The terms love and friendship are often confused by many people as they hold different meaning for different people. Both love and friendship can co-exist in the same relationship but falling in love is different from friendship.
Friendship vs Falling in Love: While friendship is built over years and you can choose your friends, falling in love happens without choice and you do not know when you fall in love. Stable love relationships are often based on good friendship because it is built over time but moving from love to friendship is cited as impossible. Well changing relationships totally depends upon the couple.
Sexual Attraction: Even though close friends feel sexually attracted towards each other, this kind of attraction is intense when you are in love because of your true feelings. To quench the desire of immediate sex, you may feel sexually attracted towards your friend but that would not last for long. With friends, you will not have that feeling of gazing into each other’s eyes and walking hand in hand along the beach.
This is what separates love from friendship. You know you are in love when you have special desires that you do not experience in the company of friends.
Intensity of Emotions: The intensity of emotions is far more than what we see in friendship. Sleepless nights, jealousy, anger, passionate desires, sexual desire, the desire to hold and kiss are all emotions experienced in love and not friendship. Though friendship can have jealousy and anger too but as mentioned earlier, the intensity is not so high.
The test of Time: Psychologist Elaine Hatfield reports that love lasts for anywhere between six months and 30 months, depending on cultural background and individual psychology. After two years or more, you start noticing the ‘negative’ part in your partner that was otherwise not noticed. Then the fights begin and you either pass the test of time or fail. By contrast, friendship may endure for decades. Many romantic relationships end when couples find that they have not built the solid foundation of friendship necessary to continue the relationship after love fades.
For love to last, liking and friendship is necessary. Love fades away but what keeps you together is liking and your bond as friends.
Idealization: When one falls in love, he/she idealizes the other partner as possessed with qualities that he imagines in his ideal partner. This happens irrespective of whether or not he/she has those qualities. When this idealization breaks, the relationship goes through a testing time. Few are able to take it ahead while others break-up. That’s the reason friendship lasts longer because as friends, we focus on what a person actually is and there is no idealization.
Possessiveness and Fidelity: Romantic love is characterized by possessiveness and fidelity. Lovers demand exclusive time and emotional support from their partners. Friends are not often jealous of third-party friendships but in case of love, both partners dislike the linking up with some one else. The desire for being “the only one” remains in romantic love.
So if you were confused between love and friendship, you must have got the reply. And if you are still confused whether or not to make your friend your lover, you must give it a thought and read the article once again to get your answer.