Can you be happily married and platonic?
Marriage experts have advised us for years to marry our best friend. More important than finding a good teammate, a spouse should be someone you feel comfortable with who has gained your total trust. Platonic marriages appeal specifically to couples who desire a relationship with their best friend to build a shared vision, share in the responsibilities for existing children, and experience all life has to offer as husband and wife. The single difference between a platonic and traditional marriage lies in the absence of a sexual relationship.
A platonic marriage is a legal union rooted in deep friendship and spiritual connection sans sexual or romantic engagement. Platonic marriages aren’t new - they’ve existed since the 15th century - but we hear more about them as younger people seek the benefits of a loving, committed relationship with someone without the additional entanglements sexual and romantic love often include.
Is a platonic marriage right for you?
1. Disillusionment with love creates a desire to base marriage on friendship rather than a romantic love story. Partners understand romance fades, but true friendship does not. Focusing on building a friendship becomes more appealing than an intimate partner.
2. Enhanced trust. When unconcerned about your partner leaving you for someone else, you become free to develop a more vulnerable and deeper friendship connection.
3. Companionship for senior couples. For people wanting companionship into their old age, a platonic marriage adds to their physical and mental health.
4. Reduced conflict and friction with co-parenting for single parents. When focused on friendship with your significant other, household responsibilities are more evenly distributed and you engage in fewer arguments about who is more committed to the relationship. Children may benefit the most from this type of marriage.
5. Eliminating struggles with sexual incompatibility. One of the top three reasons cited in divorce is sexual incompatibility. In platonic marriages, sexual incompatibility becomes an issue only when a couple is dishonest with each other.
Potential obstacles for platonic marriages:
1. The health of the relationship relies on each partner’s openness and honesty regarding their intimacy needs. People change. Although you may find it ideal to marry your best friend sans sexual intimacy, you may change your mind later in life.
2. You must be straight-forward and direct with your partner when offering your reasoning for choosing a platonic marriage. For some partners, a platonic marriage acts as a safe refuge following an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. Being honest with your partner about your rationale for choosing this type of relationship builds trust.
3. A platonic marriage relies heavily on trust. When trust is broken in a platonic marriage, no matter how minor the incident may appear, the relationship is more prone to destruction than a sexual/romantic relationship.
Marriage is a serious commitment regardless of the type of relationship you choose. Communicating your needs and expectations up-front helps couples create a marriage cherished by both partners. Pre-marriage counseling is advised, as it serves as a safe space to continue the discussion without fear of being honest. Advocates of platonic marriage promote the concept of marrying your best friend sans sexual intimacy; however, some couples who aren’t fans of platonic marriage disregard this advocacy due to the marriage contract falling outside the norms of traditional marriage, which removes the enjoyment of sexual/romantic intimacy. The choice is yours; choose wisely.