Here is the age-old question: Can a man and woman be friends and stay strictly platonic? The answer is “Yo and Nes”—each word, as you can see, is a combination of Yes and No. So, how do you know if your friendship with a person of the opposite sex might cross over into “dangerous territory?”

In the movie When Harry Met Sally, Harry declares that men and women can never really be friends because “sex always gets in the way.” In other words, at some point, one or both of them will have a sexual desire for the other. Is that always true?

Well, few things are always true. In the television show Seinfeld, Jerry has one night of sex with Elaine, and they both realize that they are better off as friends. But some platonic friendships last even if there has never been any sex. Here are some ideas to help you sort out your feelings, honesty and platonic relationships.

If you are happy with your life–including your love life, then you can most likely sustain a platonic relationship. Good friendships can offer another point of view and serve as a sounding board for things that bother you. Platonic relationships can add to genuine and meaningful social connections. Social isolation can impair the immune system.

However, if you are unhappy in love and life, then platonic-oriented relationships may be the first baby step into the love waters.

If this situation sounds like yours, read these 9 tips.

1. Get honest with you!

Ask: Why am I in this platonic relationship? What are my expectations?

2. Rate your unhappiness in your current intimate relationship.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 the highest degree of unhappiness, rate your answer.

3. Don’t let your need to be valued because of being a “Nurse Nancy” to your platonic friend fill your life.

If you can’t give up how your platonic friend makes you feel, then you might be robbing your existing relationship of depth and connection. You might also be using platonic emotional tape to bolster your self-esteem. Seek counseling to learn more about your emotional needs and emotional injuries.

4. If this person were not in your life, what would you be missing?

If your answer borders on “I would feel lonely, empty, misunderstood,” then you might need to examine your current intimate relationship to find out what you are not getting from your partner. Include asking yourself how you contribute to this situation. Why do you think the relationship has changed?

5. Observe what you and your platonic friend talk about.

Do you have gripe sessions about your current relationships? Are you sharing lots of things that your partner doesn’t know?

6. Don’t get hasty or stupid by having sex with your friend—and jeopardizing your current relationship.

Slow down. Keep a journal to learn more about you. Observe your reactions and interactions for about a month to learn about you and your partner and your unhappiness. Talk to your partner and offer solutions–NOT just complaints. Seek counseling—and stay with it—before you rush a decision or take actions that could be damaging. Never do things that require you to close a door without good cause.

7. Keep a journal of your life for about 2-4 weeks and see what you learn about you and your life.

Keep track of how much time you spend with your platonic friend. What are you taking away from your life and love partner? How often are you texting or contacting this person in any way, such as late at night connections.

8. Observe and value your partner’s expressions of jealousy.

Listen to your partner’s complaints and observe his or her reactions. What buttons is this platonic relationship pushing in your partner? Are their grounds for it? For example, do you and your partner have a history of cheating or separations?

9. If there is no reason for your partner to be jealous, reassure your partner of your fidelity and love.

Tell him or her all the good things about your relationship together. Explain to your partner about your platonic friend and how this person is like your friends of the same sex. Tell him or her how you would miss your platonic friend if he or she were not in your life, but that you would not fall apart or feel empty.

10. Are you being flirtatious with your platonic friend?

Think about whether you are taking extra time to dress for this person or fantasizing what sex would be like with this person.

Friendships of any kind are fun and meaningful for us all. However, if you keep these 10 things in mind when you are in one with the opposite sex, you will be much happier when you keep it intentional.

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Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish, Ed.D.MSS is a nationally honored psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and author, specializing in women’s issues in love and work. The National Association of Social Workers has named her as one of the Top 50 professionals. Marquis Who’s Who Publications includes her for her pioneering work with women. She is the author of two research-based, self-help books: Smart Relationships: How Successful Women Can Find True Love, and the companion cartoon book, The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie. Visit Dr. Wish at to learn more and receive a free gift.