What is the difference between Platonic and Romantic Love?

So now that I realize I’m asexual, I also realize something else… I kind of view, and have for years been viewing, all “love” as platonic. I didn’t realize it, but it’s true. If you look up platonic in a dictionary, it claims platonic means “free from physical desire” or even “Transcending” it. When you look at an ideal husband and wife’s love, for me at least, it’s never about how sexually attractive they find one another, or how much they enjoy holding hands or any other kind of physical thing. It’s about how comfortable they feel talking to each other about anything/everything in their lives, and how they feel each other’s pain when something goes wrong in only one of their lives. When a spouse dies, my thought never goes to how they aren’t gonna be able to have sex again and that’s why it’s sad for the grieving widow(er). No. That’s not really the sad part. That’s sad too, if sex made them happy, but the love connection that is severed is one where a person who knew all of your secrets, hopes, doubts, and fears is gone. The only other person in the world with the same point of view toward your children. Etc. It’s about not having that person to talk to anymore, or to enjoy similar food or music or television shows with. Maybe it’s about not having anyone to slow dance with anymore when you attend weddings, or sleep in the same bed as… or some other things in life usually reserved for romantic adults.

I’m trying to figure out for myself if I am a romantic asexual, or aromantic and just looking for platonic love.

And in order to determine that, we need to decide on what the difference is between romantic and platonic love.

When someone is in a romantic relationship, it usually means monogamy, whereas platonic relationships are allowed to be plural. Advocates for polyamory suggest that because in general, people already understand how it is possible to love multiple family members or platonic friends, why not be able to love multiple romantic partners at once too, and in their case romance is almost always implied to be sexual as well. Many people also cite the idea of how it’s serial monogamy, not a single monogamous partner for life, that works for people, that they naturally are polyamorous anyway. After all, if you have had sex with more than one person and enjoyed the experience with both, it doesn’t mean you’re a cheater – you could’ve broken up/gotten divorced or your previous partner could’ve died. And of course there can be sex without love, and as both asexuals AND anyone who has ever experienced platonic love can attest, there can also be love without sex. But polyamory is about the cases where sex and love go hand-in-hand – and I support the idea of polyamory.

Imagine two sisters who when quite young sleep in the same bed together. There is nothing romantic about that. They could slow dance at a wedding and be being cute. They could grow up and regardless of if they’re asexual or not, if they don’t experience sexual attraction for each other, they could keep doing these kinds of things and it’d be platonic and “innocent” enough. Hypothetically, they could live together like “old maids” and have a deep platonic love bond. People might pity them as lonely and deprived of a love life, but they might have everything they need to be happy. They might enjoy each other’s company a ton, and know each other better than anyone in the world. They could even adopt a child together, or raise a niece or nephew if the child’s parents both couldn’t due to death or incarceration or some other reason lol, and have everything a romantic married couple might be thought to have. 😛 Everything other than the sex. And for an asexual like me, that sounds like a completely full life. I don’t want the sex. I don’t miss it. What I want is a life like that. I don’t have a sibling who wants that life, though. I don’t have a close friend who wants to spend their life with me rather than a potential spouse.

So that makes me want to go out looking for romance too. I want to be able to have a wedding to celebrate the love I have with one special person. I want to have “one” special person. Why? I thought I supported polyamory. Why does it have to be just one?

I think the answer to why I want to be monogamous, even in my search for “platonic” love, or asexual romance, is because everyone else seems to be. And because I don’t want to live alone. I’d be okay with living with a roommate who I felt really close to, a super close friend or family member, even potentially raising a child with them, and that person also having another super close friend they leave the house to go hang out with often. I could bring over other people who I have close platonic bonds with. There could be many loves in our lives. But I need someone special who is the person I live with. The person I spend the most time with. The person who shares my dream to raise a child and makes that dream possible for me – because single parenthood just doesn’t seem like a feasible option, regardless of how many people do it. Most single parents get help from grandparents or nannies/full-time babysitters. You can’t really do it alone. And while children aren’t for everyone, they’re part of my endgame goal for my life. I want to adopt a non-infant child, or foster. Not because of the sex involved in creating a biological child, but because those kids need someone.

I still can’t decide if I’m romantic or not. I thought I was heteroromantic for the longest time. Heterosexual really, because I didn’t realize I was asexual. I thought I, a female, liked guys in that special way. But now… I think I could “fall in love” with a fellow young woman in just the same way. I probably only thought of guys in that special way because I had friendships with girls my whole life but not many with guys. Because if I don’t think of girls in any way more than platonic, I assumed I must be straight. But that’s not true. The truth is I’m asexual, and I’m looking for a special Platonic Life Partner, or it could be Romantic but without sex – the labels just get confusing. Some people call it Queerplatonic or Queer Platonic too. QPLP. I think that is what I want. 😉 I just… I wish the definitions were more clear, and I wish it was easier to find other people looking for the same thing.


