Defining exactly what love means is like trying to explain where rain comes from to a fish.
We just don’t have the right perspective to fully understand.
Take a minute to digest this. I will wait.
I know the difference between romantic love and platonic love.
I understand that these are different types of love, different ways of loving, and that love can change, morph and become something else – sometimes slowly, like melting ice, or quickly, like lightning.
The craziest part is that you can love multiple people so completely but in totally unique ways.
For example, the best man in my upcoming marriage will likely be a guy who, for all intents and purposes, was the first love of my life.
He’s my best friend and he’s grown up with me in a way that only someone who’s been close to me from day one does.
I would be lost without him.
Then there’s my partner, who will be the groom – of course, if all goes well.
I can’t wait to spend my life with this person.
Both must be by my side on my wedding day.
And both are the loves of my life.
But here’s the difference: one is platonic love and the other is romantic love.
Conflicts vs. commitments
When you love someone platonic, there may be little fear of conflict.
Fighting may seem like a minor risk.
Maybe the fight lasts a day, maybe it lasts a month, but you can always find your way back to him, him too because you love each other, and you spent that time apart growing up.
When you love someone romantically, commitment is crucial to your relationship.
It is important that you make the other person happy.
In fact, you are happier making each other happy.
Fighting is healthy, but all conflicts leave open and honest communication.
Otherwise, unresolved negativity can become toxic or burdensome.
When you have a real argument, the goal is to express yourself, be heard, and learn what needs are not being met so you can resolve your conflict in a way that you both feel heard and understood.
When reaching a commitment to your romantic love, communication is essential.
Being Honest vs. Taking into account
Being considerate doesn’t mean pushing things under the rug or lying to your partner.
When you love someone romantically, you take their feelings into consideration.
If you have something difficult to share, you can think of the best way to convey that message, or you can adapt it to their needs or emotional patterns.
“Talk, talk, talk to each other,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-aware Parent,
“Taking turns listening and talking is the seed that grows passion in relationships. We each want the same thing: to be seen, to be recognized, to be validated, loved and accepted – flaws and all.”
When you love someone platonic, however, you may be more inclined to make that clear.
Being extremely honest with the person can pay off by sparing your emotions, and besides, you know they’ll be there for you.
“Partner In Crime” Vs. Till death do Us part
Honestly, both types of love are eternal, but in unique ways.
If you loved someone romantically, and the person made a questionable decision, you would support them, but from afar.
However, if you love someone platonically, and they made the same decision, you would probably be their ‘partner in crime’.
“When you’re with a partner who’s always on your side and would never give up, you know you’re in good hands,” said Rosalind Sedacca, a certified relationship coach.
“Partners in ‘Partners in Crime’ mode are essential because life throws tough obstacles at us all the time.
We can’t always be the perfect partner we’d like to be.
So it’s important to have a partner who loves us for who we are – the rotten ones, the failures, everything.”
Of course, you never have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
If your partner’s or friend’s decisions affect your mental and physical health, it’s okay to take some time and space for yourself.
Your roots vs. Your future
When you love someone platonic, that love lingers in your life like coffee in the morning – it’s a fact.
You don’t have to keep thinking about that love or doubting that love, you don’t even have to recognize it.
Romantic love, on the other hand, is full of infinite possibilities.
It takes planning, creativity, choices, and decision-making.
You need to agree on where to go and what you want when you get there.
“When it’s time to talk about the future with your partner, it usually won’t come as a huge surprise,” Julie Spira, an online dating expert, tells Self Help In Focus.
“If you’re good at communicating with your partner, you’ll have had a lot of conversations about your goals for the future, and whether that includes moving together, getting married, or having kids.”
One keeps you grounded, while the other lets you dream.
Durable VS. Delicate.
Romantic love can be sensitive, emotional, and tender, which is not a bad thing.
Romance can be nuanced and special, passionate or pragmatic.
You ride the ups and downs of life with your romantic partner, and that’s what makes love so satisfying and dear.
Platonic love can be tough, unshakable, and unflappable.
It can take a long time to shake up a platonic relationship.
All the surprises in the world can come along, but this relationship can stay the same.
“Unconditional love means that despite the difficulties, you are sufficiently devoted to each other and committed to working as a team,” says Brown.
“Unconditional love tends to be much stronger and more lasting than romantic love.
You can certainly have both, but it’s unconditional love that endures.”
Both are beautiful, and special and should be cherished.