My dictionary defines ‘platonic’ as: free from physical desire. Platonic relationships are those relationships between men and women where there is ‘no physical desire’. However, this isn’t always true.
I believe that the only times a relationship between a man and a woman is truly platonic is when:
- They’ve been in a relationship and it’s ended, and after a period of time for adjustment, they have moved on and accepted the relationship is over
- The man is gay and therefore has no desire for the woman.
- The man is in a satisfying relationship already, and therefore has no desires for the woman who is his friend.
- The man finds her sexually unattractive to him, and there is no feelings of desire.
If any of these conditions are met, then there is a platonic relationship.
Many women believe that they can have purely platonic relationships with men, but quite often those men are simply holding back the expression of their desires. This is because they know that she is either uninterested in them sexually or romantically, or she’s unavailable; or he’s unavailable himself – and yet he still desires her. And so she’s completely surprised when, after months or years of what she’s considered to be a ‘platonic relationship’, he suddenly blurts out his desire for her. It usually ends in the end of the friendship, or it becomes friendship that just isn’t as good as it used to be. Very rarely does it turn out positively, where it results in a romantic relationship. Sometimes the friendship can become stronger, but it certainly requires hard work and maturity from all concerned.
One of the biggest reasons a man will find himself attracted to a woman is often because she simply talks to him, and gives him her time and attention. To the man, this is an ‘obvious’ sign that she likes him! Also to the man, ‘like’ means ‘wants sex’ or a ‘relationship’. However, the man is conflicted when she doesn’t give out any of the other signals that he expects from a woman who is attracted to him. She doesn’t act shy around him, or doesn’t touch him, or doesn’t do any of the other things that he’d expect from a woman attracted to him. So he keeps his feelings to himself, hoping that one day he’ll either have the courage to talk to her about those feelings, or that she’ll ‘recognise’ her own ‘true feelings’ and declare her undying love for him. This is the fantasy of the platonic man.
I used to be such a man, many years ago. It almost seems like another lifetime. I used to think that any woman who gave me her time and attention was attracted to me. If she was remotely attractive, I immediately developed an attraction for her. I was often confused about why my friendship with her wasn’t getting me the results that I dreamed about. I thought that being her friend would result in us getting into a relationship. And when I eventually told them about my feelings, they told me that they just didn’t think of me like that and wanted to continue the friendship. Like the average fool, I interpreted this to mean that they just weren’t ready to talk to me about their feelings, and that I needed to persevere. But of course, it never worked out.
Most men are insecure. They are crying out for attention, and when they get it they think it means love, and they latch onto it and try to develop it. The truth of the matter is that it’s not the love of the woman that they are seeking – it’s their own love for themselves.
It’s about masculinity, and accepting that you’re a man, with manly desires and needs. When you can appreciate your own masculinity, it gives you confidence and platonic relationships take on a whole new meaning. For a start, when you are confident with yourself you will find that you can be choosy about your preferred partner. You will want someone who fulfills you, instead of just any woman who gives you attention. Women want a confident man who doesn’t hang on their every word or gesture. Rejecting your masculinity in order to be what you think the woman wants is a mistake, as you’re only rejecting the essence of who you are.
When you appreciate your strengths, you won’t need to latch onto the attention of women to raise your self-esteem. You will have enough of it already. Instead, you will be able to develop a quality, intimate relationship with a woman who satisfies you emotionally, physically and spiritually, AND you will be able to have platonic relationships with women who offer something else in your life, like shared hobbies or interests.
Preferably, you will build that quality, intimate relationship with a woman who accepts that you can have platonic relationships with other women. But don’t forget the golden rule: keep your pants zipped!
If you find yourself in the situation where the only reason you’re friends with a woman is because you think you love her but you know she doesn’t feel the same way about you, you owe it to both of you to stop seeing her as much as you currently do. Change your relationship so that while she might still be in your life, she’s not the one you’re looking to for that hoped-for relationship. Look elsewhere. When you find someone who is actually interested in you romantically, only then can you go back to the first woman and really be her friend. You’ll find better friendships this way, and more fulfilling relationships. It starts with being true to yourself.
Of course, there is the possibility that the woman is waiting for you to make the first move, that maybe she can’t read the signs either. Love between two people can arise in many ways, including one person declaring their feelings and then the other realising that they feel the same way. The concept of this article isn’t about building hope that this happens though, it’s instead about building strength and confidence in yourself so that you don’t feel the need to latch onto those women who give you their attention.
It’s about finding the strength in yourself to do what’s best for you. The way you apply your own strength is up to you, but you need to start today.
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