Love is the closest thing we have to real magic. However, we seldom talk about platonic love even though it forms an important part of our lives. Here’s taking a look at modern & healthy platonic relationships.
What is platonic love?
To put it simply, platonic love refers to a form of love which is not sexual. Platonic relationships generally involve a deep friendship of non-sexual nature among two heterosexual individuals who may or may not be of the opposite sex. According to Science Daily, “Platonic love in its modern popular sense is an affectionate relationship into which the sexual element does not enter, especially in cases where one might easily assume otherwise.”
The term platonic love derives its name from famous Greek philosopher Plato. In his work The Symposium, Plato thoroughly discussed the notion of true love in honor of Eros, the Greek god of love. It is through his discussions with his guests, the idea of platonic love was formed in their dialogues. His idea of platonic love not based on lust or sexual relationships. Lachlan Brown, author and founder of Hack Spirit, explains “Plato defined platonic love as the kind of love that motivates us to become better versions of ourselves, inspiring us to pursue greater goals, and bringing us closer to enlightenment or the divine.”
Read also: Opposite Sex Friendships
Understanding platonic love in modern context
Today the meaning of platonic relationships has changed drastically and is widely used to mean good friends, without any “benefits.” These relationships share a strong bond and affection for each other, yet there is no romantic or sexual attraction. But like Plato’s original version, platonic relationships today can be meaningful and deep, leading to lifelong friendships.
It is a relationship with healthy boundaries, trust, respect, admiration, gratitude, honesty and without insecurities or jealousy. Author and educator Diana Raab, MFA, Ph.D., writes “Platonic love is a special emotional and spiritual relationship between two people who love and admire one another because of common interests, a spiritual connection, and similar worldviews.” It is a relationship where you feel comfortable to be your genuine self without worrying about being criticized or abandoned.
Crucial elements of platonic love
Platonic relationships are simply good friendships that inspire us to be better. However, friendships and relationships have become overly complicated today. Let us take a look at some of the characteristics of platonic relationships. This will help us identify and nurture it to create lifelong friendships with people who we love and care about.
1. Uncorrupted honesty
One of the defining features of a platonic friendship is pure and genuine honesty. Unlike a romantic relationship, a platonic friendship has no space for insecurities, fear of abandonment or infidelities. There is no need for white lies or deceit. As they are not your partner, you are not worried about them leaving you. As this is not an exclusive relationship, the stakes are not high.
“Platonic love doesn’t have to spare anyone’s feelings. There is no need to maintain a facade. In some sense, this brutal honesty is great; in fact, it is often a relief,” explains an article in A Conscious Rethink. In such a relationship, you can talk about things you can’t in a romantic relationship, you can openly discuss your own drawbacks and ask questions which we may not be able to ask our romantic partners.
Romantic relationships are sensitive and need to be nurtured. Platonic relationships are less sensitive and can endure brutal honesty. You “don’t have to worry about keeping peace. You and your platonic relationship partner can part ways for a certain amount of time, and you can come back to it when the wounds have healed,” writes Lachlan.