“I’m not ready for a serious relationship. I just want to be friends.”
What does it mean for a man and woman to be friends, but not serious? The question, by implication, assumes that friendship is not a serious relationship. Where are the fine lines drawn between friendship, casual dating, and serious dating relationships?
What makes one relationship serious and another casual? Friendship is probably the easiest to distinguish, as it does not involve either dating or sex. Casual dating is said to differ from serious dating, but who knows what that difference is when the lines are unclear?
Sex may be included in both casual and serious dating relationships. Sex remains casual in casual dating relationships and is only considered serious in serious dating relationships, though sex involves the same acts in both relationships. Makes a lot of sense, right?
Maybe friendship is just a more acceptable designation that, at face value, legitimizes a sexual arrangement that is called a friendship. When a person is not emotionally available for serious dating, but doesn’t want to spend all of their free time at home alone or out and about alone, that’s understandable.
A great alternative would be to spend quality time with genuine friends. Most of us already have close friends, male and female. Friendship provides a great space for a man and woman to enjoy great times together without many of the problems that typify dating relationships.
The downside is that while friendship offers a break from many of the stresses of non-platonic relationships, it also excludes some of the benefits that many seek in casual relationships, sex being at the top of the list.
It seems that the best of both worlds is a desired hybrid relationship that gives the benefits of both without the problems or responsibilities of either. It’s like a person who wants a cat that looks and acts like a cat, but barks like a dog. Unfortunately, no such animal exists.
Cats don’t bark, no matter how much a person may want the benefits of both animals in one. The same is true of friendships and serious relationships. It’s the inner workings of the relationship that distinguishes it from the so-called serious relationship.
Genuine friendship between a man and woman should never be reduced to meaninglessness because sex is not a part of the relationship. The inclusion of sex in a relationship only adds value in a context where sex is the consummation of a sacred covenant not a fraudulent substitution that temporarily fills a void that only love can fill, not sex.