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Article - From Best Friends to Platonic Spouses


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Hurts

Thanks for the story! I’ll read it and share my thoughts later.

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Hurts

Ok I just finished it and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Having this level of recognition on a newspaper as big as New York Times, and just how they explain everything, it’s marvelous. Now I want to discuss it so if anybody is open, I’ll be here to chat.

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OIive

Well, I liked it too. It shows some diversity of people and various reasons why they do so. Although I wouldn't want marriage for myself in the future, I got that these people feel different about it and it is presented as a valid thing to do.

The only thing that I found a little confusing is how they mentioned about historical funtions of marriage. At first it somehow seemed linked to everything else that isn't based on romantical and/or sexual love, so it kinda was put together with platonic relationships. Cause for me marrying for economic reasons is linked to way more basic needs like survival while marriage based on platonic love gives you another quality of life, but you still would be able to live without it.

In general it of course becomes clear, I know they don't accentuate it the way I phrased it, nonetheless it's the first impression I had after reading the article. And it shows an open and positive perspective for the future where I got to learn about miscellaneous people's attitudes, I'm happy something like this is shown in mainstream media.

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BeakLove

Thanks for linking. It's always interesting to see different types of lives get highlighted in the mainstream press.

3 hours ago, OIive said:

The only thing that I found a little confusing is how they mentioned about historical funtions of marriage. At first it somehow seemed linked to everything else that isn't based on romantical and/or sexual love, so it kinda was put together with platonic relationships. Cause for me marrying for economic reasons is linked to way more basic needs like survival while marriage based on platonic love gives you another quality of life, but you still would be able to live without it.

In general it of course becomes clear, I know they don't accentuate it the way I phrased it, nonetheless it's the first impression I had after reading the article. 

I agree, the way it presents some of the reasons for engaging in a non-romantic partnership seem to lean quite a lot on the practical, utilitarian aspects: that it's less chaotic, that things can be agreed calmly, that they're fed up hunting love and are happy to settle for friendship and stability. 
 

Quote

Historically, marriage was an economic proposition, but it has shifted over time to a choice representing an all-consuming relationship, said Indigo Stray Conger, a sex and relationship therapist in Denver. Under this framework, couples expect each other to fulfill all their needs: social, psychological and economic.

“Platonic marriages raise an interesting question related to what elements are most important in a marriage, and what needs partners theoretically must meet for marriages to be successful,”

[...]

Kimberly Perlin, a psychotherapist in Towson, Md., said that couples in this type of arrangement often find compatibility and understand each other well, while also agreeing to the guidelines without being blinded by romantic feeling. Many of these relationships, she said, begin because the couple wants their family life separate from their romantic lives, as they don’t find their romantic lives to be stable.

[...]

Others may be disenchanted with love, and feel that longstanding friendships with a history of resolving conflict may feel like a safer bet.

[...]

Platonic marriages have been prevalent since marriage became an institution, while marrying for love is more of an oddity in human history, Ms. Conger said.

This is obviously not the impression the article means to leave, of course, that people only enter platonic legal partnerships if acceptable sexual or romantic options are unavailable or because love has failed them. Additionally quite a few of the examples clarify that whilst the participants are platonic within the context of the marriage, they are still explicitly permitted an outlet for sex and dating with other people, such as these:

 

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On Nov. 14, 2020 at Greenwood Hall in East Islip, N.Y., Jay Guercio and Krystle Purificato donned wedding gowns, walked down the aisle, exchanged rings and shared their first and only kiss. Ms. Purificato is in the process of changing her last name to Guercio.

 

“I want her to continue to be my best friend and my life partner,” said Ms. Guercio, a 23-year-old student studying professional communications at Farmingdale State College.

 

The besties, both queer and open to dating anyone but each other, met in 2011, and decided to get married in September. They sleep in the same bed but their relationship remains platonic

 

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Kema Barton and Dene Brown, of Columbus, Ohio, are both pansexual and have a similar platonic marriage. (Pansexual is defined as sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction toward people regardless of their sex or gender identity.) They have been best friends for seven years, and each has two children from previous relationships.

 

They decided to make it official because they wanted to build a family together, to raise their children together and to make all their major choices as a unit.They’re in the process of buying a house and getting a joint bank account.

 

“We’re committed to investing in one another so we can both be successful, and ultimately, we love each other so much,” said Ms. Brown, 30, a disabled Navy veteran. “In every way that you’d look at a husband or a marriage in terms of interpersonal connections and intimacy, it’s there.”

 

Ms. Brown and Ms. Barton have never been intimate with each other, and they both have given each other the freedom to date outside their marriage.

 

I wonder what the implications would be were that not the case? And I do wonder to myself how workable such arrangements generally are if one or both parties does find a sexual or even more significantly romantic prospect. Does the normal rule of relationship gravity that eventually romantic partners take precedence still end up winning out? 

 

As an aside it's definitely an oddity in these two particular cases that both couples are pansexual or queer - so are romantically available regardless of sex or gender -, and open to dating (and sex - they're not asexual), love each other enough to want to marry and yet have zero romantic or sexual interest in each other. 

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