Published in The Huffington Post: When Your Best Friend Is Not Your Lover
When your best friend is not your lover, are you really in love? Of course! There are all kinds of love, but sometimes it can be stranger than fiction. Love can often be painful and stifling. When you are in sexual love, life often stands still and it feels like there is no movement or growth. On the other hand, being in platonic love can be inspirational and uplifting as the heart soars and our senses heighten. Love is not always consistent or easy. Love is not always sexual. And possibly, as we get older, the concept of love may even be redefined as life’s circumstances change or as married couples realize that their individual needs are not being met.
And then there is platonic love – the pure spiritual affection that releases you from carnal desires and all the craziness that accompanies that sexual rollercoaster. Plato, the Greek philosopher, was a big proponent of this kind of spiritual affection. In fact, it is from Plato that we get the word platonic.
My Best Friend is Not My Lover
For the last 16 years, I have had a best friend who is perfectly heterosexual and married and he has never been my lover. He is a perfect fit for me as a companion – with one exception. He is British and considers himself “Lord of the Manor,” which doesn’t wash well with me at my advanced age of 70. Nevertheless, all love is an accommodation. We speak to each other every day because of our profound desire to connect and support one another. We have a loving relationship in the platonic sense with chaste touches and pecks and quick kisses. Our attraction has a combination of spiritual connection and physical energy that works well for both of us. We have always had clear boundaries with each other and they are never crossed. Peter and I are comfortable that way because our friendship means more to us than carnal knowledge.
I’m lucky and grateful that this fully conscious man cherishes me, respects my abundant energy and puts up with the crazy quilt of my life. He tempers his fondness for me with self-mastery and compassion. I am mystified at the way I handle this situation. I am never jealous, grasping, cynical or sad about the time he spends with his wife, home or at work. Our platonic friendship is individuated on the basis of giving each other space and time. We talk about everything, even my boyfriends or lack thereof. Since this is a meaningful relationship without physical attachment, Peter and I have no expectations or illusions about each other or about what our relationship should be. We simply share respect and devotion as it is manifests itself on a daily basis.
My best friend is not m lover. Or will he be? What if in the future my friendship with Peter will lead to more? How long can the sexual element be held at bay? How long can the spiritual nature of this bonding continue to inspire the mind and the soul only? Will I see and know danger signs when human nature becomes unpredictable?
Here are 5 risky behaviors that might compromise any platonic relationship:
- Excessive flirting and sexual familiarity can lead to unconsciously relinquishing sexual boundaries. It’s crucial to be mindful of the kind of sexual energy you give out. It’s more important to maintain respect for one another’s personal dignity and space.
- Too much attachment coupled with too much neediness can alter the natural dynamic of a platonic relationship. If you find yourself calling too much, trying to get too much face time, you will surely cross the boundaries of restraint. Attachment is the fabricator of illusions.
- It’s rather easy to take flights of sexual fantasy and link these daydreams into your platonic relationship. These moments will be in your head for only seconds because clear boundaries have previously been established, but too much daydreaming and fantasizing can become habitual.
- Platonic relationships require the development of strong, positive and honest responses to each other. Stay on topic, whether it’s politics, work, family, psychological problems or relationships with the opposite sex. Caution: skip the graphic sexual descriptions. Too much sexual content leads to inappropriate sexual thoughts.
- Don’t confuse romantic love with unconditional support. Platonic love is uncomplicated love without the strange behaviors that sexual love brings into a relationship. Your platonic friend is not a romantic friend. The sparks you feel for the other are intriguing attractions but keep them within the framework of reciprocity of chaste and profound emotions.
I have many platonic relationships and I cherish them all. The ages range from 35 to 72. With each of these men, I find an amazing variety of love and support, inspiration and solidarity. They all enhance my life.