I was in the ninth or tenth standard then and a friend took me to her house. There I met a very kind, elderly gentleman who was a professor and I was totally floored by his collection of books. As I got talking to him, I came to know he has been living with my friend’s family for the past decade. He was not a blood relation but as my visits to their home increased I realized her mother treated him like a father figure and listened to him mesmerized whenever he would be talking about some author or some book.
Years later, I had asked my friend what exactly was the relationship between her mom and the elderly gentleman. She had told me matter-of-factly they have a platonic relationship. And that’s when I wondered for the first time, what does it mean to be in a platonic relationship?
Understanding Platonic Intimacy
“They are in love with each other but there is nothing physical. My father understands their feelings for each other so when my mom decided that “uncle” would move in, it was cool. Our family might seem a bit odd to many people but I have grown up understanding the essence of a platonic relationship.” At that point, I was only in college and found it hard to wrap my head around this dynamic. I kept asking myself, ‘What is a platonic relationship?’
Is it really possible to be in love and not be physically attracted to someone? But now I know maybe that is possible and we do live many relationships like that in our life. One of the platonic relationship examples is between famous poet-writer Amrita Pritam and painter Imroz.
What Is Platonic Love?
When one talks about love, our minds usually picture the face of a partner or a crush. And why won’t they? Hundreds of movies everywhere have been dedicated to the idea of romantic love and its twists, turns and characteristics but nobody ever seems to speak of platonic intimacy.
Whenever we talk of love, as a tragedy or as a story of happiness, it is romantic love that we are usually thinking about. And while romantic love deserves all the sonnets and songs poets and writers have dedicated it to, there is one other side of love that usually goes ignored even though it is just as important in anyone’s life. And this platonic love.
Great epics may not have been written, poets might not have died pining for it but platonic love always was and will be a very important part of our lives. From the constant and comforting presence of a friend in times of need to the kindness by that one person whom you do not want to be romantically attached with but still has a special place in your heart, platonic love takes many forms.
In all of its different avatars, it has the capability of filling our hearts with as much warmth and passion as any romantic love would. So, without further ado, here’s why I think it is time that platonic love received the recognition of being as important as romantic love in our lives. But exactly what does it mean to be in a platonic relationship? And how is it different from romance? Let’s delve deeper into these nuances.
Related Reading: Are You Falling In Love Too Fast? 8 Reasons You Should Slow Down
Signs Of Platonic Love
If one is looking into the divide between a platonic relationship vs romance, the most basic difference would be the absence of physical intimacy. But apart from that, there are many facets in platonic love that includes the tendency to give more than take, to revel in the love and not think of what the future holds or the simplicity of just enjoying every moment of togetherness.
Platonic love simply trumps any labels. One does not consider that they are in a relationship, dating or in some kind of committed partnership that is a give and take. Platonic intimacy is already way above all that. It’s a sense of closeness that does not need any defining.
There are also many signs of platonic love that can help one understand what this is all about and what exactly is the platonic relationship vs romance distinction all about. We will also tell you why platonic love is just as important as romantic love.
1. It has no expectations of you
Sounds way too good to be true, right? Platonic love is a shoulder when you need one to cry on one. It reads the poems you write as you cry at night and does not point out the grammar errors and the fact that your nose is running. It does not even expect a good joke out of you and tells you that your humor sucks.
This kind of intimacy is there because it wants to be and not because it wants to get into your pants. Which is strange yet liberating. One can say platonic love is surreal and thrives on intellectual intimacy because in platonic love the mind and heart do all the talking.
When Troy fell in love with Michaela, it was right around the time she left the city to move to Chicago and pursue a new life. Troy had hoped Michaela would call often or keep in touch but he knew she was busy settling into the city.
Three years passed and Troy still loved her. To the point that when she came back into town, she rushed to him and he hugged her like he had just been waiting for her all this time.
2. It accepts you the way you are
This kind of love accepts you in all your sweaty and covered in chips kind of glory. And yes, we also mean that literally. It knows you are gross but it does not mind. Love persists here anyway, even though you might be pushed to take a bath once in a while.
No amount of body odor or hair in funny places is making them run (to think of it because you are not actually getting that close, that’s why). This kind of love is so pure and so beyond the superficial, that there is nothing that can make it ebb.
Related Reading: Is loving more than one person wrong or just different?
