Here’s one for you – what’s the difference between a friendship and a relationship?  “Ah, that’s easy” I hear you say.  “A relationship usually involves sex in some form or another.”  But does it really?

The reality is that a friendship is a relationship of sorts – a mutual feeling between two people, whether of the same or opposite gender.  Now, if you are talking about partners in a relationship, that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.  Here, there is a definite involvement of sex (in one or more of its many guises) as part of the relationship, but sex should not be the basis of the relationship.  If this is the case, then the relationship is doomed to failure, and will not endure.

In my experience, a really good friendship is far more preferable to a mediocre relationship.  Good friends are very hard to come by, and strong friendships are to be protected and highly valued.  I know people who say things like “I have lots of friends”, when what they really mean is lots of acquaintances.  True friends are always there when you need them, where acquaintances, in times of need, seem to vanish into the ether.  Sometimes, entering into a new partner relationship will result in the new partner trying to destroy your previous friendships.  This should never be allowed to happen – your new partner should respect your friendships, even though that person may not become part of your circle of friends.  That is their choice, but do not let your new partnership/relationship destroy your close friendships.  Once lost, close friendships can seldom be recovered.

This is probably all sounding a bit gloomy – believe me, it’s not intended to be so.  It’s just the voice of experience, and I’ve been around long enough to know what I’m talking about.  Relationships are great to be a part of – that sense of sharing who and what you are with another person, the “special cuddles”, that warm personal contact, the sensual touch, the warm fuzzy feeling you have when the relationship is good – and they are also to be guarded and nurtured.

If you are in a long-term partnership/relationship, and are happy in your situation, then be sure to guard and nurture it.  Things won’t always be smooth sailing, but being in love is a wonderful thing.  I have had the privilege of having a good relationship and enduring friendship with a real soul-mate, and even though he is no longer with us, the legacy of that relationship continues.  It will be hard to find another like it.  In the meantime, my advice to you is to live well, laugh often, and love with all your heart.  Oh gawd!  Now I’m getting all soppy and sounding like an agony aunt!  Anyway, I’m sure you know what I mean.  Have a great festive season guys.  See you all on January 4 for Hot Summer Nights.

Frank Croucher,
Mr Qld Leather, 1999.