Get ready to get intellectual. This week, we’re tapping into V’s serious side.
V has answered questions on everything from pregnancy to porn, from dating to d**k size. I was asked a question recently, though, and I don’t think I know the answer.
What differentiates relationships and friendships, other than sex?
There are probably researchers in an office on this campus who have devoted their whole lives to this topic. Good for them. But they don’t have an answer yet, either – we’d know because we’re the all-seeing, all-knowing newspaper – so I’ll take a swing at it.
First off, V doesn’t think sex is what raises the bar in a relationship. Obviously, it’s a very important part (see: every other column V has ever written), but it definitely isn’t the defining factor in a romantic relationship.
I’m “friends” with plenty of people who’ve gotten between my sheets. I use quotation marks are because I think, deep down – like, real deep – I still have an emotional connection. But we’re not going to discuss that right now. I’m not in a relationship with any of them. I wish, but I’m not. It’s fine. I’m fine.
I have a friend I could call my “platonic life partner” – we do everything together. We sometimes even sleep in the same bed without any funny business going down. And it’s great. We have a really strong emotional connection. I love that friend in the same way I hope I’ll love my future real-life romantic partner. Sometimes it even feels like we’re in a relationship, but we’re not.
We have similar interests, we understand each other, we support each other and we give each other advice – all components of a great relationship – but there’s something in the gap between friendship and relationship that isn’t tangible.
It could be attraction, or it could be intimacy, not just having sex when you’re drunk, but real passion. Maybe it’s sharing feelings, being expressive and dismissing flaws you wouldn’t otherwise look past. Maybe it’s being able to see a future with them, being compatible on a deeper level. Or maybe it’s as simple as you both affirming that you want to be in a monogamous, committed relationship right at the same moment and going forward with that.
If sex defines a relationship, but relationships can exist without sex, what marks a relationship? I still don’t really have an answer.
Let me know what you think, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.