For people who came to my blog searching for the difference between Platonic and Romantic love, consider reading this post: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/i-have-looked-through-what-search-terms-have-brought-people-to-my-blog/ about search terms that have brought people to my blog. Also, consider reading various other posts of mine, as I write about these topics fairly often.

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13 thoughts on “What is the difference between Platonic and Romantic Love?

  1. How do you feel if your significant and ex sleep in the same bed together with their own blanket. There is nothing romantic about that.

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    1. Wait, so my significant other? Like I’m hypothetically in a new romantic relationship, or even queerplatonic partnership or something, but I think “They are my significant other” and that one person has that spot in my life? And they’re now in bed with “my ex”? I’m just confused by the question. A little. But in general, I think… I think sleeping together in the same bed can be very intimate, and always has been, even when you’re a very young child sleeping with parents or other kids. As a child, it’s a way to feel safe, or sometimes when there is limited bed space, a way to make it so everyone has a place to sleep, but it is fun to sleep next to someone you love, even if it’s just a family member, especially if you can find some time to talk in the dark before going to sleep. However, it can also be uncomfortable to sleep in the same bed as someone. You can find yourself kicked by someone in their sleep, or wishing they weren’t hogging the blanket. You can find yourself afraid of waking someone else up. Wishing you had your own bed. They might be cuddling with you and you’re getting hot and uncomfortable lol.

      Either way, I sort of do think the bed thing certainly doesn’t have to be romantic.

      However, if you don’t sleep in the same bed as anyone else, other than your romantic partner, then this bed-sharing thing is part of what makes your “romantic relationship” unique and special and different than your friendships. It can be termed a romantic thing. It can be something some romantic people only want to do with romantic partners, not non-romantic ones. In that case, I think calling it a romantic thing would make sense, if the people want to call it that.

      But that’s where my confusion comes in, because I think almost anything can be romantic, if you want it to be, but at the same time it can be non-romantic if you want it to be. 😉

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  2. I feel just like that. Like anything I might’ve felt toward guys might’ve been caused by me thinking about the possibility because society planted the idea in my head. And if I lived in a gay society, it’s easy to imagine it being the other way.
    And if I’m not totally aro, I like the idea of falling in love with a girl a lot better than falling in love with a guy.

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    1. I think because I’ve had some amazing male relatives in my family (my dad, my brother, my recently deceased uncle) combined with the fact that all of my close friendships over my lifetime have been with female people, I feel pretty torn about if I’d prefer girls over guys for any reason or guys over girls. I’ve made a followup post to this bog post that explains in my detail my own confusion: http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/80399396144/i-think-im-wtfromantic-or-maybe-heteroromantic-or But yeah it is really a tough thing to figure out. I may truly be aromantic. I do feel like I relate to the aromantic community and what aromantic people have to say a lot. But I also think I’m not much different than the heteroromantic or biromanti/panromantic folks I’ve come across.

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  3. Wooow. I feel just the same way as you’ve said. Is like all my live I’ve though I was in love with some boys but now I realize that’s not true. Ive only felt for them platonic love and now when I think about having a relationship with a boy or a girl I feel like you. Like I want to have someone special to share my life with but sex is never on my mind. What do you think I might be ? (Excuse my English. I’m from Spain.)

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    1. Well, do you know about asexuality (“asexualidad”, en español)? Look here: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexualidad

      I’m an aromantic, wtfromantic / quoiromantic, asexual person. It sounds like you might be somewhere on the asexual spectrum, if you relate so strongly to “Sex never being on your mind”, but only you can determine for yourself if that fits or not. I recommend you check out this website: http://www.asexualityarchive.com/ as a good starting point for deciding if you might be ace (asexual) or not. There are also Spanish-language resources for asexual people various places, such as all of the ones listed here: http://www.demigray.org/post/131809351992/international-aces-visibility-linkspam

      As for the romantic orientation stuff, that’s even more complicated.

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  4. “I’m trying to figure out for myself if I am a romantic asexual, or aromantic and just looking for platonic love.” I hear you on that. I don’t like to date. But I never rule out the idea of being demisexual if I were in a relationship, because I’ve never had the opportunity to find out. I suppose I lean aromantic. I like the idea of platonic love a lot but it seems impossible to find. I’d also say if anything I’m heteroromantic; I can’t imagine being in a relationship with a woman, and with a few exceptions all my fictional crushes are male. I’m also more invested in reading about fictional relationships than being in one myself. It is indeed complicated.
    This is an interesting read, and I think the more conversations we can have about the whole spectrum and fluidity of sexuality the better.

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    1. Hey, this post of mine feels so old and I feel like I know so much more now than when I wrote it. About myself, about romantic orientations and even about the topic of what this post was about. But this post remains my most well-read post. I’m glad you didn’t cringe when you read it. I definitely think more conversations about this would be really useful to see around. I wish more people talked about it. The Carnival of Aces this month is around the topic of “Platonic Attraction” so I’m hoping that sparks a few more new, brand new posts. I will write, before February is over, about how and why I’ve finally settled on labeling myself as aromantic after years of not being sure what I was. 😛

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