Queerplatonic partnership anecdotes?
March 7, 2022 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Seeking anecdotes about queerplatonic partnerships, especially people transitioning into one from a (nominally) sexual relationship.

We started 10+ years ago in a cis/het relationship. I had no prior experience with sex; partner knew she had fairly high sex drive and was maybe interested in being non-monogamous and we discussed that some but didn't pursue it at the time.

I've reached the conclusion in the last year or so that I'm probably gray ace. We've talked & read more over the years about partner having other sex/romantic partners, and think it might be a good fit. We are talking about being formally queerplatonic instead of just... functionally mostly queerplatonic the way we have been for many years now. It hasn't been an easy conclusion to reach but the status quo wasn't working. We're both processing some emotions about it, but it seems more honest this way.

We're still best friends / chosen-family, partners in life, legally married (though we really do consider the institution of marriage a legal formality, not something we have a spiritual or emotional connection to), and we live together. Our relationship is generally very healthy - when we went to couples therapy a few years ago (before I figured out I was grey ace) to talk about sex, the therapist was kind of confused because they thought our relationship was otherwise in good shape.

We must not be the first people to do this! Do you have anecdotes about your own or others' experience? Links to anecdotes? All anecdotes are welcome, positive or negative. Recommendations for fictional works about relationships like this? Links to resources also welcome (we've read Ace and are reading Opening Up). Please leave any "this can never work it's impossible" commentary at the door. Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm, this is definitely my relationship (except that we were cis queer from the start). I'd be happy to provide a lot of support on what can be a tricky journey, but there's a limit to how much I want to say publicly. Can you provide a way to communicate directly?

My wife and I have been together almost 20 years. We were poly from the start and I've had a second very significant (I hate the word primary) partner for about 10 years. Going through menopause, my wife struggled with dwindling sexual feelings and pursued counseling. Eventually, she identified as ace. It was a sad thing for her to define and decide but took a great deal of pressure off of us both.

Our relationship is amazing and connected and I can't imagine life without her.

I agree that there is very little information about this kind of situation available, which is sad, because it can work well for the right people.
posted by quiet wanderer at 1:43 PM on March 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

The Cut had a piece last month called Inside 3 Platonic Life Partnerships, which may be of interest to you.
posted by edencosmic at 2:57 PM on March 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think about this topic a lot. The folks in The Cut article were all under 40, I think, and it’s definitely young folks (especially the ace community) that are in the forefront of discourse about it, but I bet we’re going to see more of this arising among GenXers, especially as we age further. I have a spouse of the usual sort, but I also have a pretty compelling fantasy of about 15-20 years from now having a cottage village or condo building along with a number of my similar-aged non-kid-having friends (both singles and pairs). Each family can have their own domicile but we would be committed to each other emotionally and ethically for mutual care.
posted by matildaben at 6:22 PM on March 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh sure! I'm currently living with queerplatonic partners, my two best friends. I poly-dated both of them separately a decade ago, then had a sharp flash of matchmaking intuition where I realized I was better suited to friendship with each, and they would get on smashingly as dates! I introduced them and they've been together ever since.

Our duo relationships, though changed, have stayed strong throughout. But it took us a few years to work out a solid dynamic as three because my connection with one is loud and buoyant and intense, and with the other it's chill and mutually tending, and that first one tended to dominate group hangouts until we all hashed it out. We've each had our small jealousies around attention and feeling special, but asking for what we want and talking frankly about our insecurities has healed many wounds.

I travel a lot and they share a home. So sometimes I live far away, sometimes I'm nearby in the same city, and sometimes I live with them for extended periods. We may talk every day or not for a few months. Regardless, it's deeply affectionate and supportive. In some ways I'm like their third— I have free passage in their lives and can generally come and go as I please, and they tell me things they tell no one else, and we're more physically entwined than is common for friends. I see other people with whom I'm sexually and romantically intimate, but these two are definitely my home wherever I am in the world. I will always always return to them! If push came to shove, I would choose them over wonderful people I've been dating for years. No one involved has any illusions about this. They're thinking about buying a new house together soon and you can bet there will be a room and a key for me!

