Platonic friendships and your well-being, how do we maintain our platonic friendships????

Platonic friendships and your well-being

Platonic friendships, opposite sex bonding and attraction patterns… Is it possible to maintain & sustain a friendship with the opposite sex, or of the same sex if gay, without actually having SEX?
As an eternal ‘TOM-BOY’  “Definition  - noun -  an energetic, sometimes boisterous girl whose behavior and pursuits, especially in games and sports, are considered more typical of boys than of girls.” 
... And as a ‘FREE SPIRIT’ “definition - noun - a person with a highly individual or unique attitude, lifestyle, or imagination; nonconformist.  I can tell you that it is highly possible!

Meaningful deep friendships between heterosexual opposite genders (or same sex if gay) are possible, yet can be tricky, especially if at times feelings may become blurred or confused. The important thing is to think through the attraction! The initial attraction that you may feel towards your friend of the opposite sex is perfectly normal, and is nature’s way of bringing us into proximity.

Attraction connections have four components:

1. Physical Connection- a physical attraction between two people. This occurs when one person is attracted to the physical attributes of another person. Common thought associated with this type of connection: “Wow, I think he/she is so hot!
2. Intellectual Connection- a mutual interest in the same thoughts, philosophies, topics of discussion, books, social interests, news items, or hobbies. Common thought associated with this type of  connection: “We can talk about things,debate topics or hangout for hours- time just flies by!”
3. Emotional Connection- this super-mental connection occurs when two people can communicate deeply at times without words or without full verbal explanation, and is not just based on superficial body language. Common thought associated with this type of connection: “Boy, they just ‘get’ me! We could finish each other’s sentences or know what each other mean without saying a word while other people are clueless.”
4. Spiritual Connection- occurs when two people have similar spiritual knowing (as opposed to beliefs) and are on the same spiritual path or share a common spiritual purpose; they see a relationship as a respect for and encouragement of each other’s spiritual growth. Common thought associated with this type of connection: “I feel a sense of bigger purpose in our relationship- I think Spirit/God/Source/Universe conspired to have us meet!” A true spiritual connection can last the span of lifetimes.”
 In other words, when thinking through why you are attracted to, or drawn to this person, you would need to decide, is the attraction physical & aesthetic? Or intellectual? Emotional? Or spiritual,  as appose to lustful and sexual. Or are you just lusting after your friend in the hope that he or she may eventually have sex with you.  
The tricky part is, that if you have at least three or all four of these attractions, i.e. physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, then I’m afraid to say that you could be falling in, or are already in romantic love with your so called platonic friend…  In there lies the rub!

Conversely, it is very possible to be in platonic love as well “definition of platonic love - a pure, spiritual affection, subsisting between persons of opposite sex, unmixed with carnal desires, and regarding the mind only, and its excellence; - a species of love for which Plato was a warm advocate.”

 Platonic love would comprise of two or three, or even all four attraction elements i.e. physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual - BUT without any sexual interaction!  In other words, don’t have sex with your friends if you care about the friendship!

  “According to Post Media News, Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, the study's principal researcher, said men's behavior might be "more sexually opportunistic" as they "faced the risk of being shut out, genetically, if they didn't take advantage of various reproductive opportunities"

Platonic relationships can be wondrous, fulfilling and energetic when they work well – a non-judgmental friend of the opposite sex can offer you much in the way of objective advice, support, conversation, and differing perspectives –But Be realistic as well!, it just may well be that some of the deliberately suppressed tension within your platonic relationship, is what provides both of you with the spark to make it work so well. This never- physically fulfilled, but potential reality, can be the source of incredible creativity, discovery, problem solving and natural positive energy.
Some studies have shown that sustaining and maintaining platonic relationship(s) can promote longevity and well-being. This is due to the nature of social interaction, and the multitude of “feel  good hormones” released by the endocrine system during positive social engagement with the opposite sex in a platonic way.
 …And this may even give your romantic relationship with your partner or spouse an electrifying energy boost, of magnet proportions…

“Tis the perception of the beautiful, A fine extension of the faculties, Platonic, universal, wonderful, Drawn from the stars, and filtered through the skies, without which life would be extremely dull” --Lord Byron

"Ok, so how can we safe-guard our platonic relationships and our romantic love relationships?

1.       Understand that sexual tension and energy exists, this is natural and very normal!  There is always the possibility of sparks with someone of the opposite sex, who thinks and feels like you do. It's nature's way of getting us together (into proximity.) So if you have a jealous partner or spouse, or his or her religious & moral beliefs are in conflict with the notion of platonic relationships, then you are going to run into problems!!!

2.       Set some boundaries and ground rules, be open and honest. If you both agreed that having a sexual romantic relationship was off the cards, for reasons such as married status, work or study pressures, distance, religion, etc., the "potential" for a romantic affiliation hangs there unspoken. It is much better to make it clear that you have a friendship that matters, in which both of you care for one another in a sibling-like manner by watching out for one another and spending time together but that friendship is all it remains.

3.       Think of all the benefits of a platonic relationship. It helps to remember what is gained by remaining platonic rather than ever being tempted to throw that away in a moment of romantic weakness. The benefits of platonic friendships include: They endure because you trust one another and share a lot together at a spiritual, emotional and shared experiences level. You aren't plagued by the intimacy of romantic love and sexual relations, with all the accompanying doubts, jealousies, complications, etc. Neither of you need to perform in front of one another; you are who you are.  You can learn about the opposite sex from one another in a safe and uncompromising way. Both of you benefit from each other's perspectives on challenges facing you in relations with other people. There is always someone you can go to for genuine, fearless, and forthright advice - platonic friendships tend to have a quality that transcends the often unspoken competitive and conforming needs of same gender friendships 

4.       Reassure others who might be impacted by your platonic relationship. Where there are partners, spouses, lovers, etc., involved, it can be helpful to clear the air with them early on about the nature of your platonic friendship. Do likewise for your platonic friend's other half where politic. Stay out of potentially compromising situations. Acknowledge that sometimes the partner's concerns about your platonic relationship can be the hardest part of maintaining a platonic friendship. Your spouse needs to know that (a) you aren't talking or complaining about them, (b) you will be open with your spouse about what you say and do with your platonic friend, (c) there will be no secretive actions, and (d) you will not let the platonic friend supplant the relationship you have with your spouse!"

“No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” --
Francois Mauriac

 Examples of great platonic friendships: George Washington and Betsy Ross, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, etc. Also some famous fictional depictions include: Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, Maxwell Smart and 99, and Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.
 Live well & love well!
Marie Joshua Jones
Wellness Practitioner and Psychological Counsellor


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