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Two people with platonic life partners open up about their relationships

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELLIE KING

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

“We rely on each other like traditional love partners do, we think about each other’s needs on a day-to-day basis and care for each other’s future successes in life.”

When I cast my mind back to where teenage me thought I would be at age 28, I have to suppress laughter. I really believed my twenties would be the decade where I met someone who would entirely alter the course of my life – someone who I’d build a life and home with. Despite not really believing in marriage, much like my imagined partner and home, I assumed it would just happen. Maybe not by 28, but by that age it would certainly be on the horizon.

In reality, I couldn’t be further away from these traditional life milestones. I’ve spent most of my twenties dating emotionally unavailable men I was wildly incompatible with, I’m quite simply lightyears away from owning my own home, and I recently deleted all dating apps and embarked on a period of celibacy.


Interested to hear how others navigate the world? Head to our Life section.


I’m hardly the first to say this, but dating in 2022 is simultaneously mind-numbingly boring and gut-wrenchingly confusing and disappointing. You’re either repeatedly swiping no to the absurd number of men who are convinced that whether or not you like pineapple on pizza is the great debate of the 21st century, or you’re moonlighting as a detective and pouring over a love interest’s socials trying to establish why they froze you out.

Of course, there are success stories but let’s be real – they increasingly seem to be few and far between. The big realisation of my twenties has been that my friends are – and always will be – the great loves of my life (something the masterful Dolly Alderton has written about at length, and much more eloquently than me). One of my best friends and I have lived together for nearly seven years between two countries and four houses, and in many ways, we feel like life partners.

She’s my emergency contact and the person I called sobbing from a chaotically busy street in Melbourne’s CBD when I was unexpectedly dumped (by someone I believed I was falling in love with, no less). She dropped everything to pick me up and made me dinner followed by icecream in bed, while I wept in a particularly unattractive manner. These bonds, of which I have a few, are magical in the way I previously believed only romantic love could be.

They see you as the fantastically flawed person that you are and still choose to show up in your life day after day and year after year. And I believe it’s the platonic nature of these relationships that makes them so sturdy – there’s no chance of the fickle flame of attraction dying.

Curious to know more about people who have fully committed – financially and emotionally – to platonic partnerships, I called out to FJ readers to share their stories. Two responses came through, and we’ve shared them below.

23, she/they

My best friend and I have lived together for over six years now in a variety of different houses with a variety of rotating partners entering and exiting our spaces. Sometime last year, we were both introduced to the idea of a platonic partnership, and although we’ve been functioning in this way for many years, [we] decided to start labelling ourselves this way.

It’s a great answer for the continuous stream of people asking us if we are dating, when we are simply not – [we] just live together, hang out all the time, share [our] spending and see ourselves doing so for the foreseeable future.

Because the romantic and sexual nature of the relationship is non-existent, it’s way more stress-free than any other partnership I’ve been a part of. 10/10, would recommend. I wish platonic relationships were seen as just as important as romantic relationships because, in my opinion, they are more [important].

28, she/her and 30, she/her

After Gabi ended a six-year relationship in March 2021, a mutual friend played cupid and set her up with me (Hannah). It was an instant click. We jokingly say it was platonic love at first sight and Gabi moved in shortly after. As two single girls, the next year in and out of Melbourne lockdowns helped concrete our bond. Now, we not only share a house but co-parent a dog too, and Percy knows he has two Mums.

We have mutual respect, understanding and platonic love for each other while holding space for personal growth and our own sense of identity. Platonic partnership is more than just friendship to us – we choose to journey through life together. Lockdown boredom lead to the creation of wHinge The Podcast, where we share intimate details of our Hinge dates.

Our stories help people feel a little less alone while navigating the challenges of dating in the modern age. As heterosexual women, it’s been ingrained in us that in order to feel complete we need a man in our lives. Our experience as single girls in our late 20s while all our friends are getting engaged and planning families can be isolating and lonely at times.

Having chosen each other as platonic life partners fulfils all of our emotional needs and more! We rely on each other like traditional love partners do, we think about each other’s needs on a day-to-day basis and care for each other’s future successes in life. For us, this isn’t a temporary relationship until we find love partners. We will continue to nourish our relationship forever and are striving to find men who accept and support our bond without jealousy or judgement.

For more on platonic life partners, try this.

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