Our situation is.. semi-romantic? Has flickers of sexual and kinky tension? We rarely kiss and don't sleep together any more, and I don't stay in their bed, but they'll wake me up for cuddles now and then, and we make each other food, and we take each other out for dates in a way would definitely strike cis-het-monog culture as suspicious. (In pairs usually, rarely as three.) We're all very open about sex and I'd say we generate.. overflow/ sparks for each other, even though we don't cross wires anymore?

I also have a creative partnership with one of them, we cheer each other on. They're my go-to person for workshopping ideas and the only opinion/blessing I want or need on projects. Much of their writing is to and for me.

Who knows how we'll evolve? To quote my favorite glove-lunch Carol: "That was it. For a while. And then it changed. It changes."

I love them both deeply. They are my chosen fam, my bright lights every single day.
posted by lloquat at 12:38 AM on March 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

I've been doing this with my roommate for 8 years now, though I would call it Platonic Life Partner rather than QueerPlatonic. We're both cis women, I'm about 70% straight, and sex-repulsed outside of a deep romantic connection. I haven't dated since I before got married in the mid nineties, and have no interest in doing so every again. She's totally straight and had some bitter breakups that soured her on trying again, as far as I know it's been at least 15 years since she made any attempts.

Our story goes like this: we were all part of a close-knit group of college/gamer/sca friends in the late eighties / early nineties, there was some poly activity within the group but neither of us were involved. Soon after coming into the group I paired up with one guy, and got married. She was paired with a different guy for years before I met the group, and broke up with him around the same time I got married.

She moved out of state for a decade, and when she came back we became closer. My husband flew up to drive her moving van back here, she helped us move ten years later. We gave her rides because she can't drive, she came over to sit with our pets if we went out of town, etc. She got a job at the same place as me, and I started giving her a ride home because she can't drive. About once a week I would call my husband on the way home to say I was bringing her for dinner, so he would have to wear pants.

When my husband died 10 years ago, she was the person who helped me reassemble my life. About 2 years after he died, we moved in together because I was miserable living alone and we could rent a house by pooling our resources.

We use a budget tracker app to split expenses (split by line items at the grocery store or restaurants, half and half for rent and utilities, etc.) but we don't ever exchange money, we just split the bills and keep track of who's turn it is to pay for what based on who is "ahead" in the ledger. We split the cost of shared things like dining room furniture but buy our own stuff for most big items. We manage the household as partners, we grocery shop together (online), we plan meals and coordinate doctor visits. We've pooled our music and e-book libraries, and we make sure we don't both buy the same albums and books.

We're figuring out retirement plans to remain together, and talking about buying a house if the market ever recovers.

She's more social than me but manages to drag me out of the house occasionally (in a pandemic safe way these days). We got to the theatre and out to dinner when we can afford it, we are each other's default plus one to everything. We go for walks on the beach or at a park.

We take care of each other as partners, and offer support when the other is having anxiety/depression/executive function issues. We've changed bandages in awkward locations, and otherwise helped each other in medical distress.

We very easily worked out how to split up chores, decision making, and emotional labor. We each do the things the other hates the most, and it all works out without any nagging or resentment. I do the driving, she does the dishes. She deals with phone calls, I change the cat box. She makes sure that things that need to happen on a schedule don't get forgotten. I do anything that requires a tool, or a ladder. Everything that was a bitter struggle for me and my husband is easy with her, and sometimes it breaks my heart to think about that too much.

We've joked about doing some sort of formal legal thing, and we may end doing something if we ever manage to buy a house. But I feel really weird about calling it marriage because in my heart I'm still married.

Many people assume we're sisters, even though we're about different-looking as possible for two fat white women to be (me with light hair and eyes, lots of freckles and a long pointy face, her with dark hair and eyes and round features). Other people assume we are romantic (a lot more since I buzzed off all my hair), we have given up on correcting people in casual situations either way.

Often someone will ask "is she your sister?" And one of us will reply "Close enough, we adopted each other".
posted by buildmyworld at 7:14 PM on March 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

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