Would you marry your best friend? Expert shares benefits and limitations of a platonic marriage

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Psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini says society is seeing more platonic marriages, and while it may seem modern, it's really an old concept.

"They have been around since the 15th century", Mary Jo told Fox26 News in an interview. 

What is a platonic marriage?

platonic marriage is based on friendship rather than a romantic love story. The single difference between a platonic and traditional marriage lies in the absence of a sexual relationship.

It is a legal union rooted in deep friendship and spiritual connection.

There are different reasons people may prefer being in a platonic marriage. 

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Mary Jo points to disillusionment as one reason. "Maybe they have been hurt in the past, with a sexual romantic partnership, and they just decided they don't want anymore." She adds that many people lose their ability to trust after being hurt, and building a relationship based on friendship becomes a preference. 

Older people with chronic illnesses might also prefer platonic relationships for the idea of being taken care of, companionship, and health benefits. 

How well do these marriages really work?

"They work really well if you have a child... and don't want to worry about your partner stepping out on you. You want someone who works with you.

"These marriages are really good at sharing the load because they are not using intimacy as a weapon; they are in love with their best friend, and so they are careful about doing their fair share, so it works great for co-parenting," Mary Jo says. 

And while this kind of marriage may work for some, it has its fair share of problems too.

READ MORE | 'I married for money, not love': Three women share their stories

What happens when one partner feels they want more than friendship in the marriage? 

"It is very important that before you step out on your partner and act in an impulsive way, you go get help and discuss openly what you are feeling. Understand that people change. You may fall so deep with your best friend that you start wanting more intimacy from them, and the deal was in the beginning that that was not going to be part of the relationship.

"Communication and being open with your partner is going to be the best chance of survival or keeping the friendship even if the relationship ends," she added. 

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In this kind of marriage, any kind of betrayal will likely end the relationship as it is heavily based on trust. Mary Jo added that a lack of communication is the reason for many divorces.

"You have to be open and honest about your expectations. You need to be honest about what intimacy you need from your best friend and what you are ready to let go of, and understand that we change. How you feel when you first get married might not be how you feel later in the relationship."


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Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
23% - 891 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 357 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
49% - 1922 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 53 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 699 votes
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