What Is Platonic Dating? Does It Practically Work Out In Real Life?

Dating experience
Platonic dating
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It’s a New York City apartment; Ellie is home alone on a Saturday evening. Like always, the 56th watch of Sleepless in Seattle makes her all gloomy over her loveless life. Frustrated, she leaves with the car key, hits a nearby pub, and goes home with the first guy trying to flirt. Now, in our day and age of quick hookups while still yearning for the perfect love, where does platonic dating really stand?

Since forever, romantic love has been glorified in fiction and reality while platonic relationships have always been left on the sideline. We all are in a lifelong pursuit of romantic love and often overlook the value of platonic partnerships that blossom pretty effortlessly. If you’re tired of your train wreck of dating life and want to mix things up a little with new experiences, Bonobology is here to draw your attention to the beauty of platonic dating with all its nuances.

What Is Platonic Dating?

Wondering why we are creating such a fuss about platonic dating? Is platonic dating a thing? Well, yes. Less amplified as it may be, platonic partnership/friendship is like the ray of simplicity and purity in a world of complex relations. Simply put, it’s a form of intense emotional connection devoid of any sexual desire and romance. The platonic relationship vs romantic relationship difference boils down to a lack of commitment and expectations. 

Above all, it doesn’t narrow down your sphere of potential partners based on sexual or gender identity, or romantic or sexual attraction. Any two like-minded people who enjoy each other’s company, have the emotional capacity to be vulnerable with and love each other, may label themselves as platonic partners. Best friends, coworkers, two women or men, asexual people, people from the LGBTQ+ spectrum – anybody can explore the realm of Platonism. 

But what does platonic mean exactly? You will be surprised to know how this concept traces its roots to the Greek philosopher Plato’s work, The Symposium. Plato believed love is a means of comprehending divine beauty and physical intimacy is the first step toward achieving that goal. Slowly, it moves past the objective beauty to grasping the beauty of soul and knowledge to the final stage of the ladder where beauty is harmonized with the universe. 

Related Reading: Platonic Soulmate – What Is It? 8 Signs You Found Yours

Unlike the modern-day interpretation of platonic love, Plato never denied the existence of physical attraction between people of the opposite sex or same-sex in his definition of love. Do platonic partners have to be exclusive? There is no such hard and fast rule. On the contrary, both of them may have their respective primary partners. This may make you curious about whether platonic bonds border on emotional cheating. 

Given that it lacks the landmark features of romantic love – lust, and attraction, such a wholesome human connection doesn’t fit in the same category as emotional infidelity. Now it all comes down to one question, can you platonically date someone? You can! With clarity, mutual understanding, and boundaries, you can pull off a strictly platonic partnership. 

Signs You’re Dating Someone Platonically

Now that we have addressed, “what does platonic mean?”, let’s come to our next order of business. How do you identify being in a platonic relationship with someone? Is there any way to discern between friendship and dating platonically? Because the line between the two is pretty thin and many times we don’t even recognize the platonic bonds in our life. Here is what sets platonic dating apart from friendship:

  • Platonic friendship: How you categorize these connections in real life depends on your definition of friendship. We have 3 a.m. friends, drinking buddies, study mates, and then there comes that one platonic friend with whom you share such chemistry that people practically think you guys are dating. You remain friends forever even if your personal ventures take you oceans apart 
  • Platonic dating: In the case of platonic dating, partners may want to establish some prior boundaries to make sure they are on the same page, especially if they met on a platonic dating app. Our readers from California, Jen and Rachel took it to the next level – they got into an asexual relationship as platonic life partners and now they are co-parenting a beautiful 5-year-old. As you see, people who are dating platonically might change the course of their relationship in future

Still confused about how platonic dating differs from a friendship? Here are some common attributes that broadly reflect the essence of any platonic relationship:

  • The closeness – it’s undeniable. Their presence in your life seems extremely comforting, familiar, and like a source of all your energy and happiness 
  • Common interests and belief system and being on the same wavelength boosts the bonding experience 
  • You share bits and pieces of your life with them, appreciate their hard work, admire their talents, and respect their individuality 
  • Imagine a person embracing the good and the bad in you with open arms! That’s platonic love – a lot more acceptance and less and less judgment
  • Little to no criticism helps in creating a safe space for both partners to be vulnerable 
  • You don’t feel the need to hide things from each other – honesty and transparency are your guiding angels 
  • Boundaries in the relationship are handled with care 
  • No unrealistic expectations or pressure to avail the benefits of romantic relationships

Related Reading: Can A Girl Have A Guy Best Friend And A Boyfriend?

Can platonic dating lead to a romantic relationship? 

We don’t see why not! After all, there’s no “you can’t” clause in the platonic agreement. In fact, a recent study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that 68% out of 1,900 participants reported starting their romantic relationships as platonic friends. Just because you are platonically dating someone at the moment doesn’t mean your feelings can’t change or it will be unethical for you to want more. 

But unless the feelings are mutual, things may not work out as seamlessly as you may want. When talking about platonic relationship vs romantic relationship, a desire for sexual intimacy or lack thereof always becomes the defining factor. Let’s say, you begin to feel sexually attracted to the person you’re dating platonically but their sexual orientation restrains them from feeling the same way and they want to maintain the status quo. Can you see how it can go wrong on so many levels?

That said, we can’t totally shun the possibility of platonic dating leading to a romantic journey to the happily-ever-after. I, for one, have seen my friends Joana and Larry ending up at the altar after four years of dating platonically. They have been friends forever and after reaching the age of discovering romantic connections, they couldn’t find that close bond in other relationships. They were so deeply invested in each other that they lost track of when this platonic connection transformed into a mushy romantic relationship.

