We live in a world where romantic relationships are prioritized over all other forms of relationship. A romantic partner is advertised as the ideal person, someone you can bare your soul to and also have a pleasing physical relationship with. Romantic love is magical, transformative, something different and better than a friendship or a relationship with one’s family. We are told to seek out this type of relationship from a young age. While it is important to have friends in your life, they are really just placeholders until you find someone to be with romantically. Your relationship with your friends can’t possibly be as deep and meaningful as the ones with your significant other.
I completely disagree with what society says about friendships —especially with friends of the opposite-sex. People assume that men and women can’t be “just friends” because sexual attraction will get in the way. But why? Is it the same with gay, bi, pan people? Does the fact that I am attracted to women mean I can’t “just” be friends with other women, that there has to be some deep down repressed sexual desire that will someday ruin my platonic relationships?
People need to stop making everything about sex and romantic relationships. It is very possible to develop a deep connection with someone and not want to sleep with them. It is very possible to maintain a meaningful friendship with someone through all of life’s chaos, even when you or the other person gets involved in a romantic relationship. Society seems to expect us to drop our friends, or at least distance ourselves from our friends, when we begin a new romantic relationship. This romantic partner is supposed to take up all of our brain space and time until we don’t and might not want to spend as much time with our friends anymore. I am not denying that this is often what actually happens when people start dating someone new. Our brains turn all mushy and confused and make us focus on all the wrong things. What I’m saying is, it is possible to push through that and to maintain a healthy, meaningful relationship with your friends. And, often, they’re the ones who will be there for you when your relationship falls apart, as long as you haven’t distanced and alienated yourself from them.
Platonic relationships are, to me, extremely important and cannot be replaced by any other type of relationship. I have bared my soul to my friends and they have bared theirs right back. One of my closest friends currently lives 5,000 miles away from me, but I feel secure in our relationship nonetheless. I am not afraid of losing my friend to any other form of relationship, of losing touch, or losing connection and emotional intimacy. I know they will not forget about me. We are best friends. We don’t need to be in the same place in order to have a meaningful talk—we can text and videochat and stay up to date on each other’s lives with ease. We don’t need to know every little detail about the other person’s day, but we are of course always open to hearing about them anyways. We can share what we want and withhold the rest because we know that when the time is right, they will share it. I value our friendship so much and the great thing is that I know they do too.
I am not saying romantic relationships aren’t fun and exciting and wonderful. I simply believe that platonic relationships should not be cast aside as any less than romantic relationships, because they are just as important and powerful.