platonic relationship

My Platonic Relationship: Can It Really Last?

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We’ve all been in a platonic relationship. We meet someone with whom we have an instant connection. We hit it off immediately, talking for hours on end about everything and anything. We feel completely comfortable in their presence and can be our true selves.

But then, just as quickly as it began, the spark fizzles. The other person fades into the background of our lives and we move on—never to speak again.

Platonic love is very real, but it’s not always easy to find or maintain. Keep reading to learn more about what platonic affection is and how you can make yours last.

What Is a Platonic Relationship?

Platonic definition: a close, affectionate bond that develops between two people who are not attracted to each other sexually or romantically. In other words, platonic relationships are purely emotional and mental; they have no physical component.

The word “platonic” comes from the Greek philosopher Plato, who believed that physical attraction was base and unworthy compared to the purer form of platonic love that characterized spiritual bonds. For Plato, true love was spiritual and could only be experienced between two people who had achieved wisdom and understanding.

Over time, the word “platonic” has come to refer to any non-romantic relationship. This includes relationships between friends, family members, coworkers, etc. What is a platonic relationship for different people? Platonic affection can be between men and women, men and men, women and women—essentially, anyone can experience this type of love.

What Platonic Relationship Is Not

It’s important to note that a platonic relationship is not the same as a romantic or sexual one. In a romantic or sexual relationship, there is usually (though not always) a strong physical attraction element present. But in a friendly relationship, the focus is on the emotional connection between two people.

There may be some physical contact—hugs, for example—but it doesn’t go beyond that.

There are also some key differences in how romantic and platonic love develops. In a romantic relationship, attraction typically comes first; we’re physically drawn to someone and then develop an emotional connection with them over time.

But in a spiritual relationship, it’s usually the reverse: we become friends with someone first, and then we may (or may not) develop an attraction to them later on down the line. And even if we do develop an attraction in our platonic relationship, it’s usually not sexual or romantic in nature; instead, it’s simply an appreciation for their personality or physical appearance.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that friendly relationships are not necessarily exclusive. It’s perfectly possible for someone to maintain multiple spiritual relationships at the same time—just as it’s possible for someone to have multiple romantic or sexual partners simultaneously.

What matters most in a platonic relationshipis that all parties involved understand and respect the nature of the relationship; if they don’t, problems can (and often do) arise.

The Various Forms Platonic Relationship Can Take

What does platonic relationship mean? Such relationships can take many forms depending on the individuals involved and their circumstances. Some common examples include:

* Friendships: The classic example of a platonic affection is friendship. This type of relationship is characterized by mutual trust, respect, support, and affection. Friendships often grow out of shared interests or experiences (such as attending school or playing sports together).

And while platonic friendship can sometimes involve a mild form of flirtation, it typically doesn’t involve anything more than that; if anything beyond friendship does develop, it’s usually because one party has developed unrequited feelings for the other.

* Family relationships: The bonds between parents and children, brothers and sisters, etc., are usually considered to be platonic in nature. These relationships are defined by kinship rather than romance or sexual attraction.

* Workplace relationships: Coworkers can form platonic relationship without any sort of romantic or sexual interest whatsoever. These types of workplace friendships are often based on mutual respect, trust, and support; they provide employees with someone to confide in or rely on when things get tough at work. Again, some mild flirting may be involved sometimes, but nothing more than that.

How Can You Know if You’re in a Platonic Relationship?

couple drinking coffee in restaurant cafe

Now you know a little more about what is a platonic relationship (and isn’t), you might be wondering how you can tell if you’re currently in one. Here are a few key signs to look out for:

* You don’t feel sexually attracted to the other person. This is perhaps the most obvious indicator that your relationship is platonic rather than romantic.

* You don’t want to take things further. Even if you find the other person attractive, you’re not interested in pursuing a sexual or romantic relationship with your platonic partner.

* You’re more like friends than anything else. Spiritual relationships are often very similar to friendships and may even start as such. For example, if you consider the other person to be one of your close friends, your relationship is likely platonic.

* You can talk about anything. One of the best things about a platonic relationship is that you can discuss absolutely anything with the other person without feeling awkward or embarrassed. 

Whether you want to discuss your latest crush, your deepest fears, or just gossip about your mutual friends, you know that the other person is always open to listening and offering their thoughts and opinions.

* You don’t feel any romantic sparks. When you’re around the platonic partner, you don’t feel that fluttery, butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling that you would if you were around someone you were attracted to. You have no sexual tension or romantic attraction.

* You don’t have any ulterior motives. You’re not interested in the other person because of what they can do for you or because you think they might be a good “connection.” You’re interested in a platonic relationship simply because you enjoy their company, and they make you happy.

* You can be yourself around the other person. You don’t have to put on a show or pretend to be someone you’re not. Instead, you can be completely yourself around the other person, and they will accept you for who you are.

* You don’t get jealous. Platonic relationship is built on trust, so there’s no room for jealousy. However, suppose you’re feeling jealous of your friend’s time with someone else or of the attention they’re receiving. In that case, it’s a sign that your relationship might not be as platonic as you thought.

* You have fun together. Platonic relationship rules are all about enjoying each other’s company. So whether you’re going out for drinks or just staying in and watching a movie, you always have a good time when you’re together.

Platonic Friendship Has Many Positive Effects

Despite what some people might think about platonic relationship vs friendship difference, spiritual relationships are very beneficial. They can help improve your mental and emotional well-being and even provide a sense of stability in your life.