3. Platonic love understands and never judges
Well, it judges you sometimes, especially if you drunk called your ex again the night before. But it will also listen to what you have to say without judgment and try to understand where you are coming from. While it might also smack you atop your head while at it, it will always listen. And hand you tissues. Even if they are somewhat used already.
Over drinks one night, Michaela mentioned to Troy how she had met up with her ex when they lived in Chicago and she dated him again for a couple of months. Troy wasn’t appalled or shocked. He was a little disheartened but he understood where Michaela was coming from.
He felt it was only natural for her to do something like that and while he didn’t prefer that things went like that, he just wanted Michaela to be okay at the end of the day.
4. It also scolds you when you have done wrong
Platonic intimacy is strange and there are also some platonic relationship rules. It will hand you fresh tea and food in the same breath as scolding you for your recent mess involving a cute person and you being a potato. There will also be judgement for your poor hygiene and choices. It will also judge your tendency to judge others.
There will also be disappointment in you as because it expects much more from you. Till you crumble under the pressure. Once you do, that same love will pick you up and feed you chocolates till you can function again.
5. Sometimes, they know you more than you know yourself
From your favorite kind of tea to the exact seat that you like in a room, your platonic love knows it all. It also know when was the last time you lied to your mom about being busy. Probably because you told them when you were drunk. Your platonic partner often knows you more than your romantic partners ever will. Which basically means that they also get you the best gifts on your birthday and make everyone in the vicinity jealous.
One of the best platonic relationship examples in Troy and Michaela’s relationship is when he surprised her with tickets to Hawaii. He saw how she had been scrolling through this hotel’s page on Instagram. She mentioned a couple times that she really liked the private beach at the hotel and they had some funky Friday night activities. Right around Thanksgiving break, Troy knew what to do and bought them both tickets and a booking to the same hotel in Hawaii!
Related Reading: One-Sided Love Is No Less Intense
6. Platonic love is not selfish
Whatever platonic love is, it is not selfish. In fact there are no platonic relationship rules either. It is just raw and real connection without any strings. A strange weight is taken off a relationship the moment the people involved decide they don’t want to sleep with each other or get married or something. They just want to be there for you, by your side.
What does it mean to be in a platonic relationship? It means being with someone where no terms and conditions are involved. You can be platonically in love with someone without having any expectation from them. Too many expectations finish off relationships and destroy love. But with platonic love, you do not need to worry about that.
7. No matter who comes and who goes, it stays by you
They are the family that you chose, the ones always cheering you on even after you keep messing up. So, romantic partners may come and they may go, but your platonic love stays by your side no matter what you do.
Platonic love is simply happy to be able to share a moment of warmth and companionship with you.
Clearly, despite Michaela having been gone to Chicago for so long, Troy held onto his love for her and he did not even have to try. It is a thing that came most naturally to him. He knew that she’d be back and when she would, he would not be able to let her go. And he did just that.
8. Simply by being there, platonic love fills us with warmth
There is something very reassuring about this kind of love. Even if you have to pretend and have your act together for everyone else, when it comes to this kind of love, you don’t need to do a thing. You can be drowning in your sweatpants and covered with ice-cream stains at 3 am and it will be there to show affection even on the toughest days.
You might not speak for weeks or months but you know that it is there the moment you call for them. You do not want anything more from each other, just the warmth of company and of shared honesty.
This is something no romantic love can give us very easily. And this is what you call platonic intimacy, the ability to reach out to each other at the oddest of times and never be apologetic about it.
You may call them a friend or you may treat them as something more. Whatever you treat it as, you know that, in your life, it is irreplaceable. It is the person you first call when something goes right or very wrong. It is the person you are possessive about while both of you might be involved with someone else entirely. And while you don’t like to share them, you also know that they are more than just a romantic interest, a soul mate in all literal sense of the term. And they are the ones in your life that you really can’t live without.
Absolutely. Platonic relationships indeed are right on the border between romance and just great companionship. So it is possible to find a platonic love in your romantic partner. The difference between platonic relationship vs romance can sometimes just erode.
Because if you are lucky, they are often the same thing. If your romantic feelings towards someone remind you of how loved, cherished and valued it makes you feel, your relationship is indeed platonic as well. Platonic intimacy is about having a connection larger than romance and if you seem to find both in the same person, wow!