Platonic Love Can Be The Greatest Love Of All

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Love Letters To My 20s: A Fortnightly Column On The Stigma Surrounding Our Twenties

“Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learned from my long-term friendships with women.” – Dolly Alderton, Everything I Know About Love.

It’s so easy to walk through life tunnel-visioned when you’re in a new, romantic relationship; you don’t seem to see your friends as much, and the world revolves around your new partner, even though you promised your mates that this would never be the case. It’s always something that you never realise you’re doing at the time, often being too-wrapped-up in what the future might hold for you both. But, sure enough, a few months or years down the line, you end up sat in your parents’ house, wrapped in a snot-covered duvet and chain-eating cheese toasties, single, and wondering how and when you got here.

I became victim to this realisation when I left a three-year relationship, aged 19, nearly two years ago. During the inevitable reflection, healing and soul-searching that comes with a break-up, I noticed that I had spent my time in a relationship only talking to my friends when I needed something from them (whether that be relationship advice, help with university work, or someone to lend me a tenner). I felt sick. Prior to falling in love, I had promised myself that I would never stray from the incredible circle of women that I had surrounded myself with. On a similar vein to Carrie in Sex and the City, I had a whole girl-band, made up from relationships formed from every walk of my life, who had become my soulmates – when did that change?

I had my sisters. Two of the funniest people I know who never fail to put a smile on my face or keep a secret.

My work-wife; the person who had seen me turn up to every 8am shift with a hangover during my first year of university, and met me outside with a Berocca and a McDonalds hash brown each morning, without fail.

My uni-mum; always there to convince me not to drop out, proofread every essay, and provide advice only comparable to that of a licensed counsellor.

I had life-long friends that I had known since the age of four; two of the only constants in my life who had been there through every boyfriend, mistake, life drama, and – of course – all of the very best moments, too.

I had friends who had gotten me through sixth form by making my laugh every day and holding private revision sessions at the bus stop before we went in for an exam.

I had all of these amazing, multi-faceted, complex, powerful, and unconditionally loving women around me this whole time, and I had basically ignored them for three years.

Friendships need to be treated with the same respect, effort and love as romantic relationships. A friendship is for life, not just for Christmas! A boyfriend does not trump every other person in your life, they should nourish, compliment and add to you, your wholeness and your pre-existing lifestyle.

And don’t tell me that it’s impossible to match the kind of intimacy that’s created in a romantic relationship. Intimacy in friendship takes time and work, just like it does in any other situation, and getting there is so worth it! Knowing exactly what your mates want and need in situations, understanding their thought-processes, and truly feeling as though you have met your match is just as exciting as the early days of a romantic relationship – in fact, possibly more.

You should fill your life with lots of different love. We’re doomed for failure and loneliness if we think that we will be completely fulfilled by a boyfriend.

Believe me when I tell you that platonic love can be the greatest love of all; it is the most rewarding, enriching, romantic, and beautiful experience.

Words by Morgan Hartley.


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