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, she said. “A platonic marriage is more than a passing year with a roommate who has different ideas about kitchen cleanliness,” Ms. Conger said. “A platonic marriage is a deep bond and lifelong commitment to a nesting partner you build a shared life with.”
First came blood brothers, best friends who would solidify their bond by cutting themselves and swapping a bit of blood. Then came the tiny house besties, friends moving into adjoining tiny homes. (“Bestie Row” in Texas, for example.)
Today some people are taking their friendships a giant step further: They are platonically marrying each other, vowing to never leave each other’s side for better or for worse.
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.
Ms. Guercio and Ms. Purificato wanted to get married because they wanted to be legally and socially recognized as a family.
“We wanted the world to know we are each other’s go-to person in the world, and to be able to handle legal matters with the other appropriately,” Ms. Guercio said. “We are a couple, a unit and partners for life.”
Ms. Guercio said their marriage is stable, it’s long-lasting and it has no conditions.
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. (Asexual is defined as having no sexual feelings or desires; aromantic means having no desire for a romantic relationship. Hetero-monogamous is a sexual relationship between a man and a woman.)
“It should be acknowledged that we’ve really normalized heterosexual monogamous romantic relationships to the point of stigmatizing other kinds of relationships,” said Nick Bognar, a marriage and family therapist in Pasadena, Calif. “All of this is to say, I think this probably happens a lot, but people don’t talk about it much because their relationships are invalidated by others when they’re seen as not being part of the norm.”
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.