You can't beat friendship.
I just spent time with someone I met at aged 20. That would make it almost a 25 year relationship. One of the longest non-blood relationships I've had that has sustained itself with some regularity.
I feel like I've had a solid serving of love to top me up until my next encounter with intimacy.
Because, as I've told some of my friends before, that's how I regard my good friends. They are intimate with me in ways that do not include sexuality and I'd marry each and every one of them if it wasn't for the fact that we just don't feel the inclination to have sex with each other. Never have, and likely never will.
As someone who has managed to bypass the permanent monogamous relationship state of adulthood I guess I've come to rely on these types of friendships to fill the need for intimacy that humans seem to require.
I've watched most friends (and myself) transition in and out of sexually intimate relationships and can see the clear benefits for some and disadvantages for others and the fine line that exists between the state of bliss and the state of discord.
The same line exists in my platonic relationships but it is not such a 'fine' line for me anymore. As my mother has started to say: "I don't have time for this shit" and I'm taking on the same attitude with respect to the friendships I've had/have/considered.
I know that as a friend I have flaws. Many. I also have been confronted by a few loving friends over the years and have learned to consider constructive criticism and the feelings of others. I have thankfully also learned that I am willing to learn how to communicate with others. That is what makes me not only a good friend but also, at times, a great friend. And that is also what makes my friends great. We are not perfect but we are all astounding people. This is because the group of people that have chosen to occasionally explore this path called life with me are, without exception, people who are growing and evolving continuously. They are self aware and can also see the areas in the their life that need work. And because they are growing and allowing me to witness this growth first hand I feel compelled to join along.
Life doesn't really change much from childhood other than we can choose to hang with the dead weights or the people that are going places (emotionally) with their life. I am fortunate that throughout most of my own life I have had some pretty evolved people around me that have included me in their circles and I feel that I am a much better person for it.
I find that after spending face-to-face time with one of my intimate friends, I feel hope knowing that in the dark times ahead (because there are always dark times ahead!) there will at least be this shoulder to cry on. Even if it is a shoulder that isn't seen very often due to circumstance or geography. And after the tears there is the gentle nudge forward to find the light once again.