Can a Man and Woman have a Platonic Relationship

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  By Dr. Nero Cavaliere

 

    A platonic relationship is one that exists between a man and woman that is devoid of any sexual intimacy; being friends without benefits, as it is known today.  Is it unrealistic to think that a man and woman can maintain a purely non-sexual relationship?  I believe they can if, and only if, those feelings that first attracted them to each other do not evolve into deeper, more romantic feelings. That seems like stating the obvious, but the point we need to keep in mind is that the attraction between  a man and  a woman may  have different motives.   For example, a woman might be initially attracted to a man’s good looks, and a man may say it is the same for him, except for the fact that his attraction would be heavily influenced, or driven, by his male sexuality, the sensual aspect of his physical attraction to the female.  If, however, the man is not  physically attracted  to the woman, the chances are better that a platonic relationship can be sustained.  However, even  if their relationship is based on mutual attraction without sexual overtones, the possibility of  a platonic relationship maturing into a romantic one  still exists. The feelings of closeness, resulting from  intimate conversations, can  easily blossom into a romantic relationship right under their noses, without either one knowing or recognizing the change.  And, once that occurs, the inevitable  sexual intimacy follows and the platonic relationship ends and the romantic relationship begins.

      A few indicators of crossing the line between platonic and romantic relationships include: greeting each other with lingering hugs and kisses; frequenting the same restaurant and having intimate conversations over  dinner,  holding hands while walking; maintaining contact with each other throughout the day and before going to bed, via text messaging or cell phone. Behaviors such as these are not platonic, they are intimate. Because neither party has made sexual advances  doesn’t mean they won’t do so when the time is felt to be right, and when it does happen, more than likely it will have been instigated by the party who initiates the dance of seduction.  

    It’s a fact that most relationships begin as platonic but quickly take a different turn if the individual is driven by romantic motives from the very beginning. A man and woman may start their relationship on a platonic level with one or both maintaining a cautious  attitude as they explore each other’s nature and personality.  Eventually, if their mutual attraction  grows stronger, they will raise the level of their relationship to a romantic one.  Most people joining social network sites are looking for deeper relationships than just platonic and, as long as each party knows what is expected, these avenues of social interaction can be very fulfilling, of course with the caveat that one takes the necessary precautions inherent in interaction on a website.