Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Forever Friends" (The Jewish Week)

An excerpt from my new JW column, titled "Forever Friends":
[...] It’s not that platonic, opposite-sex relationships don’t exist. But they’re complicated. Some “Forever Friends” stick around, hoping patiently that their platonic pal will someday see the romantic light, but this may turn out to be a painful mistake. “It’s like dating a man who is already taken, hoping he’ll leave her for you — it’s not the healthiest of beginnings,” says Julia, 28. Others find comfort in the rewards of solidly platonic friendships. “Once you grow closer to someone as a friend, the love you have grows more into a sibling type of love,” says Rachel, 24, “Soon you become so attached as friends that the attraction is almost completely forgotten. You end up knowing them so well it’s impossible to ‘like’ them any longer.” Sometimes that works. But when yearning deepens, friendship becomes impossibly painful. Unless other romances intervene or the love-stricken party accepts the impossibility of progress, feelings can continue, leading to soulful declarations met by disappointing reaffirmations with parenthetical, unvocalized caveat counterparts: “I think you’re great (but not great enough for me),” “You’re going to make someone (else) very happy,” “I don’t deserve you (I deserve someone better),” and “You know we’re better as friends (so I don’t have to tell you that I don’t think you’re all that attractive).”
Read more online, here.

10 comments:

Chutzpah said...

Had Sally not eventually married Harry after 12 years and 3 months, it would be easier to put down the torch, but I feel like I'm surrendering too easily if I don't wait a dozen years. Seems the recovery is easier when there are other romances on the horizon. The bittersweet memories of the ones you really thought you sparked with always linger, especially if you remain in contact whether by phone, email or in person.

Anonymous said...

...the object of your affections objects to your affections...Nice turn of phrase.

KosherStars said...

Funny you should post this, because on monday there is a similar discussion:

Let’s Just Be Friends: Are Platonic Relationships Responsible, Healthy, and Halachic?

Plan on attending?! :-)

Jobfound said...

I was once told by someone that I wanted to get more passionate w/, "I know you too well" lol.

She meant I think that the romance spark has to happen in the begining of meeting someone.

After that initial moment is gone, people lose interest. I never quite understood why this has to be.

Tyler said...

"When a girl says she likes you as a friend, what she means is: 'Rather than have sex with you, I would prefer to lose you as a friend.'" (Roger Ebert)

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Oh, G-d, can I ever relate to this one.

I was friendly with a girl for many years... we even dated once in college-- once-- then I got married. After divorcing many years after, we became more friendly again, and eventually got (very) serious. We were romantically involved for a relatively short time, and she told me that while she cared for me deeply, couldn't "love me that way", because even with the caring and the liking and the attraction, "it" wasn't there. I couldn't understand it at all until it was put to me thus: love is more than the sum of its parts.

Even after that I still don't completely get it, and I guess I never fully will.

She wants to still be friends.. I also want to still be friends, but I cant. Not now. I can't talk to her on the phone every day anymore, IM her all the time anymore, text message her little messages all the time anymore, confide things about my life-- certainly not my dating life- anymore. It's too painful. And it's painful that it has to be painful. Because I liked her; the liking was what made the loving so easy. (That, and the fact that she looked hot in jeans and heels.)

Ah, well. Onward and forward. But in order to be able to move onward & forward, I can't look backward or sideways. She'll want to show me photos of her vacation when she gets back. But I don't think I can sit in my/her apartment together alone and go through them with her. And telling her that will hurt her. And that will hurt me. But that's the way it is right now.

Maybe one day, when I fall in love with someone else, we can be the friends again that we were.

Panama Joe said...

I think that in a platonic friendship, there will always be "the person who, deep down, wants to date the other person" and "the person who just wants to be friends."

It's great to be the person who just wants to be friends. It sucks to be the person who, deep down, wants to date the other person.

My solution - never be the person who, deep down, wants to date the other person.

Do I miss out on a lot of potentially fulfilling friendships? Possibly. Do I save myself a lot of heartache and longing? Definitely.

Your mileage may vary...

Anonymous said...

The obvious deduction here - romatic interest generally happens only in the beginning. If you meet/date someone and you dont feel "that" way after the first few times of seeing them, it probably aint gonna happen down the road. Word to the wise: if you meet someone and you are attracted to them - let them know right off the bat. If they arent interested, move on and DO NOT LET IT DEVELOP INTO A PLATANIC FRIENDSHIP!

Lyss said...

link went to a Wedding Bell Blues column.....

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Thanks, Lyss...a year ago, it was an accurate link. I guess they're changing things up over there...oy.

Am fixing it now.