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What is the difference between romantic and Platonic love?

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#1 TheJaneWay


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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

Literally what is the difference, also how does each feel etc?

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#2 Storm Dancing

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:19 PM

It's hard to explain, I think.  I've had very close friends that I've had a lot in common with but I instinctively knew they were friends.  When I met the woman I was with for 15 years, her and I had a lot in common but....I felt differently.  I would call her to make plans, hoping and praying she wasn't busy, and was devastated if she was.  When I made plans with my friends, it was fun. And I enjoyed myself but it wasn't the same.  I hike alot and I'd meet friends to hike, and it was fun. But when I'd ask this woman to go hiking, I viewed it more as sharing a part of myself with  her that was important to me.  I don't think I'm explaining anything really well here,lol.  It's just a...different perspective.  A different...feeling.  I know this probably doesn't help very much.


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#3 Mysticus Insanus

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:10 PM

You won't get an undisputed opinion about that that everyone would agree upon... ;)


For me (and obviously lots of people will disagree, and that's fine :)), platonic love has freedom, respect, and equality for both, wishing the other part as much happiness and room for growth as oneself has; basically, you remain individuals who interact with each other in a loving way.

Romance (which I don't think really is a form of love, anyway) is about claiming ownership about someone and using them as a drug/tool to fulfill emotional needs because you feel unable to cope on your own; basically, you give up individuality for symbiosis, and will feel the need to fight against any sign of individuality/independence both in yourself and the other.


As I obviously don't want romance-as-I-define-it in my life at all, I mostly use the word platonic in the sense "not sexual" instead of "not romantic", as "platonic love" is kind of a pleonasm for me anyway (if it's romantic, it isn't love... like, duh).

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#4 Vampyremage


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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

For me there's a physical side of romantic love that doesn't exist with platonic love. I have the desire to be with my object of romantic affection more often than with those of platonic affection. I have the desire to be in physical contact, to touch, cuddle and caress and such is non-existent with those I have platonic relationships with. I feel a deeper emotional connection with those I feel romantic love towards, more trust and the trust has to go both ways. There is a desire there to see them happy and even better if I'm the one to help them achieve that happiness.

What romantic love is not, to me, is an expectation of ownership nor is it an expectation of exclusivity. For my romantic partner, although I very much enjoy knowing I make my partner happy, so too do I enjoy when others are able to achieve the same. My partner's happiness is important no matter who is responsible for it. I find it fulfilling to watch my partner, for example, make out or be intimate (not necessarily speaking sexually here) with another because I know what that means to him and I am made happier through his happiness. With platonic love, such is more of a novelty than anything and I don't get the same kind of emotional fulfillment out of it.
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#5 AetherRose



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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:03 PM

IMO it's an intrinsic desire to be together and continue with the relationship that separates romantic love from platonic love, as well as physical closeness that one doesn't use (or is unlikely to use) in a platonic relationship ie. holding hands, kissing etc. (keeping in mind that there are exceptions to every rule). There is also possessiveness or exclusivity in a romantic relationship that just doesn't exist in a platonic one, and that is a desire to use the two other components in a way that is shown only to their SO and not to anyone else.

I also think you could benefit from looking at Robert Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love, which explains the differences between different types of love.

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#6 ithaca


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:03 AM

Literally what is the difference, also how does each feel etc?


If you're interested in reading past threads about this topic:

Can Platonic Love Be Just As Powerful As Romantic Love?

Platonic and Romantic Love. where does one ends and the other begins?

Platonic Love vs Romantic Love - What is the fucking difference?

What's your ideas about platonic love?

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#7 DrWatson



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:48 PM

Scarily, these definitions mean that I'm apparently in love with my best friend! I think the difference is kind of blurry, and up to the individual how they define it.

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#8 Tenebre



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Posted 28 December 2012 - 10:00 PM

Scarily, these definitions mean that I'm apparently in love with my best friend! I think the difference is kind of blurry, and up to the individual how they define it.


Yeah, same. *laughs* For me, I've definitely experienced platonic love but I have yet to experience something that I could pinpoint as romantic love. All my friends tend to be either relatively casual acquaintances or very close friends that I'm emotionally and usually physically close to.  I would say that the way that I know that I love them is I care deeply about their well being, have a desire to share large amounts of time with them, and want to really know them and what they're thinking. For one of my friends this also extends to wanting to cuddle a good deal but that doesn't really apply so much for the other but this could just be that the other one is less comfortable with physical contact. 

How do I know that this is platonic love and not romantic? Well, frankly, I don't know and it's something I've debated with one of my friends because there's been times when it might have been romantic. The other one it's easier to know because that line has clearly never been crossed. So comparing the two, I can say with the second friend there's less affection between us. Our friendship is based more on common interests than a mutual attraction. We aren't quite as open about discussing our emotions and deep personal thoughts. Certainly we can talk about them but it doesn't go to the same depth. But I know these aren't determining factors because other people's friendships do have them. Sometimes I think it's just a matter of knowing which I'm horrible at and still struggle to figure out.

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