What Is Platonic Love And Why You Need It

Updated May 1, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
”There are many types of relationships in life. Having a deep connection with a friend that is nonsexual in nature is an important one. These relationships can be just as satisfying and loving as intimate relationships. There is professional help available if you struggle with developing platonic friendships.”- Aaron Dutil, LPC

Platonic love is generally not a threat to romantic love

Platonic love is something we hear little about, but it plays an important role in our lives. Do you know what platonic love is and what it can do for you? It is time to change everything you thought you knew about relationships. If you're looking for guidance in your relationships, you can get help with online therapy. Discover what platonic love is and what it is not, why you need platonic love in your life, and what you can do if someone you love loves someone else.

What is platonic love?

The term "platonic love" comes from ancient Greek philosophy. The great writer and thinker Plato (c. 428 BCE-c. 348 BCE) touched on the idea in his famous dialogue, "Symposium," (although he never actually used the term itself). Written as a series of speeches which explore the various concepts of love, the work leaves the reader with an understanding that love goes far beyond physical attraction. In fact, love exists in intellectual and spiritual forms too.

What is a platonic friendship or platonic love? Today, we have simplified Plato's point of view. Love based on sexual attraction and physical intimacy is referred to as romantic love. On the other hand, love that involves no romantic intent or sexual attraction is understood as platonic love.

Platonic love can come from anywhere, but most generally it is used to describe strong friendships. In platonic relationships, there is no sex, no attraction, and no romantic involvement. The relationships often occur within the same gender, but heterosexual platonic love is common, too. This type of love can transcend gender, age, race, and sexual orientation to bring two people together.

In platonic love, both parties feel overwhelming gratitude, fondness, and interest for one another. These relationships, which often grow from typical friendships, turn into deeper and stronger bonds. Individuals who say they are in a platonic relationship may talk frequently about their happiness to be near one another, and their unique ability to stay emotionally and mentally connected despite living in opposite areas of the globe, or through temporary separations.

Why do you need platonic love?

Think of platonic love as having a best friend who is just as close to you as a spouse or beloved relative. Sometimes, the connection is even stronger. There are many benefits to having a relationship like this. Here are just a few to consider:

Platonic love is comfortable

Platonic friendships, unlike romantic relationships which often need a lot of work, tend to flow naturally. In platonic friendships, you can speak your mind, be yourself, and have a safe space. 

Platonic love is easy

Platonic love is effortless. Just as two close friends can spend hours talking with one another, or get lost on an adventure of their own, platonic friendship is capable of the same. Such interactions just tend to happen more often in this type of relationship. A true platonic friend fully accepts you no matter who you are, meaning you will likely not feel forced to put on a facade or be someone you are not when you are with them.

Platonic love is powerful

Very few words accurately describe just how intense platonic love is. Think of it as having a soulmate, but in a non-romantic sense. Individuals in platonic relationships are often very vocal about how important it is to spend time together and how much they enjoy having the other person around. 

This type of behavior is not the same as a lover who is too clingy. The connection in a platonic friendship is a spiritual love, one where the presence of one another is central to each person's well-being.

Platonic love doesn’t create pressure

Because there is a lack of romantic interest in platonic relationships, many challenging situations do not occur. There will never be pressure to get married, have kids, be physically intimate, or take part in any other behavior that happens in typical romantic relationships.

Platonic love doesn’t set obligations

Sexual relationships can involve unique insecurities. Moving the relationship at the right pace, coping with pressure to be intimate, and having suspicions of infidelity are just a few examples. In a platonic friendship, none of the above will be relevant. Because there is no end-goal to this type of relationship, the bond can form naturally and freely. Being there for one another is all that is important.

Platonic love involves deep connection

Have you ever thought about someone, and then they immediately called? Some would argue it is because you are deeply connected. With the ability to openly speak any thought, feeling, or idea with one another, a strong foundation of trust forms. The more trust two people have for one another, the closer they are.

Platonic love is healthy for you

It is a proven fact that the more support you have, the happier you will be. While you likely have a romantic partner or family relative who cares deeply for you, there is no harm in opening your arms to others who will appreciate you. Even a spouse cannot meet all of your needs all of the time. In these cases, a platonic friend is there.

