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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Can Platonic Relationships Exist?

I have done a lot of thinking about platonic relationships. And I have had many discussions with friends about the virtues and vices of being in such relationships. Many of my friends come out strongly on the “you can’t do it” side of the fence. And several of them think it is manageable, depending on the circumstances. I am in the camp of believing that platonic relationships can exist between men and women. I highly value the relationships I have with men; there is some quality that is different in my relationships with males than there is with my relationships with females. I think what I have trouble with is defining exactly what a platonic relationship is; what separates my male friends from men who I want to date and would therefore not have the ability to be “just friends” with. And whether there is something that would keep me from being “just friends” with any male. I have been trying to determine whether this is more confusing because I am dating for marriage or whether it is easier because of it. I have male friends who I really like, and am attracted to, but I don’t think are compatible for marriage, so they are just friends. If I was not dating for the purpose of marriage, there is a strong possibility that I would be dating, or would have dated, those same men. So does that mean that our relationship is platonic? Or is it more? If I wasn’t dating for marriage, and I spent time with the ambiguities inherent in undefined male-female relationships, would things be different? Would it make platonic relationships more difficult? Because I know from the past that when a relationship is not defined from the beginning, a lot of time, emotional investment, physical intimacy and confusion can be spent without any results except heartache and pain at the end. Does the desire for a relationship to be platonic have to come from both sides, or is one of the participants in the relationship enough to put up the wall between platonic and more? Does it work when it is just one of the two who wants things to stay friendly rather than more intimate? And can one put aside their desire for more when rebuffed by the other member of the relationship? I think with open and honest communication between two people; being clear from the beginning, these things can be worked out and men and women can be friends. I don’t think these things always happen. And I am still not certain that the relationship is completely platonic, ever, just because of the nature of attraction between the sexes. Can men and women be friends? Harry and Sally said no. Does anyone say yes?

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