“Friendship and romance are two words that just don’t go together for me.”
She said this as we were driving into Vancouver after a great evening of conversation and connection.
And connecting we were.
But her little monogamy wired brain just couldn’t wrap itself around the idea that I could experience romantic love for her, and yet still experience it for someone else as well.
This is known as polyamory, which I’ve defined as “openness to romantic love with anyone.”
For me romantic connection is based on friendship.
For her you don’t kiss or make love with your friends.
What’s funny about all this is if you are like most monogamy oriented people, you actually do believe your partner should be your best friend.
So really you do think friendship and romance go together…sort of.
The difference is that what your societal programming around love and relationships tells you, is that you normally have to experience a romantic connection first.
Then if that grows you eventually evolve your connection to include friendship.
If you just start out as friends you’ll stay in the friend zone forever.
But you cannot be with anyone long term solely on the basis of romantic love.
Everybody knows that!
So friendship must become a part of the equation eventually.
I think friendship should be the basis of romantic love from the start.
Not the other way around.
Why do I say this?
Because falling in love with someone you don’t even know is really a strange concept if you think about it.
I know it’s possible for you to experience attraction for someone you don’t even know.
When you get overwhelmed by how a girl looks if you’re a guy, or how a guy acts if you’re a girl, this can definitely trigger attraction in you.
If you experience this involuntary attraction response with someone, and move quickly toward being physical and sexual with them by kissing or making out or having sex together, it is very easy to believe you are “in love.”
On one definition of things this is romantic love and if this kind of chemistry is missing you can’t actually be in love.
Enter Kel with his crazy ideas about friendship being the foundation for romantic love.
That maybe you should actually know something about a person, before you conclude you’re in love with them.
Something more than just the massive attraction reaction you’re feeling for them.
I know. I know.
What planet have I come from?
But when you look at the success rate of starting the way most people do, it begins to make you wonder if maybe it’s the rest of the crowd who are from the other planet.
You see secure attachment is what solid long term relationships are made of.
Attraction isn’t unimportant because nature has wired us for it.
If we completely ignore it we’ll likely be in trouble.
But a secure attachment is the key to making relationships work.
And attachment is just another word for friendship.
When you have a connection with someone that is based on valuing who they are and what is unique about them, you end up becoming very affectionally attached to them.
Bonded to them.
They become your friend.
No you can’t have a hundred friends.
Yes often you develop a deeper bond for some people than others.
Sometimes someone becomes your “best” friend.
But even this doesn’t mean you don’t have any other friends with whom you share deep bonds as well.
Why should romance be any different?
Why shouldn’t you be able to be both friends and lovers after all?
Why shouldn’t you be able to have several Romantic Friendships, just like you do with any other type of friendship?
I haven’t really heard any emotionally secure sounding reasons yet why you shouldn’t.
Until I do I’m sticking to my guns and will continue to recommend you explore the possibility of approaching your love life in this new and different way.
A way where friendship and romance are not artificially separated, in the name of some kind of failed ideal.
Where love can grow along side of friendship, instead of being impeded by it.
What do you think? Can your friends be your lovers too?
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