I love you, as a friend

By Kameron Brooke | Reporter

There are two big things I wish everyone would stop doing. The first thing is creating a platonic relationship with someone and treating them differently once one of you gets into a relationship. The second thing is thinking that masculine and feminine energies cannot be intimate in a platonic way.

What enriches the human experience is connecting with people who are different from you, and not all connections have to be romantic. Both platonic and romantic relationships can have a presence of love.

I spent a great amount of time in romantic relationships with the idea that if we were together, they could no longer maintain the same friendships with other women or engage with other women in the same way they may have before we established our relationship.

This mindset is hindering both individuals’ experiences and is bred from insecurity, which I definitely have struggled with in the past.

I think it is perfectly normal when you are in a romantic relationship for any interaction your significant other has with another person to make you territorial. But it is incredibly important to maintain a level of rationality and maturity and to realize that humans are meant to experience other humans. You may be a part of it, but you cannot be their entire experience.

If I established a friendship with you in which our dynamic is supporting each other, spending time together and talking all the time — and it is completely platonic — but you get into a relationship, why is it that suddenly the dynamic has to change because you have a partner who doesn’t understand it?

I think this comes from wanting to be in a relationship so badly that you don’t want any relationships outside of that to interfere, but the truth is, they can coexist. I’d go as far as to say they should coexist. As a couple, you cannot take up all the space in each other’s lives. The connection will suffocate. Soon enough, you won’t even be able to recognize it, or maybe it will end completely.

You can be loved in a platonic and a romantic way. The love in both can be pure and authentic. They don’t have to compete with one another.

I feel as though society has contracted this notion that men and women cannot be friends without it turning into something romantic. Dr. Tracy Shaw of UCLA said “people confuse intimacy and sexuality. Understanding the difference between the two concepts is important for those in cross-sex relationships.”

Establishing a close and supportive relationship doesn’t have to include sexual attraction. There can still be a presence of love in the connection, simply because you like each other’s energy.

There are benefits to not spending time solely with a romantic partner. Regardless, it is important to maintain an emotionally safe dynamic in which all partners feel seen and understood.

A partner cannot meet every single need, and that expectation can become unreasonable and put pressure on each person to perform. This can leave both partners stressed about the quality of their connection, weaken communication and often leave the relationship broken.

This is why friends are necessary. You need multiple people in your life to turn to for support, encouragement and different perspectives. Maintaining friendships fosters independence.

Oxford University researchers found that on average, once someone enters into a relationship, they lose two friends from their inner-circle.

As much love as your romantic relationship has, you both need to maintain your individuality and a certain amount of space. While it may be unintentional, people who love each other will hurt each other — deeply. It can be hard to see past that hurt and keep maintaining the relationship, especially when you’ve had no individual identity outside of each other in the first place.

Masculine and feminine energies can interact and coexist without it being perceived as romantic. In fact, they need to. Both romantically and platonically, the duality is important.

You do not have to be romantically involved with every single person you click with or have multiple things in common with. I can just love your personality, love what you do and love what you’re about. I love to support you, but I don’t necessarily want to establish a romantic connection with you. That’s OK.

These platonic connections can exist without your intimacy with your partner being compromised, and if they are indeed compromised, then that would be on you. Cross-sex friendships will likely always be more complicated than same-sex friendships because they require more communication and transparency, but they are still important.

Love is such a powerful thing that transcends the boxes I’ve seen people try to put it in. Love is not here to be dictated by those who are afraid to truly embrace it.

Love can be embraced in so many different ways — more than I feel people think. However, there are three sides to every story: my side, your side and the truth, which lies somewhere in the middle. I’ll leave that to you to decide.