For example, platonic partnerships can help reduce stress levels. In addition, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that participants with strong social support networks had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In addition, a platonic relationship can improve your self-esteem and make you feel more confident. A study published in the journal Personal Relationships found that participants who had close relationships had higher self-esteem than those who did not.

Finally, platonic affection can also provide a sense of stability in your life. This is especially beneficial if you have a lot of change happening in your life, such as a new job or a move to a new city. Having a platonic date partner can help make the transition smoother and less stressful.

How to Make Platonic Relationship Last

If you notice signs of platonic love in your relationship, or if you’re simply looking for a close bond with someone without the complications of romance, then a platonic partnership may be right for you. Here are some tips to help you make yours last.

1. Communicate openly and honestly with your friends.

This is the foundation of any good relationship, platonic or otherwise. If you’re honest with your platonic partner about your feelings and what you’re going through, he/she will likely be there for you when you need them.

2. Don’t take your friends for granted.

Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean they’ll always be there for you. Show them that you appreciate them and value their friendship.

3. Be a good listener.

Be a good listener if your platonic date is going through a tough time. Sometimes all somebody needs is someone to lend a sympathetic ear.

4. Offer help and support when needed.

If you see your friend struggling with something, offer to help if you can. Even just lending a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can be a big help.

5. Be honest with your platonic partner.

Part of being a good friend is being honest with them, even when it’s hard. If you’re going through something yourself, don’t be afraid to open up and share what’s happening.

6. Accept your friends for who they are.

We all have our flaws, and that’s okay. Accept your friends for who they are, warts and all. They’ll appreciate it, and it will make your platonic feelings stronger.

7. Don’t be afraid to argue with your friends.

Disagreements are normal, even between good friends. So if you have a conflict, don’t be afraid to talk it out. Chances are, you’ll come to a resolution, and your friendship will be stronger.

8. Be there for your friends, even when they make mistakes.

We all make mistakes, and we all need a platonic partner to be there for us when we do. If your friend makes a mistake, don’t desert them. Instead, help them through it and show them that you’re still their friend, no matter what.

9. Cherish your friends.

Friends are special people in our lives, so cherish them. Let them know how much platonic relationship means to you and how grateful you are to have them in your life. Your friendship will be all the stronger for it.

Difficulties in Maintaining Platonic Love

While it’s certainly not impossible to maintain platonic love, some difficulties can arise.

1. Jealousy can be a big issue.

If one person in the friendship develops romantic feelings for the other, jealousy can become a big problem. It can be difficult to remain friends when you constantly feel jealous and left out.

2. It can be hard to deal with the attraction in a platonic relationship vs friendship.

There’s often an underlying attraction between two people who are good friends, and it can be hard to deal with that attraction. You may find yourself constantly thinking about your friend romantically, which can be difficult to manage.

3. It’s easy to get hurt.

When you’re in a platonic relationship, it’s easy to get hurt emotionally. If your friend starts seeing someone else, or if they start to pull away from you, it can be very painful.

4. You may not be on the same page.

You and your friend may be simply not on the same page regarding your relationship. One of you may want more than the other is willing to give, leading to frustration and conflict.

Despite these difficulties, platonic relationship examples can be enriching. They offer a deep level of companionship and support often unmatched by romantic relationships. So if you’re looking for a lasting, meaningful connection, a platonic partnership may be just what you need.

Is It Possible to Turn a Platonic Romance into Something More?

It’s no secret that a platonic relationship is born out of mutual attraction. You may find yourself drawn to someone funny, smart, and exciting to be around. But what if your feelings for this person begin to change? Is it possible to turn a friendship into something more?

If you’re thinking about taking things to the next level with your platonic partner, you should consider a few things first.

1. What are your intentions?

Before making a move, it’s important to ask yourself what you hope to accomplish. Are you looking for a committed relationship? Or are you simply hoping to add a bit of excitement to your life? If you’re unsure what you want, it’s best to tread carefully.

2. What are your platonic soulmateintentions?

It’s also important to consider your friend’s feelings on the matter. It could ruin your relationship if they’re not interested in taking things further. So make sure you clearly understand their feelings before making any moves.

3. What is your relationship like?

The nature of your friendship will play a big role in whether a romantic relationship would work. If you’re best friends in a platonic relationship, you probably already have a strong foundation for a successful relationship. However, if you’re not as close, it may be more difficult to make things work.

4. Are you prepared for the potential consequences?

There’s always the possibility that things could go wrong if you pursue a romantic relationship with your platonic ideal parnter. Be prepared for the possibility that your friendship could be damaged or even destroyed if things don’t work out.

5. What do you have to lose?

Ultimately, you need to decide what’s more important to you: your friendship or a potential romantic relationship. If you think the latter has more potential, then it may be worth taking the risk. However, if you value your platonic relationship more, it’s probably best to leave things as they are.

Conclusion

What is a platonic relationship? Platonic relationships come in many forms, but they all have one thing in common: they’re based on mutual respect, trust, support, and affection rather than on romance or sexual attraction. If you’re looking for a close bond with someone but don’t want anything more than friendship, then a platonic relationship may be right for you.

I'm Alana Wade, a psychologist with over five years of experience working with relationships. I've dedicated my career to helping couples and families create lasting, meaningful connections.