Love and Friendship

Last night I read an article that pretty much seemed to postulate that platonic friendships between men and women were not truly possible. (Note: the article referred only to heterosexual men and women - no discussion of the dynamic in a friendship involving homosexual or bisexual men and women.) It was kind of a dumb article - it seemed to support one of the men it kept quoting, who said that platonic relationships were not possible because men are primarily only interested in sex, and there's no way men are willing to invest time in a woman without getting something back. (Obviously the guy is a douche, and no self-respecting woman would want to be friends with a guy who feels that way anyway.)

It did get me wondering though, about the male friends in my life. I'm not going to presume that they were sexually attracted to me - I have no way of knowing, and if they were, they didn't make that known to me. (Plus, not to get all pity-party on you, but I just don't think I'm that attractive.) On my end, though, there's been a mix: guys that I have zero interest in, and guys that I pursued as friends because I knew I couldn't have a relationship with them, but as I got to know them, the initial attraction went away (not that I found them repulsive, but the "urge" was no longer there), and a real friendship remained.

None of those friendships were level-10, best-friend closeness though. Except for one. One guy, who I got to know better because I was really attracted to him, and then we became really, really close friends, and then (for me anyway) some lines got blurred. Nothing happened between us physically (we were/are both attached, so that would've been cheating), but emotionally it was pretty intense, and in the end, a big fight caused us both to back off. And now we're distant friends, if even that. We don't even talk to each other anymore, except in passing.

I don't know if I personally am capable of having that level of intimacy with a man who isn't my boyfriend, ever again. It's too complicated, there's too much potential for drama and jealousy all around. In a way, it felt like a relationship all on its own, with its own brand of heartbreaking denouement. What separates friendship from a relationship? I would think, the physical relationship. Because it's absolutely possible to love someone platonically, but if there already is a romantic attraction and physical desire to begin with, it's too easy for that love to turn non-platonic. And then the dynamic is changed, and there is drama.

I acknowledge that it IS possible to have a platonic friendship with a man, but for me, I don't think I could ever do the "male best friend" thing, because _I_ don't have a good handle on my emotions. It's not because men are driven by sex and have no control over themselves - the article got it wrong there, I believe. I don't think generalizing does either gender any justice, because it implies that men are predators and women are teases. I think emotions and chemistry are a complicated matter, and for that matter, the human heart (the figurative one, not the literal one) is the most complicated thing of all, and it can't be boiled down to gender stereotypes.

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