner?
In a word, yes! Best outcomes can be achieved through friendships. In the following, we will examine a few of them:
Researchers have shown several positive effects of platonic friendships on health. In fact, you have nearly a 50% greater chance of outliving those who don’t have any close friendships. In a platonic relationship, you can receive love and support. Having a positive outlook and taking steps to lessen stress and anxiety can boost your health and decrease your vulnerability to illness. A large circle of platonic friends who care about you emotionally makes the platonic relationship so valuable. These connections can help you feel validated and strengthen you where you may be weak. In addition platonic love relationships include a friend that keeps your feelings in check. A strong friendship can significantly improve your mental health. Having this type of connection, also referred to as a platonic bond, can help you build a deep friendship while maintaining your health.
Lessens the Effects of Stress
Everybody has anxiety now and again. Also, stress’s adverse effects on our bodies and minds can sometimes be devastating. Unmanaged stress increases the risk of health problems like high blood pressure, lowered immunity, and heart disease. Healthy friendships are an invaluable resource for dealing with the stresses of daily life. According to Keya Murthy, a Spiritual Life Coach, and Clinical Hypnotherapist, good and heart-centered relationships are those between friends. Furthermore, she thinks we should have more of them because of the advantages they provide.