Let’s just be friends

Platonic relationships are alive and well in romance novels, Lifetime movies and cheesy teen flicks. However, in today’s society they have become a rarity.

You can say I see the cup half empty or that I’m pessimistic for thinking that platonic relationships are endangered or extinct because only few male-female friendships manage to stay just that. I’m not denying the possibility of such a friendship, but through the course of years, one wants more or a spouse rips this threatening relationship apart.

Friendships are normally built on a subconscious attraction, which makes either the lady or gentleman approach the other in hopes of something more satisfying. Physical attraction is hard to fight, especially when one person in the relationship undergoes a traumatic breakup or is dealt harsh news.

Take a moment and imagine this: A girl — we’ll call her Beth — has been a friend to Jake (some husky, well-groomed dude) since they shared the monkey bars in elementary school. Flash forward a few years: Beth has just discovered her boyfriend has been seeing someone else for the past six months. And there’s Jake with a pack of cheap beer and an understanding ear. Things get a bit intimate as Jake holds Beth closely in his arms and tells her, “You deserve so much better. You deserve a man who feels honored just to be with you.” Soon, the innocent friendship crosses that oh-so-thin line into a moment of sexual bliss.

That’s just one of the many ways platonic relationships bite the dust.

Once a friendship becomes intimate, certain things are expected from both sides. And a lot of times the pressure of being better than the man or woman that has wronged the other becomes rather taxing. Or should one want to remain friends and express that the one night they’ve shared is just that. This may leave feelings of resentment or rejection, which might lead to the end of a long friendship.

More platonic relationships are destined to crash and burn because one wants more than the other is willing to offer. And the closer you’re drawn in, the harder it becomes to get over this attraction, because soon it becomes more than physical. The need to have someone who fully understands you, someone you’re not afraid to be around, can become an intoxicating feeling. The impulse to take this friendship to the next level is only natural when you open yourself up to a member of the opposite sex, because this is also one of the first steps in building a strong relationship.

Isn’t the dream of being with someone who respects, understands and accepts your flaws something most people want? I mean, look around at pop culture: How many movies and TV shows glorify the crossing of a friendship into a relationship? The temptation is there; for many it’s too hard to resist.

There are those who will argue that these relationships exist and will offer a few examples, but secretly they know of more that have failed than succeeded. I’m not saying that platonic relationships don’t exist, but these relationships are more commonly found within the confines of unrealistic pieces of entertainment.