Platonic Love: Desire that Will Never Be Satisfied

February 18, 2018

Plato once said that we only love that which we desire, and we only desire that which we don’t have.

In his time, people were already feeling the devastating feeling we’re all too familiar with today, too: permanent dissatisfaction with life.

It’s like we’re always missing something, regardless of whether other people envy us or whether we have anything to complain about. There’s a constant emptiness inside us that we don’t know how to fill.

This feeling seems to happen most often in romantic relationships. There are so many people who idealize love. They need it to be perfect, in just the right amount.

This nostalgic romanticism, this love of falling in love (and not with any person in particular), is what makes us feel constantly unsatisfied. This idea of love is based not in reality. Rather, it’s based in the fantasy of what could be or could have been.

In the rare event that this platonic form of love leads to a relationship, the person feels elated, intoxicated. It covers up the emptiness that made them suffer so much.

The problem is that over time, they start to lose interest and return to the same platonic dynamic that they’re so used to: wanting something unattainable and taking pleasure in their suffering. 

Desire and pleasure

There are so many people who only find pleasure in desire. Longing, dreaming, hoping, and idealizing is what gets them going.

But when they actually get what they want, they get bored. Once they have what was supposed to make them feel complete, there’s no more room for desire.

They find something real and imperfect, and it never fulfills the expectations that they had when they were longing for it so much. 

Hearts burning with desire

They end up running away, escaping in search of a new dose of longing and desire. Because it’s what really makes them feel alive.

Although they’re suffering, it’s sweet and addictive. They think there should be something better out there. If there isn’t, then they still haven’t found it yet, and they continue on their search.

We too often think that happiness is found somewhere else. If we could only find where it’s supposedly waiting for us, the dissatisfaction would go away.

But finally we realize that it isn’t actually like that. In fact, we already have everything we need to feel whole. If we only knew how to change just a few things in our daily lives — ones that rarely cost money — we wouldn’t have to go looking for happiness somewhere else.

The problem is that we’re afraid of making those changes. They make us feel anxious and insecure, and so we cling to what could have been instead of creating our own reality. 

Learn to love what you have

It’s completely normal to want something you don’t have, and in most cases it’s a positive source of motivation. But when the desire becomes a need and leads to pain and suffering, that’s when you get stuck and start to feel empty, discontented, and unsatisfied.

Paradoxically, this way of living doesn’t let you live. You’re not free, but a slave to an idea of how you think your life should be.  

Therefore, it’s important to learn to love what you have, whether it’s your relationship, job, friends, or city. There are plenty of positives in all of those things that other people would want for themselves.

You have to wipe the stains of routine and disillusion off your glasses, switch out your lens, and voluntarily change the aspects of your life you don’t like. And do it with as much hope as possible.

Girl sleeping on heart pillow

If you’re able to appreciate and be grateful for every day you live, then you’ll stop missing the things you never had. You’ll learn to live in the present and be happy with whatever happens. You’ll accept adversity and get something positive out of every experience.

Stop letting your mind wander to the future and complaining constantly about your life. Stay where you are, take a risk, and change what you don’t like about your life.

But don’t long for perfection or impossible dreams that will never come true. What you already have is perfect, so why not start taking advantage of it?