Things to consider about platonic love

One thing to keep in mind -- violating the trust of someone who is only looking for a platonic relationship can have a devastating impact on them. Before you decide if this type of love is right for you, make sure you are not in it for the following reasons:

To get a door in

You might think that a platonic relationship is a great way to get to know someone better, especially if you are physically attracted to them but do not have the confidence to let them know. Part of the appeal of a platonic relationship is that there is no pressure for romance, but if you think you might be able to change their mind in the future, you are already breaking your potential partner's trust.

Platonic relationships are not a way to test the waters, nor should they be used as an opportunity to show someone what you can offer them. If someone agrees to build a platonic relationship with you, they have no interest in taking things further physically. Respect their boundaries and avoid a bait and switch.

To "help" them

Maybe the person you want to connect with is in a bad romantic relationship. Maybe they are making poor financial or career decisions. No matter what your opinion of how they live their life is, do not try to befriend them to help them navigate their challenges.

Friends are supposed to be there for one another, and in platonic love, even more so. But even in the shallowest of friendships, it takes time to build up that kind of trust. Do not try to come in to be a savior or martyr. Express your genuine concern about their choices when the time is right.

You need someone to talk to

A platonic relationship requires commitment, which needs to come from a place of sincere love for another person. Do not try to connect with someone simply because you are bored or in need of support. A friend is not your personal form of entertainment. If you are not truly invested in growing a deep relationship with someone, stay away from platonic love.

Platonic love is generally not a threat to romantic love

Guidance for navigating platonic love

On a final note, partners of people who are in a platonic relationship might be wondering if their loved one's behavior is normal. Feelings of jealousy, concern, and loneliness might come up from time to time as you watch the person you give your heart to bond with someone else.

There is no right or wrong way to feel when your partner has a platonic relationship. Take confidence in knowing that with genuine platonic love, there is no threat to your relationship. The reason the connection is so deep is that the person you love is having a need fulfilled that otherwise might be unmet.

You might think you should be the person meeting all the needs of your lover, but people are incredibly complex. Sometimes what brings complete contentment is not romantic love. If you want to learn new ways to be there for your significant other, simply ask them what they need or speak with a licensed professional at Regain. There is a way your partner can nurture their relationship with you, and keep their platonic love. A therapist can help you understand emotions like jealousy or guilt. They can also teach you strategies to build trust in your relationship. 

One of the great things about Regain is that the online therapy platform enables you to meet virtually with a licensed therapist from any location with a safe internet connection. Rather than having to leave work early or miss another important commitment due to driving to and from therapy, Regain enables you to schedule appointments at convenient times. This kind of flexibility and convenience may appeal to many people with busy schedules.

If you are seeking therapy because you feel your marriage or relationship is in jeopardy due to a platonic love, feel assured that many couples have sought online therapy for the same situation before you. In one study, researchers measured the difference in efficacy between face-to-face therapy and online therapy as interventions for couples experiencing challenges in their partnerships. Results highlight that there were no significant differences between cohorts, with both showing improvements in relationship satisfaction and reductions in their symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

If you’re interested in learning more about people’s experiences with online therapy, consider reading some counselor reviews of Regain online therapists below.

Counselor reviews

“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling at the beginning, but I truly believe that it is making a difference for our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”

“With Cassandra’s help, we’ve been able to bring our relationship to a new, healthier, and much happier level, working through painful situations, growing as individuals and as a couple, and with tools to stay on this path. She’s very responsive, and it has been great to have her facilitate our messaging through the app all week. I highly recommend Cassandra. She’s skilled, supportive, and down-to-earth. We feel totally comfortable with her.”


Platonic love is complex, and sometimes challenging to understand. This is because we are so used to understanding love in a physical sense. If you open your mind to what love can be, you can enjoy all the benefits of a relationship that speaks to you intellectually and spiritually. Remember, a platonic relationship is special and requires care. Trust is the foundation. Should you desire guidance in navigating a platonic friendship or accepting your partner’s platonic friendship, you can reach out to a licensed, compassionate Regain therapist for support.

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.