Platonic, My Ass

Ok, so I alluded to this topic in my last blog, and I feel it's only fair to elaborate on my feelings about "platonic" relationships...especially since a few of you insisted on it. (Have I told you lately that I love you?)

Disclaimer: I am very well aware that most hangups when it comes to relationships, romantic or...otherwise, are a product of the opinion-former's experiences. I have to agree with this and am quite certain an understanding of my history would inspire anyone to cast aside my stance as a reaction to having been burned by The Lie. But I have tried very diligently to employ the scientific method when developing this theory, and I still conclude I am correct.*

My theory: there is no such thing as a close, platonic relationship between a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman (who are not related, though let's hope that is assumed).

"But Natalie," you say, "I have a guy friend who has been there for me for years and years and has never tried anything. My husband/boyfriend/current loser has met him and everything."

My reply: "He's secretly in love with you, dear, pining away while you carry on with Mr. Semi-Wonderful."

First of all, calm down. Put down the torches, dear villagers.

Second, think about it. Just for a second. I am not necessarily saying that all guy-girl friendships harbor a watch-the-kids-grow-old-together kind of affection, but I do think this arrangement can be very dangerous. I think any time a man/woman is close with a member of the opposite sex, they leave that unspoken door open to all sorts of mixed emotions and bad decisions. It seems that one person in the relationship inevitably feels more than the other. It could simply be a misguided "I've never been able to communicate with someone of the opposite sex before, ergo we have to get married" situation, but there's an inequality there nonetheless. An ulterior motive is present which will undoubtedly taint every action and/or piece of advice coming from this cherished friend. And, generally speaking, these feelings are unknown to the unsuspecting friend, which is where things go from subtly complicated to total disaster.

Please keep in mind, this theory is specific to close relationships. Catching up via Facebook with the cutie you sat next to in high school? Not a big deal (...for now). Having coffee with your long-time BBF (best boy friend) because you and your current flame got into another argument? Oh nelly...

I once heard on a radio station that some chef (citation is for shame, Nat) said that cheating is anything that dilutes the relationship. I couldn't agree with this more, and it really captures the spirit of my theory. If you have such a close bond with someone outside of your relationship or marriage, I think it is very easy to lean too heavily on that other person when the going gets tough, which it often will if you're doing it right. (This also goes for activities or social commitments that take away from QT, but that's another blog, too...)

Now, I am definitely a firm believer in same-sex close friendships and bouncing ideas off people, so I don't advocate enduring in silence until your partner can handle a good heart-to-heart. (I would have already been institutionalized had it not been for my amazing girlfriends.) But talking to someone of the opposite sex--whom you already deeply care for and trust--when you are vulnerable, sad, less-than-satisfied with your current mate (or just life in general) is a recipe for disaster and regret.

Since I wholeheartedly enjoy playing Devil's Advocate, I can acknowledge that sometimes the best relationships grow out of such troublesome circumstances. But go through the proper checks and balances before flipping the switch. If your mate isn't meeting your needs, give it an honest try so as to avoid nagging regret, maybe even seek counseling (nothing like an expensive, objective dose of reality), and if it's still a hot mess, be brave, know that you deserve better, and move on. Then, maybe you and your BBF can see if you are MFEO. But on your terms, in your time, and only because you can't imagine going through your current predicament without them, not just without someone. It's OK to be alone for a while. Because even if you're "alone," i.e. without a significant other, you're not really alone. If you don't have any one to call but your BBF, fix that. Don't be with someone by default. Everyone deserves the divine gift that is choice.

OK, I am sure that is enough babbling to effectively piss off everyone who read this. But I stand by my theory. I have observed it and experienced it sufficiently to hold strong to it. If you've been fortunate enough to have a successful BBF (or BGF, for you gents) relationship, my hat goes off to you and I would certainly love to hear how you've managed. But I do believe you and your friend would be the exception, not the rule. A beautiful exception, for sure, but an exception nonetheless.

*Though, who doesn't think they're correct? Being right is just more fun, yes?


  1. Wow! I could write a blog about your blog. Can't completely keep quiet on this one, but I've narrowed it down to two comments. 1)It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all(trust me, I know) 2) Never, ever get involved with someone else's significant other-period.

  2. it's funny reading this from a girls perspective, considering that they're on the receiving end of the feelings, for the most part.

    guys on the other hand, had to learn this concept early if they wanted to venture out of boyhood and emerge as men who could have meaningful relationships with women.

    you don't know how many girls either realize this... or choose to ignore it. leaving us stuck there thinking that there's a chance at a relationship. it fucking sucks. and honestly, the one time it happened to me (hard), it changed my life forever.

    google "the ladder theory". it fully illustrates everything you just wrote.

    at this point though... the older i get, the more i realize i'm not really bound by all this. getting hung up on girls that are friends... or living in one of those relationships where you secretly want to date someone is a waste of my energy.

    sucks for you guys though. considering i just have to worry about myself. you have to be suspicious of every dude around you ;)

  3. What if one of them is a paraplegic? OK, out of fairness to the creepy wheelchair chasers out there, we should probably pretend it's the guy who's paraplegic in this scenario. Dead from the belly button down; the penis no longer gets an opinion.

  4. How much do I wish I would have read and believed this post years ago? More than you will ever know. Live and learn, I guess.

  5. I will agree with you on this point, but I don't think it's always, or even usually the guy pining after the girl. It's very often the other way around.

    But I agree with the basic, men and women can't just be friends, one will always want to sleep with the other.

  6. Stewart - I definitely agree that it goes both ways, more often as you described. I just used that dialogue as an example and am definitely giving my input from the female perspective since...well, duh. Haha.

    I don't like absolutes and I think a lot of people may misunderstand this blog. But I'm just putting it out there that (in my opinion) CLOSE male-female relationships can get into the gray area very easily, which is really only a cause for concern if there are other parties involved (spouses, significant others, etc.). It's not always about just sex either, which is sometimes the most confusing and dangerous justification. But, again, that's just my perspective, yo.

  7. I couldn't agree with you more, especially about talking "innocently" with that sweet friend about your work woes or relationship woes, or anything emotionally distressing at all for that matter. Complete recipe for disaster!!

  8. Popping in from Shine's blog. You sound awesome!! =D