Both loves are beautiful, but there's a distinction between them.
Defining exactly what love means is like trying to explain where rain comes from to a goldfish. We just don't have the right perspective to understand it entirely, but I do know the difference between romantic love and platonic love. I understand that these are different kinds of love, different ways to love, and that love can shift, morph, and transform — sometimes slowly, like ice melting, or rapidly, like a flash of lightning.
The wildest part is, you can love multiple people so completely and fully but in totally unique ways. For example, my maid of honor at my future wedding is probably going to be a guy, who, for all intents and purposes, was the first love of my life. He's my best friend and has grown with me in a way only someone who has been around me since day one could. I'd be lost without him.
Then, there's my future partner, who will be the groom — you know, if all goes well. I can't wait to spend my life with that person. Both must be standing next to me on my wedding day. And both are the loves of my life. Here's the difference, though: one is platonic love, and one is romantic love. Read on for all the key differences between platonic and romantic love to help you better understand all your most complex relationships.
Platonic Love Is All About Embracing Conflict & Romantic Love Requires You To Compromise
When you love someone platonically, there may be little fear of conflict. Fighting can feel lower stakes. Maybe the fight lasts a day — maybe even a month — but you can almost always find your way back to each other because you love each other, and you spent that time apart growing.
When you love someone romantically, compromise is crucial to your relationship. It matters that you make the other person happy. In fact, you are happier making each other happy. Some fighting is healthy, but the best conflict lead to open and honest communication. Otherwise, unresolved negativity can grow toxic or burdening.
“When having an actual argument, the object is to express yourselves, be heard, and to learn what needs are not being met so that you can resolve your conflict in a way where both of you feel heard and understood,” Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, previously told Elite Daily.” When reaching a compromise with your romantic love, communication is king.
Platonic Love Allows For Brutal Honesty & Romantic Love Requires You To Be Considerate
When you love someone platonically, you may feel more inclined to give it to them straight. Being extremely honest with them may outweigh sparing their emotions, and moreover, you know you'll be there for them to lean on.
When you love someone romantically, you’ll take their feelings into consideration. Being considerate doesn’t mean sugarcoating things or lying to your partner, but if you have something hard to tell them, you can really think about the best way to deliver that message, or you might tailor your message to their emotional needs or patterns.
"Talk, talk, talk with each other," Dr. Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, previously told Elite Daily. "Taking turns listening and talking with each other is the seed that grows passion in relationships. Each one of us wants the same thing: to be seen, acknowledged, validated, loved, and accepted — flaws and all."
Platonic Love Makes Up Your Roots & Romantic Love Represents Your Future
When you love someone platonically, that love sits in your life like coffee in the mornings — it's a given. You may not need to think about it, constantly tend to it, or even acknowledge it. It’s reliable.
When you love someone romantically, that love is full of possibility. It takes planning, creativity, options, and making decisions. You need to agree on where to go and on what you want when you get there.
"When it’s time to talk about the future with your partner, it usually won’t come as a huge surprise," Julie Spira, online dating expert, previously told Elite Daily. "If you’re good at communicating with your partner, you’ll have had several conversations about your goals for the future, and whether it includes moving in together, getting married, or having children." A platonic lover keeps you grounded, while a romantic lover allow you to dream.
Platonic Love Is Durable & Romantic Love Is Delicate
When you love someone platonically, your bond is usually sturdy, unwavering, and unconditional. It may take a lot to shake up a platonic relationship. All the surprises in the world could pop up, but this relationship may stay the same.
When you love someone romantically, your relationship tends to be sensitive, emotional, and tender, which are not bad things. Romance can be nuanced and special, passionate or pragmatic. You ride the ups and downs of life with your romantic partner, and that's what makes the love so satisfying and cherished.
“Unconditional love means that, despite difficulties, you are sufficiently devoted to one another and are committed to working this out as a team,” Dr. Brown previously told Elite Daily. “Unconditional love tends to be much stronger and more enduring than romantic love. You can certainly have both, but it is the unconditional love that endures.”
Both are beautiful, special, and meant to be treasured.
Dr. Gary Brown, prominent couples therapist
Julie Spira, online dating expert
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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