Platonic relationship vs romantic relaitonship
Yes, platonic dating can transform into romantic relationships

Benefits And Challenges Of Platonic Dating

Nothing good in this world comes without its fair share of challenges and platonic dating is no exception. As our biggest emotional support system, platonic friends and partners bring a touch of fulfillment to our lives. But when two people from the opposite sex (or the same, depending on the sexual orientation of the people involved) happen to be this close, is it practically possible to draw the no sex, no flirting boundaries?

A study by Scientific American shows that even though women largely are capable of accepting platonic relationships, it’s difficult for men to turn off romantic urges and desires. Allow us to walk you through the perks and problems of platonic dating so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right fit for you:

Related Reading: 10 Useful Tips For Dating Your Best Friend

Benefits Challenges 
Having someone to support and love you unconditionally leaves a positive impact on your mental and physical health Honest, dependable platonic partnerships are not easy finds. If you have one, don’t let it slip away 
Meeting this special person gives an oxytocin and dopamine rush which decreases stress levels significantly Spending way too much time together, not prioritizing your primary partner, or accidentally crossing the line of physical intimacy may invite big trouble
As platonic partners accept each other with all their flaws, it boosts confidence level and provides them a safe space to open up about their struggles and deepest darkest secrets If you’re dating someone platonically and also have a primary romantic relationship, maintaining both the relationships simultaneously could be difficult. Jealousy might crop up from a sense of possession as not everyone has the emotional capacity to understand such close-knit relationships
You can stick by each other’s side despite being in romantic relationships and having different life goals Respecting personal space and boundaries is of paramount importance. In the case of one partner catching romantic feelings and demanding the same from the other can be stressful for platonic bonds 
Platonic partners don’t expect to gain anything by exploiting each other. They simply show up without any ulterior motives Confusion regarding your feelings for your platonic partner followed by a hot-and-cold attitude may burst the bubble of sanctity of a platonic relationship

Top Platonic Dating Sites

By now, you not only have your answer to “is platonic dating a thing” but also are somewhat well-versed in the nuances of this concept. Now, comes another important question: is platonic dating right for me? Well, honestly, only you can answer that question. However, we can offer you some guidance to arrive at the right conclusion. To that end, a platonic connection can be a good fit for you, if: 

  • You’re an asexual person trying to meet platonic friends online
  • You belong to the LGBTQ+ spectrum, (perhaps still questioning your sexuality) and trying to explore your options via coffee dates and conversations 
  • You are getting over a bad breakup or a divorce and looking for strictly platonic meetups with a few nice people
  • You’re done with hook-ups, one-night stands, and keeping things casual for now  
  • You are genuinely interested in dating platonically and wondering how to filter your potential matches based on sexual interest 
More on friendship

To make the experience more wholesome and breezier for you, we have handpicked a few platonic dating apps that will widen your circle of genuine and compatible matches:

Related Reading: 11 Signs Your Crush On Friend Is More Than It Seems

1. Bumble BFF

Fellas, we bring happy news! Bumble BFF is now not just a happy space for women to make best friends. Men, women, and non-binary folks can all be a part of Bumble’s huge user base. Their photo-identification system ensures the authenticity of the accounts. Now whether you need a workout buddy, a travel mate, or someone to roam around with in a new city, your platonic date is one right-swipe away. 

2. Skout

Do you believe in the magic of serendipitous meetings? So does Skout! Running successfully in more than 180 countries in 14 different languages since 2007, Skout has presented wonderful platonic connections to millions of people. No matter wherever you go, be it on a cross-country hike, a business trip, or a visit to a neighborhood coffee shop, you can choose your companion for the day on Skout. 

3. Patook

While Skout and Bumble also offer romantic dating opportunities, Patook is strictly a platonic dating app. They take great pride in their flirt detection algorithm, which catches pick-up lines or inappropriate sentences and bans the user quickly. Detailed profiles with specific interests help you refine the matches and open up a host of platonic partners before you. 

4. Yubo 

Looking for a catfish-proof safe environment for connecting with friendly people around the world? Sign in to Yubo from your Android or iOS device and take advantage of all the fun online games, video-streaming, chatting, and more without even having to share your phone number.

Related Reading: 4 Types Of Soulmates And Deep Soul Connection Signs

5. LMK

Just in case you are tired of typing long text messages, LMK offers you a great opportunity to enable the voice chat interface. They have multiple options like audio calling, joining Audio-rooms to chat with a fun group of people with similar interests, creating YouTube watch parties, and making some great platonic connections in the process. The app is available on both Play Store and AppStore. 

Key Pointers

  • Platonic love happens when two people feel an extremely strong emotional connection based on honesty, empathy, and mutual understanding with no sexual desire or intimacy whatsoever
  • Since there is no romantic or erotic angle in platonic dating, it’s not restricted by age, gender, sexuality, or romantic attraction
  • A person may have a platonic partner and a successful romantic relationship simultaneously
  • Platonic dating/partnership has a positive impact on our physical and mental health
  • Platonic mates may choose to transform their bond into a sexual, exclusive partnership or a full-blown romantic relationship depending on how their feelings for each other evolve

Before we leave you to savor the beauty of platonic relationships in your life, here’s a little reminder. Platonic love isn’t another fancy name for unrequited love; platonic friendship isn’t a euphemism for the friend zone we are all so scared to be stuck in. 

Since there is no element of romance in platonic dating, such bonds only grow with spontaneous love, trust, honesty, and respect between two empathetic souls. On that note, we wish you find the Joey to your Chandler, the Penny to your Sheldon, the Aimee to your Maeve, and the Harry to your Hermione! There is no other love so pure and innocent as the love for a platonic mate. 

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