2. Healthy boundaries
Although our platonic friends may not be as valuable to us as our romantic partners, we still love and appreciate them. Hence, we respect their personal boundaries. A Conscious Rethink explains “Platonic relationships require (especially in the beginning) strong boundaries. These are not normally discussed or negotiated the way steps are in romantic relationships, but they hover in the background nonetheless.”
New or evolving friendships might not have defined or established boundaries. As they begin to share more experiences with each other and understand and accept the differences in interest & attraction in the friendship, platonic love can bloom. The more they learn about the boundaries in the relationship and respect them, the more the bonding will strengthen. As the relationship progresses, we can realize which boundaries we can push and how far.
“Platonic love requires a lot of trust… You have to take care to build trust to ensure that your partners understand the nature of your relationship, and that it doesn’t pose any potential threats,” adds A Conscious Rethink.
3. No Expectations
Expectations are one of the main reasons why most romantic relationships become complicated. Oftentimes we have unrealistic expectations from our romantic and sexual partners and when they are not met, this can create a lot of conflict and complications and may even lead to a breakup. However, platonic love is not defined by these trappings of commitment, attention, loyalty and expectations.
Lachlan writes “You have no shared commitments – no family, no mortgage, no pets, no shared finances – so you don’t owe each other anything except friendship.” Having no expectations from each other is one of the biggest benefits of a platonic relationship. This is what makes it functional and lasting.
Read also: Why Close Friendships Can Be So Challenging
When it comes to platonic love, we usually act in a selfless manner. Despite how much you love your romantic partner there will always be an aspect of selfishness in that relationship. Committed relationships often make us behave and act in ways that might not fully reflect who we truly are. We act selfish to protect our partnership with our spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. Although we may tend to be selfless in love, we often have a selfish motive in even our kindest gestures towards our romantic partners. We want them to love us and invest in the relationship. “The relationship comes first and the needs of the individual sometimes have to be sacrificed,” explains A Conscious Rethink.
However, in a platonic friendship we do things for the best interest of our friends, irrespective how it might affect the relationship. We often back away from our platonic friend when they get into a new relationship or when they want to spend more time with their romantic partners. This is because we realize it is best for them even though it might not be good for our friendship. Platonic love teaches us to give space to those we care about. So we learn to let them go.
This is a selfless act and we don’t personally gain anything from it. However, seeing our platonic friend happy and content makes us feel happy, hoping we can reconnect again soon.
Platonic love is uncomplicated
Platonic relationships are not too complicated, unlike romantic relationships. However, it is important that you decide and clarify what this relationship is and where you should draw the line, warns author Lachlan Brown. He adds “If you are friends with benefits, great, if you are just friends, great: whatever you decide, decide ahead of time what your relationship is going to be and stick to it no matter what.”
It is this aspect of honesty and no expectations is what makes platonic love truly valuable. It is a relationship where you can be your true self, rely on someone for lifelong companionship and live your own life without worrying about losing your friend.
Platonic love shows us that we are loved and gives us new perspectives on how we should love someone: by being honest, respecting boundaries, letting go of unrealistic expectations and doing what’s best for the person we love.
Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful: