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Liù

Relationships and friendships - difference?!

29 posts in this topic

Hi,

I'm really confused. Since I came out as ace people keep asking me what the difference between a relationship and a really good friendship is when there is no physicalness like sex and kissing... and I have no idea!! Sure, there must be some difference, but I don't really see it and am really confused.

I had a relationship last summer and the feelings for my then boyfriend were somehow different from those for my best friend for example. But I'm not sure if they were actually different or if they just felt different because I thought that they were supposed to feel different... does that sound weird? :)

So what is the difference between wanting a friendship and wanting a relationship? How do I "notice" it? How do you experience frienships, love, squishes and crushes, if you have them?

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1 hour ago, Liù said:

Hi,

I'm really confused. Since I came out as ace people keep asking me what the difference between a relationship and a really good friendship is when there is no physicalness like sex and kissing... and I have no idea!! Sure, there must be some difference, but I don't really see it and am really confused.

I had a relationship last summer and the feelings for my then boyfriend were somehow different from those for my best friend for example. But I'm not sure if they were actually different or if they just felt different because I thought that they were supposed to feel different... does that sound weird? :)

So what is the difference between wanting a friendship and wanting a relationship? How do I "notice" it? How do you experience frienships, love, squishes and crushes, if you have them?

 

Well aside from the fact friendships do not normally include romance or sexual relations. Unless you are talking about FWB which only misses the romance. Culturally we have more regard for relationships are required socially to be kind to your partner and have some regard for them, unlike friends who a lot of people are kind of jerks to and take for granted. 

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It's all in how you feel about the person.

 

My squishes are similar to crushes, but there are differences. With a squish I want to hang out with them, I want to be friends with them, I want to talk and laugh and joke with them. I want to do the same with a crush, but I don't want to be friends. The idea of being "friends" with a crush is upsetting because that's not what I want with them, while the idea of dating my squish is unappealing- although usually not upsetting -because that's not what I want out of the relationship. 

When it comes to crushes, it's hard to explain but the feelings are different, even if a lot of the physical manifestations of those feelings are similar. Crushes hurt in a way squishes don't, in my chest next to my heart. There's a pain, a crushing, squeezing feeling in my chest, and I both desperately want to be around the person when I'm not and can't wait to get away when I am. It's almost like if you took the feelings of a squish and then shifted them over towards the edge of my heart and then squeezed.

 

It's hard to describe the difference between romantic love and platonic love. Hell, it can be hard to describe the difference between types of platonic love. I love my best friend. We've been friends since we were seven and I love her like a sister. I love my mom, but in a different way. The love I feel for both of them in equal in many ways, but it's very difficult to try and describe how they are different. But both are platonic love. When I was engaged, I loved my fiancé different than how I loved both my mom and my best friend. Three different types of love, but all love.

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Just now, Sherlocks said:

Well aside from the fact friendships do not normally include romance or sexual relations. Unless you are talking about FWB which only misses the romance. Culturally we have more regard for relationships are required socially to be kind to your partner and have some regard for them, unlike friends who a lot of people are kind of jerks to and take for granted. 

:huh: I'm rude as f@*& to my boyfriends. I call them names, poke them, tease them relentlessly, and even physically smack their arms and such. I expect the same from them in return. It's how I flirt and usually how the guys I like flirt. If I kick a guy, call him an idiot, and then tell him he owes me for putting up with his ass than chances are I'm pretty head over heels for the guy.

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what is the difference between a partner and a friend when there IS kissing and sexytimes and the whole jazz? imagine a lineup of all your friends with this one singled out. is that one singled out because you are allowed to mack them?

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@Sherlocks makes a good point with the friends with benefits. Next time someone asks you what is the difference between a close friendship and a romantic relationship without sex is, ask them how are close friends with benefits different from romantic relationships with sex. For the majority of people there's a difference, there's an emotional element that's different in the FWB and romantic relationship, and it can be hard to explain. Putting it in terms they understand might help them see what you mean.  No matter how close those friend with benefits are, they are not a romantic relationship.

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You don't want to fall asleep in a friend's arms on the couch or on the beach.

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8 hours ago, Nidwin said:

You don't want to fall asleep in a friend's arms on the couch or on the beach.

Why not?

--

Big factor: The term "friends" has been used inappropriately so often that it doesn't seem to hold much of a value for a lot of people.

 

To me, the only difference is limerence.

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The differences are different for everyone, I guess. For me there's not a lot of difference at all - I'll be as close and affectionate and whatever (if not more so) with someone I have entirely platonic feelings for as I would be with someone I have romantic feelings for (although I have a very hard time telling the difference between the two, so maybe that's got something to do with it). Really the biggest difference for me is what I'm calling that particular relationship.

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Yeah, I've found that this is a very individual thing... For me there's very little difference, i think.

 

A romantic relationship is just a very close form of friendship in my eyes; it's like a sliding scale in that the closer I am (in terms of friendship) to someone, the more comfortable I am with showing affection to them, and the more comfortable I am with sharing my personal bubble / private space with them. The closer friends are, the more time and priority I give them in my life, but with a romantic partner I guess this is dialed up to the maximum I am possibly capable of. I honestly don't think my feelings of affection really differ materially from what other people would call a close or 'best' friendship - the key difference for me is that with a romantic partner there is perhaps more of an element of exclusivity... I tend to feel like we're such good friends, we aren't this close with anyone else, and no one else will ever be closer (?). (Though... in my experience some people seem to want this sort of loyalty from their platonic friends too? I.e. BEST FRIENDS... but idk how that differs as I've always been uncomfortable with such friends.)

 

Thing is, I understand that my (non-ace) partner sees this very differently from me. We've talked about it, and she says that for her there is a very clear line between her romantic and platonic feelings and she feels that her romantic affection for me is very different from any platonic affection she feels for her friends.

 

Sometimes I feel really bad for not understanding this but I think that while for me there's no clear line and that my feelings for her have not changed much from the friendship I had with her from before we got together, from an objective point of view the way I express that affection is close enough to romantic that it doesn't really matter. Perhaps the few "crushes" I've ever had were really "squishes" by definition, but honestly I can't tell the difference. If other people experience something different from me I don't need to understand it - just accept it. Love is love, right? In any case, I've always identified as romantic, because I do feel I inherently want a Very Close Friendship with someone that is Exclusive, and objectively that is close enough to romance to be called that. 

 

It's interesting to see how people define these things for themselves!

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I agree that it's interesting to see how people experience the relationships differently.

 

For me, romance and friendship are two different things. Sure, my romantic partner can also be my friend, but I feel closer to my best friend emotionally than any other person. But there is zero romance there. They are two different sliding scales. Being aa close with someone as I can be does not equate romantic feelings/relationship for me. It's all platonic unless there are specific feelings involved. And once those specific romantic feelings are involved, they can be anywhere from Light Crush to In Love.

 

I also can't develop romantic feelings for someone over time. If I don't develop a crush within the first few conversations with someone, it just won't happen.

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On 20/03/2017 at 9:24 PM, Sherlocks said:

Well aside from the fact friendships do not normally include romance or sexual relations. Unless you are talking about FWB which only misses the romance. Culturally we have more regard for relationships are required socially to be kind to your partner and have some regard for them, unlike friends who a lot of people are kind of jerks to and take for granted. 

Huh, there are plenty of people who threat their partners like crap but are super nice to their friends.

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Asexuals can kiss, but people who ask what's the difference between friendship know the difference, they just must not be using their brains or are so caught off guard by the concept that they can't think straight. Almost everyone can spot a relationship; it's explicitly different from just being friends; they know the difference without seeing/having to know someone's having sex, and that's the only thing asexuality is; not desiring sex; anything can happen past that.

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You will know that you only want a person as a friend

When you are not getting jealous when they take actions romantically to other person.

 

Crush is not wanting to fap immediately.

Crush is a constant turn on you see on someone.

You may or may not want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with them.

 

Love is actually the care you have towards others.

If it is a love you want for a boyfriend/girlfriend thing,

when you miss his/her company and you are wishing

he/she is not doing(the good things or romantic things) to other people what he does to you.

 

@Liù you are an ace that why you are confused now but later you will understand.

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3 hours ago, CandyBuddhist said:

You will know that you only want a person as a friend

When you are not getting jealous when they take actions romantically to other person.

 

 

3 hours ago, CandyBuddhist said:

If it is a love you want for a boyfriend/girlfriend thing,

when you miss his/her company and you are wishing

he/she is not doing(the good things or romantic things) to other people what he does to you.

This definition only works if you assume monogamy: in open or polyamorous relationships where everyone consents to not being exclusive the love can be and often is certainly more romantic than platonic.

I have often also wondered what is and would be for me the difference between a very close friendship and a romantic relationship. I think at least for me the amount of affection and commitment and their combination would be the difference-maker. I might want to sleep next to a very close friend and even cuddle sometimes, but not with the frequency I would with a partner. I would be affectionate with a close friend, but much more so with a partner. If you want to think of "traditional" romance, which I really don't see the point of but which many people seem to like, I would go to a candlelit dinner with a romantic partner but not a friend. And so on. About crushes and squishes I don't know... I find both very anxiety-inducing and will try to kill those feelings right off the bat if I can feel something developing.

This is all purely of my own speculation, however, as though I have had boyfriends there never was any romance in the relationships and they were really more of a FWB-style things (except since I didn't like the sex I didn't get any of the benefits besides not being alone all the time).

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20 hours ago, Fox6 said:

Huh, there are plenty of people who threat their partners like crap but are super nice to their friends.

 
 

Regardless of the fact some people might be nice to their friends it does not change the prevalent attitude that we have more regard for relationships with lovers than we do with friends. Along with the idea that being a jerk to your friend is considered a social norm. 

 

Think about this scenario 

 

Your lover is homeless what do you do?(Partner will let them stay for free) 

Your friend is homeless(You direct them to a homeless shelter) 

 

Joke memes saying stuff like 

"Freinds go to lunch with you" 

"Best friends steal half your plate at the restaurant" 

 

Which shows we have an attitude that the jerkier you are to a person, the closer you are to them. Since friends are jerks to other friends. 

 

Forgetting a friend's birthday is not considered as bad as forgetting a partners birthday. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sherlocks said:

Regardless of the fact some people might be nice to their friends it does not change the prevalent attitude that we have more regard for relationships with lovers than we do with friends. Along with the idea that being a jerk to your friend is considered a social norm. 

 

Think about this scenario 

 

Your lover is homeless what do you do?(Partner will let them stay for free) 

Your friend is homeless(You direct them to a homeless shelter) 

 

Joke memes saying stuff like 

"Freinds go to lunch with you" 

"Best friends steal half your plate at the restaurant" 

 

Which shows we have an attitude that the jerkier you are to a person, the closer you are to them. Since friends are jerks to other friends. 

 

Forgetting a friend's birthday is not considered as bad as forgetting a partners birthday. 

 

 

That all depends on the person, I personally wouldn't have any more regard for my partner than I would my friend. And if my friend where homeless I would be inviting them to stay with me for free so fast. If my partner where to forget my birthday I would just remind them with out being bothered by the fact, and I would do the same with a friend. Plus that stealing food thing to me just symbolizes being totally comfortable around someone, not how mean someone is. I'm always open to sharing my food with the people I love, no matter what type of relationship it is, heck truthfully I've shared food with acquaintances. I think you're friends just tend to take your food instead of asking because they know, or at least assume that you are close enough that you don't care, and that you are always open to sharing. Besides if my friends really where jerks to me, I wouldn't be their friend, because true friends don't treat their friends like trash, or at least they care if they do, so when they find out they've hurt you they apologize and try to be better.

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1 minute ago, brōkn sōl said:

That all depends on the person, I personally wouldn't have any more regard for my partner than I would my friend. And if my friend where homeless I would be inviting them to stay with me for free so fast. If my partner where to forget my birthday I would just remind them with out being bothered by the fact, and I would do the same with a friend. Plus that stealing food thing to me just symbolizes being totally comfortable around someone, not how mean someone is. I'm always open to sharing my food with the people I love, no matter what type of relationship it is, heck truthfully I've shared food with acquaintances. I think you're friends just tend to take your food instead of asking because they know, or at least assume that you are close enough that you don't care, and that you are always open to sharing. Besides if my friends really where jerks to me, I wouldn't be their friend, because true friends don't treat their friends like trash, or at least they care if they do, so when they find out they've hurt you they apologize and try to be better.

 

That doesn't change the social attitude. 

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9 minutes ago, Sherlocks said:

That doesn't change the social attitude. 

No of course not, but social attitudes aren't everyones' attitudes. I'm not trying to argue here, or be difficult I'm simply stating that everyones' perceptions are different, and we should never let the social attitudes get in our way when figuring out how we feel. Though I will note that out of all the movies and TV shows I've seen I can't really think of one where someone in serious need, (like being homeless), wasn't allowed to stay with there best friend, but again I guess that just happens to be the kind of shows I watch.

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Hello, Liu.

It’s really different for everybody. We’ve had this discussion with my partner. Since he is poly, it’s especially difficult for him to draw the line between a very good friend and a romantic interest. For me it’s crystal clear even without sex – the partner is the one most relevant person, the one with the most influence on your emotions, general happiness etc.

So you may come to the conclusion that for you there’s no principal difference between a friend and a partner or you may find one in time – something that works for you and explains things more than it complicates them.

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While some relationships are poly, the majority of relationships are exclusive. Friendship is not exclusive, in fact it is generally considered positive to have many friends. It's no problem to be friends with someone who has an incompatible sexual orientation but  the odds are against a successful relationship with them. A relationship is often heading towards either a break up or a more committed state such as marriage or living together or coparenting, while friendship is more likely to be in a steady state. People often have serious talks about where their relationship is heading, but rarely have talks about where their friendship is heading. It's fine to be friends with your sibling but generally frowned upon to have a "relationship" with them.

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On 23/03/2017 at 8:43 PM, Sherlocks said:

 

Your lover is homeless what do you do?(Partner will let them stay for free) 

Your friend is homeless(You direct them to a homeless shelter) 

 

 

OK, I do kinda get the point

 

but I think quite a lot of people would let their best friend stay for free if they were homeless. I certainly would. I wouldnt dream of directing them to a homeless shelter if I had a spare room. I mean, they are my close friend right? That's what close friends are meant to do for each other, help each other out in hard times. They would stay for free until such time as they had the finances to pay (ie were claiming benefits etc) 

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12 hours ago, nanogretchen4 said:

While some relationships are poly, the majority of relationships are exclusive. Friendship is not exclusive, in fact it is generally considered positive to have many friends. 

Can’t really agree with that. I’ve counselled so many people, claiming that “There can only be one best friend!” and plagued with jealousy over things like “She spends more time with Mary than with me!” Granted, most of these people were in there teens and tended to idealize different things – not just friendship.

Actually, maybe that’s the point? We’re taught to idealize relationships much more than friendships? Expect much more from a partner? The examples, given here, state that a partner is expected to provide a home (and other aid) if need be, to be much more compatible with you (like in bed and personality-wise) and so on. Many younger people expect pretty much the same perfect match from a best friend. Many older people, creating new couples in their late 40’s and 50’s, don’t expect such compatibility even from a partner.

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Okay, this thread got me thinking. I knew that there is a difference between the friendship and romantic/platonic relationship. But, well. Is relationship more than friendship? I wouldn't say that. Is it different? Yeah but how. Because it's not romance. You can be in a relationship that is platonic. And I got it! 

 

For me it's intimacy. I don't want to be intimate with my friends. Even when we are close. I met my closest friends in preschool when we were 3. So yeah, we know each other pretty well. But I still don't want to be intimate with them. So I got my answer and I hope that it's even just a little helpful for you. 

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On 28.3.2017 at 1:14 PM, cinary said:

For me it's intimacy. I don't want to be intimate with my friends. Even when we are close. I met my closest friends in preschool when we were 3. So yeah, we know each other pretty well. But I still don't want to be intimate with them. So I got my answer and I hope that it's even just a little helpful for you. 

@cinary What do you mean with intimacy? Where does intimacy start? Because I hug my friends or we cuddle... Is that already intimacy?

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Generally the difference is, are you intimately connected beyond what you would be with a good friend? If you are then it's a relationship. Usually that involves sex.

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I believe that it's as always complicated and you are the only one who can answer this question for yourself. Because this are different things for different people. I cuddle with my friends too. And still it doesn't feel intimate. It's just comfortable and friendly. You can do the same thing with a lot of different people and have as many different reactions to it. Intimacy is just a feeling. And I guess it's kinda hard to describe. 

 

And I wouldn't say that it's more than just being friends. For me it's just different and I've never like when people said that a relationship was more then friendship. It's not. 

 

And no. For me intimate doesn't mean (quite obviously) sexual. It's not the same thing. Like people have one night stands and they have sex and everything but they are not intimate because they don't even know the person they are with. They just have sex. It's physical. And intimacy is emotional. Because as I said it's not what you do. Just what you feel. 

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On 2017-03-23 at 9:43 PM, Sherlocks said:

Your lover is homeless what do you do?(Partner will let them stay for free) 

Your friend is homeless(You direct them to a homeless shelter)

Sweet mercy no! We might have different definitions of friendship here, but are they not supposed to be, if not the, then at least among our favourite people? I might not let any acquaintance stay with me, but a close friend? Of course! It is not even a question. And I did make a genuine offer of this once, which was appreciated, but turned out unnecessary in the end.

 

I mean, this has been said before in the thread, I just felt a need to speak also.

 

And the friend-best friend memes always confused me somewhat. I mean, I get what I think is the point. That you and your best friend are so comfortable with eachother that you can stand being assholes without it being a problem. I'm rather glad my best friend was never like that^^

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For me, the way I recognised it was romantic intention and demonstration. My last partner and I were complete saps, and we never did more than kiss, but we were special to each other. I think there's plenty I wouldn't do with a friend that I'd do as a partner.

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