May 2, 2021

"There are no statistics about the number of platonic, best-friend marriages, and many people who are in them aren’t open about their situation."

"But chat boards on Reddit and within smaller asexual and aromantic communities have popped up recently, suggesting this could be a larger portion of the marriage population than numbers portray.... Many of these relationships... 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.... In the United States, where marriage is incentivized with tax breaks and other couple privileges, getting married to someone with whom you are not romantically attached affords multiple benefits... 'Meeting people is hard, getting a bond and romantic feelings is hard, and more and more young people are starting to realize that there are other benefits to marriage other than romantic love: I mean, isn’t the point to marry your best friend?... So why can’t it be your literal best friend?'"

From "From Best Friends to Platonic Spouses Some people are taking their friendships to the next level by saying 'I do” to marriages without sex'" (NYT). 

The article discusses a lot of individuals and throws around a lot of picky terms — asexual, aromantic, pansexual, demisexual — but one thing stands out: They're all women! Maybe I missed a man in there somewhere, but come on, NYT, if it's all women, discuss why!

And as for those picky terms women are using to describe their experience of sexuality, "demisexual" was a new one for me. The NYT says: "Demisexual is defined as only being sexually attracted to someone with whom you have an emotional bond." I guess that means you never feel sexual toward anyone you've just met. You have to fall in love (or something) and then sexual feeling may emerge.

For the record: I think a Platonic marriage is a fine idea. You're forming a household, taking advantage of various laws that privilege marriage, and perhaps raising children. You want a family, a home, a feeling of stability and you don't need or don't want sex as part of that relationship. You either get your sex somewhere else or you don't want sex at all. That's a perfectly legitimate choice to make in life, and good for the women who've found that kind of lifelong friendship.

FROM THE EMAIL: Peter writes: 

Or a platonic marriage can happen over time. As it did in our case.

Married 20+ years, three or so years ago trended then became platonic. At first I wasn’t entirely happy the way it was trending and thought of leaving which led to some difficult “discussions”. But then I thought — we thought — about the advantages of still living together vs one of us leaving and all the hassle and financial hits that would mean. Not to mention our son (young adult, but still…) would be rather unhappy given he lives now in the US, but loves to come home to us here in Hong Kong. The one home he’s known since birth. And when I’d accepted that our marriage was now platonic it lifted a weight and I’m totally fine with it. As my wife has noted, it was (still is?) common in upper class class English households.

It helps that we have a large house, a rarity in Hong Kong. We each have our own bedroom, office and man/woman cave. You wouldn’t want to try this in a tiny Hong Kong flat. Or a small flat anywhere, for that matter.

In the US maybe Georgia is the go! What with its large blocks and swimming pools 'n all.

That last bit refers to this other post.