What is a Platonic Life Partnership? These Couples are Breaking Societal Relationship Norms
January 4, 2022
by Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY
For Jay Guercio, 24, a platonic life partnership “just made sense” after realizing how much her life goals aligned with her best friend Krystle, who she first met in 2012 and had filled her life with “companionship, love, laughter and adventure.”
…Guercio describes a platonic partnership as “a committed relationship to someone that doesn’t involve romance or sex.”
Cyndi Darnell, a certified clinical sexologist, therapist and couple’s counselor, says platonic partnerships can “absolutely” be as successful as a traditional marriage, because “partnership is based on shared values.”
“If you want to create a partnership based on values that are meaningful to you as individuals… I actually think that that’s a better model than the notion of romance, which we know is fickle,” she adds. “To rely on something as unreliable as romance for a contract as heavy as co-parenting and marriage seems to be why these things seem to be diametrically opposed on some level.”
Historically, marriage also hasn’t been about love, she points out.
“When we think about the origins of marriage, it was never about love. And it was certainly never about romance. It was about asset management.”
Guercio agrees partnerships like her own are centered around “mutual benefit.”
“It’s about purposefully deciding to live the life that you want to live together because those things align. It’s not just getting into a committed relationship with someone because you have sexual feelings.”
Darnell doesn’t view this as a bad route.
“If anything, I actually think it’s a much more honest way of looking at marriage. And that’s not to say that romance is dead, it’s not,” she says, but she feels romance ideals are “spoon-fed” to us from a young age like finding “the one” and can influence our outlook.
“It’s very driven into our culture that (romance) is aspirational and friendship is considered somehow less valuable, even though for a lot of us our friendships last longer than our sexual partnerships.”
She mostly sees two groups of people embracing platonic partnerships.
“The boomer generation, who are coming out of perhaps second and third marriages, many of them are saying, ‘I don’t want to go back into a traditional marriage. I want companionship but I don’t want to traditional values of a marriage,’ ” she explains. “And then a lot of youngsters who have grown up perhaps in single parent families, who don’t necessarily believe the romance story because of what they’ve seen in their lives, they’re also saying, ‘I can make my own rules. I can make my own decisions about what kind of relationship structure I want to have.’ “
And while a typical marriage may still work for some, for those who don’t find it to be a fit “this revolution is great,” Darnell explains, “because it gives us more freedom to reflect on our relationship values and ask ourselves, ‘What matters to me? What kind of relationship do I want to be in?’ And romantic love, sexual love doesn’t have to be part of them.”
…Stigma surrounding platonic life partnerships
Darnell says perhaps the biggest risk in platonic partnerships is “the stigma that you have to tolerate from friends and family saying your relationship choices are not as valid.”
This may pressure partners to hide the specifics of their situation, which is the route Guercio took.
…Darnell sees platonic marriages gaining more traction in the future.
“It is a new thing that’s happening the platonic marriage, but my prediction is that it’s going to become more popular as people start recognizing relationships are what you make of them.”
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both