First, what exactly is platonic love? The name and notion may be traced back to the 1500s. However, the concept of a platonic relationship has developed over time. The philosopher Plato, from whose name the term “platonic” derives, was the first known person to identify the notion.
His understanding of platonic love differs from our current interpretation. His notion of this form of love was one that was not about passion but about bringing you closer to the divine and bringing out the best in everyone involved. It was applicable to all types of relationships, including romantic ones.
What exactly is a platonic friendship? Nowadays, when we say “platonic love,” we usually mean love that isn’t passionate or sexual in nature. A loving platonic relationship might be with someone of the opposite or same sex. People of any gender or sexual orientation can experience platonic love.
Unrequited Love vs. Platonic Love
Unrequited love should not be confused with Platonic love. In the latter sort of relationship, one partner has romantic emotions for the other, while the other person does not and generally regards them as an acquaintance with whom she wants to be friends. While the two may stay friends, their relationship is never fully platonic because one of them has sexual interests for the other.
When you claim you have a platonic relationship with someone, it usually indicates you have no romantic or sexual feelings for them. If you’re out with your closest buddy and someone asks, “Are you two together?” you may say, “No, we’re platonic,” or “No, we’re just friends.”
Elements of Platonic Love
Platonic love or not, it is critical that our relationships and love be healthy. In many respects, platonic relationships may be successful for the same reasons that other types of relationships can. Here are some healthy love traits to use in your platonic love:
In platonic partnerships, honesty is a positive attribute. This holds true for every friendship or connection. Platonic friends can strengthen their connections by treating one another with respect and honesty.
Boundaries are part of any good relationship. It is critical to be respectful of and attentive to limits in all of our interpersonal relationships. Healthy limits and mutual respect are essential for individual well-being as well as the well-being of the partnership. Personal boundaries should be respected in a good platonic relationship.
In any relationship, appreciation is important. According to research, thanks and appreciation in friendship strengthen the bond. A platonic friend who appreciates you and is appreciated in return may make you feel grateful for both your friendship and the other pleasant aspects of your life.
Other healthy traits include freedom, understanding, emotional support, and compassion.
If a friendship, partnership, or other types of connection is unhealthy, it’s critical to create limits and convey your feelings. If the other person isn’t responsive, it may be time to adjust or stop the relationship, especially if you believe the relationship has become harmful to you as a person.
Can A Platonic Love Relationship Develop Into A Romantic One?
You might be in an honest relationship with no sexual or romantic feelings for each other at the start. A platonic connection, on the other hand, has the potential to develop into a romantic one. Mindsets shift, and some people become close friends before entering into love relationships. In reality, this is rather common.
According to statistics, 68% of romantic relationships begin as friendships in the general population, and the ratio is considerably greater in specific demographic groups. In other circumstances, platonic relationships may develop sexually, but without romantic love. (Some people might call this “friends with benefits” or having “mutual benefits.”)
How do you know if a relationship platonically is morphing into a romantic connection? Do you feel like you might be getting mixed signals or having mixed feelings? Here are some signs that you could or you are turning into more than friends:
- There is flirting going on.
- There’s a higher level of attachment.
- You’re always talking about them to other people.
- You may feel a more romantic attraction or sexual attraction when you’re physically close or have physical contact.
- You already know deep inside.
What should you do if you discover yourself developing romantic emotions for a friend?
First and foremost, check in with yourself. Make certain that these sentiments of love are genuine and not the result of anything like loneliness or misattribution of feelings, which can occur. You may easily evaluate whether your sudden sentiments of romantic love are the product of loneliness by asking yourself, “If I wasn’t lonely, would I still feel this way?” Consider whether or not you’ve just ended a romantic love connection to see whether you’re misattributing your sentiments. If yes, did you develop stronger feelings for your pal around that time?
If you’ve recently ended a romantic love relationship, allow yourself plenty of time to recover and move on. Before you think too deeply about any feelings may have for someone else. If you notice that your sentiments are not being caused by loneliness or misattribution, it may be time to communicate your feelings of love to your buddy.
You might want to evaluate your sentiments about physical closeness with that individual before having an open and honest chat with a platonic friend about your feelings and the prospect of becoming romantic partners.
- How would your relationship alter if your buddy became your love partner?
- What effect might sexual intimacy have on a non-sexual relationship?
- Would your romantic attraction to one another deepen your already strong bond?
By sharing your emotions, you may realize that your friend has feelings for you as well. However, it can be embarrassing if they don’t. When it is realized that there is unrequited love, a friendship may not return to normal. This is vital to remember while deciding whether or not to try to move your relationship beyond its existing boundaries.
With that stated, what happens when you develop feelings for a buddy but they don’t reciprocate? You may still want to remain friends, but you probably don’t want the stress of unrequited love.
Sometimes the best answer is to distance yourself from your friend. Friendships often have times when the two of you are doing your own thing. Spend some time looking for other people. Go on dates if you believe you are ready. Who can say? You could meet someone who is a better match for you, and you can return to your friendship with the love sentiments gone, and most of the tension dissolved as a consequence of both time and your meeting someone else.
This is not always the case. Even in the absence of distance, loving sentiments might persist. It can be painful to bottle up your feelings, and it is not good – both physically and emotionally.
It’s difficult when this happens, and in certain circumstances, you or the other person may opt to stop the friendship to rebound.
Many people seek therapy for help with interpersonal connections of various types, including familial, friendship, and romantic interactions. After all, social health is a key component of mental health, and having strong relationships in your life is a vital role in your overall health.
- A counselor or therapist can assist you in addressing interpersonal relationships or another aspect of your life.
- A Google search, a reference from a primary care practitioner,
- Or joining an online platform like ReGain can help you discover someone to work with.
Every provider on the platform is licensed, and the plans are often a more affordable option when compared to the cost of offline services without insurance. You deserve great treatment and good interpersonal connections regardless of how you seek help.