Myth or Reality?

Platonic, according to Merriam Webster, is of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex. Hmm .  .   .maybe someone can explain this to me.  Apparently, in recent years, there has been a surge in “serious” relationships across genders referred to as “platonic.”  With women and men co-mingling in the work force, “serious” friendships (between opposite sexes) have become part of the new relationship wave.

Large amounts of literature in the form of magazine articles, blogs etc. have surfaced regarding this phenomena (for this blog, I’m referencing male/female platonic relations). “Boundaries” arises as the catch term of the articles as well as “feelings.”  “Boundaries,” these articles/essays suggest, are important because one wouldn’t want one’s significant other to feel threatened or jealous by spending too much time with one’s platonic friend.

One is supposed to be honest about “feelings” as well. If romantic feelings are present, then how can the relationship be platonic? Another definition, according to Plato, says that a relationship is platonic if romantic feelings are suppressed. Not sure if Freud would agree with that one. While Freud would not address the morality of the ideology, he was not a fan of people repressing feelings.

My question is, can women and men (in committed relationships) have true, platonic relationships outside of their committed relationships?  I’m talking “serious” platonic friendships here. Hanging out all the time. Talking on the phone for hours. Sharing emotional intimacy.

I have no doubt, being a heterosexual woman, that I have deep, platonic love for my best, female friends and that my love for them is just that, platonic. Yet, I’m not buying this modern definition of the “serious” platonic relationship (based on a philosopher who lived between 429-423 BC).  Am I totally old school in believing that, when one is in a committed relationship (whether married or BF/GF), maintaining “serious” platonic, opposite sex friends is pushing the envelope? Again, I qualify the opposite sex, platonic relationship as large chunks of time spent with each other.

Yes, I do have male friends in committed relationships. I am single. However, I am conscious of my “friends” realities and act accordingly, as acquaintances or professionally (if work related). We’re not shooting the breeze, grabbing lattes and dishing.  I can close with the realization that I’m content to be single. If I enter into a BF relationship again, we will need to view this issue in a similar manner. Otherwise, it won’t work for me. I’m peeling a label and sticking it on this blog, “serious” platonic friendships outside committed relationships, busted. Convince me (okay, try to) otherwise.


4 thoughts on “Myth or Reality?”

  1. I found this blog because I am struggling right now. My marriage has been very isolating. Both of ours faults. he’s a bit jealous and kind of pointed out to me early on that only sluts go to bars… so i stopped, which put a big curb on me making friends. then i had two babies really close together… so three years into my marriage and i’m only just starting to try to make friends and find the “real” me again. the me which was very social and enjoyed mostly guy friends,hanging out, watchin tv. Stuff i now do with my husband. but I miss having friends. So i started chatting and texting a few guy friends of mine to try to restart up friendships and maybe even hang out. I”ve kepy my husband informed throughout the process. I would like to eventually include my husbands in my relationships but for right now i’d really like to just have them on my own. feel “cool” and “funny” again. nothing sexual. just a ego boost from having other people enjoy who you are. My husband gets to do this at work everyday. hang with the guys, do the harmless flirt with the secretary. normal stuff. i’m at home with two babies. i don’t get that fun social interaction. is this wrong? he got really upset that i would want “male companionship” outside my marriage.. but i just miss being younger, when it was easy and fun to just go smoke a joint, play some playstaion and laugh. am i being delusional and part of being married is having to find EVERYTHING you need in your spouse or just getting over it because you chose to get married and this is what you get?

    1. I was involved in a relationship for many years with someone who was very controlling and rigid regarding my actions and yet flagrant with his. I call it “the good ole boy syndrome.” There are black, white, and gray areas. What you are describing, hanging out with guy friends a lot, flirting etc. (gray areas) can lead to unintended results (black areas) (of course, your husband should be treating you like the beautiful person you are). I was home with my children as well and don’t regret a minute of it. However, I do regret not getting a babysitter and going out with my female friends more, finishing my college degree etc. Nothing can replace close, female friends (in my book anyway). They will stick by you if your man leaves (as mine did). Outside help (therapy) can be wonderful but only if both of you are honest. Otherwise, there’s no point. I really hope things work out between you two and, if not, know you will not only survive but become a stronger woman because of what you’ve gone through! xo

      Oh, and no one person can fill your every need. That’s why you need to love yourself and find some great female friends!

  2. Yes, I agree. That’s why I qualified it as “serious.” I didn’t understand the numerous articles I read in which men and women went on and on about their best friends, “platonic,” suppressed romantic” relations and I couldn’t help but wonder about the spouses.
    I, personally (in an 11 yr. marriage), lived with an individual who could not maintain “boundaries” with “non-serious” relations which eventually led to a “serious” relationship. However, that is a whole other blog 🙂 Can’t imagine beginning a “serious” relationship while already married. Can lead to “serious” trust issues when a relationship is founded on lies and deceit.

  3. Okay, Pam, in 26 years of marriage, I can honestly say “No Way.” I would be very upset if Dave had a “serious” platonic relationship. However, I have to caveat that – we both have numerous “un-serious” platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex. I think when someone is in a committed romantic relationship (like my marriage) they don’t WANT to hang out with other guys (or girls). I want to hang out with my husband. Isn’t that why we are married? It’s unfortunate, but I think that our culture today lends an air of frivolity to marriage – I can’t imagine why anyone who is married would want to have a “serious” platonic relationship with anyone of the opposite sex. It’s just asking for trouble.

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