Psychology. How is love different from friendship?
Friendships and romantic relationships are similar in many ways, so sometimes they can be easily confused. Where is this fine line? What to do - stay friends or try to move to another level?
Psychologist Teresa Didonato explained how to sort out your feelings.
It is believed that the secret of a perfect marriage is that partners are, above all, good friends. Experts have repeatedly proved that if spouses manage to make friends, their marriage lasts much longer. But what if the feelings you have for your partner are purely platonic? What if we regard a man as a good friend, a strong support, but we do not consider him as a sexual partner at all?
There are a number of factors mainly associated with love relationships, even though they play a huge role in friendships.
Friendship and romance: what do they have in common?
1. Attraction. You can feel not only sexual or romantic attraction to a person. Friends are also attracted to each other. And if people communicate closely for many years, then in separation they are able to experience the same feelings as lovers.
2. Closeness. If we open our souls, share something intimate, a person becomes close to us. And if he shares in response, a strong bond is formed based on mutual trust and understanding. This can happen between friends and between lovers.
3. Respect. Proper love relationships are built on mutual respect, and the same applies to friendships. However, if you admire a person, this does not mean that you have a romantic interest in him. Friends whom you can sincerely admire will change you for the better, inspire you to new victories, and their respect in return will not allow you to lose heart even in the most difficult life circumstances.
4. Support. Putting your shoulder up in time is important both in friendship and in love. This promotes development, prosperity and develops the ability to stoically endure difficulties.
5. Pleasure. Being happy, laughing, having fun, and looking forward to meeting each other does not mean a romantic relationship. However, this is a clear sign of a strong friendship.
How is love different from friendship?
The key difference is intimacy. However, even here the boundaries can be partially blurred, if we remember such a concept as “sex for friendship”. But there are other aspects of a relationship that distinguish lovers from friends.
1. Common goals. Only lovers plan a joint future. Although friends may have common political, religious, and other views, their goals may not coincide.
2. Time and attention. In a love relationship, a person devotes all the available time to his soul mate, which is not found even with the best friends. Focusing on each other is an independent choice of lovers, and the attention received from a partner makes you feel harmonious. Conversely, if one of the partners (or even more so both) does not want to make efforts for the sake of the other, this may signal an imminent breakup.
3. Interdependence. The degree of interdependence is considered a key factor in a love relationship. Friends also face this phenomenon, but the lives of lovers are closely linked. When two are in a relationship, they transform "me" into "we."
4. Positive illusions. In normal relationships, people are fascinated with each other. Their ideas about a partner often have nothing to do with reality. However, this is completely natural. It is these sweet dreams that distinguish lovers from friends.
5. Influence. Of course, a friend can influence our decisions, goals, and preferences, but the beloved has a lot of power. The partner becomes a part of ourselves. In friendship, this is impossible.
6. Obligations. People often forget about responsibility, and it depends on this whether the relationship will remain within the framework of friendship or grow into love. The decision to start a romantic relationship speaks of stability and awareness. Despite the fact that most friends can be great partners, it is the decision to devote your own life to one person that is the key to a successful romantic union.