Platonic Life Partners: 5 Men And Women On What It’s Like To Marry For Friendship (Not Sex)

1. The Hetero/Homo Mixed Marriage

“I married my wife twenty-six years ago when gay marriage wasn’t even a possibility people spoke about and you could forget the notion of adopting children as a single gay man. My wife had been my best friend all through college and was one of those rare people that wasn’t afraid to enter uncharted territory.

She didn’t ever want to marry because she didn’t want to be tied down to just one person but both of us did want children. After joking about it once or twice, the idea that we actually could get married and then do whatever we wanted together really started to stick and we made the plunge. Naturally, to my family she was a kind of cover at the time since I hadn’t come out (I since have) and appearing to be in a hetero marriage made my life easier generally.

We have two children and yes, it is possible for a gay man to have sex with a straight woman although we only had sex when we were trying to have a child and it was sort of a comical experience for both of us. Otherwise, she lives a very free life as do I and we’re very loving and considerate of one another. We’ve stayed married because the arrangement makes us happy and we genuinely care for one another. While platonic, I do believe there’s a certain romance to our marriage that many other couples don’t have.”

—Michael, 51


2. Asexual Marriage

“My husband and I are both what others might call asexual but the term itself is an exaggeration. Even individuals some people might call asexual have some desire for sexual intimacy. In my husband and I’s case we probably only have sex once a month, sometimes less.

I guess I should tell your readers a bit how we met. I was 22 and had come out of college basically feeling like a complete freak. I’d never been into boys very much and I certainly wasn’t into girls. I remember my first sexual encounter I was just trying to get through it and afterwards simply didn’t want to ever have sex again. I couldn’t imagine why my girlfriends cared about it so much.

So, I felt like an outsider until I met my future husband who was a co-worker of mine. He was good looking but very shy and probably our first six dates didn’t feel like dates at all. They just felt like spending time with someone you liked. There was a sense of romance as we kept going out but it wasn’t accompanied by sex or even a particularly noticeable desire for sex. It got to the point that I started to wonder if there was something else wrong with me that he didn’t want to have sex with me and told him so.

This embarrassed him badly and thank goodness he was honest with me that he just wasn’t that interested in sex. He wasn’t disinterested but it wasn’t particularly important to him. I finally like I had met someone that I could be with at that point and we’ve since been together for ten years. We’re very happy. We don’t have children nor do we want them.

He’s my best friend and I don’t believe anyone has ever understood me in the way he does. There’s still flowers and breakfast in bed and long walks together and spontaneous romance. There’s just little to no sex. Most people find that odd, I know, but we’re happy with one another.”

—Janice, 35


3. The Asexual/Hetero Mixed Marriage

“My wife and I married relatively late compared to most. I was already 37 and had been married once before for only a couple years in my 20s. I had sowed a lot of wild oats after that. She was 30 and had never been married and, we joke about this, had sex with exactly two people.

She and I actually met through my sister and when she was in college when my sis brought her home one year for Thanksgiving. I got to know her a bit then but really got to know her in my 30s when we both ended up living and working in Atlanta. She became my best friend during that time and was there for me during my divorce which as the cliche goes was a very shitty time. I never developed romantic feelings for her which allowed us to form a very solid and honest friendship.

Eventually, once I stopped having as much sex as possible to wash away the memory of my ex-wife, she and I decided to move downtown together and get a big place and be roommates. A couple years into that she asked if I was planning on ever marrying again. I told her I didn’t know and asked why she was asking. She said that she wanted to marry me. Now keep in mind that I knew this woman very well by that point. We practically read each other’s minds and I 100% knew that she was asexual, that she did not want a sexual relationship with me but then she told me that she did love me and that she didn’t ever want to be without me.

It’s hard for some to understand and was especially hard for my sister and family to understand but that was possibly the most romantic moment of my entire life. I had never had a woman, a dear woman, who needed nothing from me tell me that she loved me enough to spend the rest of her life with me. We got married and yes I do get involved with some sexual relationships outside our marriage with my wife’s full permission and understanding but I am committed to my wife in all other ways.”

—Jim, 45


4. Fading Sex Drive

“My situation is a little different than your topic as I mentioned but I think it’s still interesting for people who might be interested in it or who might come across this situation in their own marriages some day.

My husband and I married right out of college when we were 22 and the beginning of it was probably like everyone else’s. We had lots of sex like all newlyweds and were very passionate about one another. We had a couple of kids and after about 15 years found that the scheduling of our lives had resulted in us not having sex very often which is pretty typical, I think. However, once our last child left to go to college we didn’t experience that second honeymoon period a lot of middle aged couples get to experience. I found that I had almost no sex drive at all while my husband still did.

It took a lot of therapy to get through but we’ve stayed married because I love this man and he loves me even though our relationship is entirely platonic at this point. With the help of a therapist I was even able to get okay with the idea of him fulfilling his sexual needs elsewhere since I’m no longer able to do that for him. There are times when I feel like I’m basically disabled but he and I have worked out a relationship that is still loving, fun, and full of spontaneity. It’s just not sexual.”

—Madelyne, 43


5. The Gay And Lesbian Union

“I’m 70 years old and while it’s probably unheard of today it wasn’t completely uncommon in the past for a closeted gay man and a lesbian to marry in order to give the appearance to the outside world of a ‘normal’ hetero marriage. That was the case with my wife, life partner, and best friend who I have now been married to coming up on 45 years.

She and I were introduced by a friend of the family initially and found we had a lot in common and both put on airs trying to give the impression that we were interested. I was personally very much still struggling with being gay at the time while she was much more comfortable in herself. In retrospect, we both knew that the other was gay after our first few dates but kept spending time together because we enjoyed one another. Once we were honest with one another we hatched the plan to get married so that we could live without drawing attention to ourselves from our families and coworkers.

Now I understand that this will likely sound tragic and awful to people growing up in a world where gay marriage is legal and homosexuals are no longer roundly denounced as deviants but don’t feel too badly for me. In the time that we both grew up, my wife and I were fortunate to meet one another. We’ve supported and cared for each other for decades.

People ask me now why she and I don’t divorce and the reason is simple, she’s a part of me now and I’m a part of her. We love each other even if it’s not in a sexual or romantic way and the marriage and bond we have is immensely important to both of us. A promise is a promise, after all and if the sole focus of marriage is sex then, well, I don’t think that’s much of a marriage at all.”

—Jeffrey, 70 Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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