Can Dating Be Platonic? (10 Things You Should Know)

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Can dating be platonic?

Dating can be platonic, but the definition of “platonic” can vary. Platonic dating is when two people agree to spend time together without any romantic, physical, or sexual interest. For example, when two friends go on a date or when individuals who are asexual date each other.

A man and woman in the woods having a picnic—Can Dating Be Platonic
Image by author via Canva—Can Dating Be Platonic?

It may seem funny to think about purely platonic dating.

But I can assure you that all kinds of dating can be platonic. There are entire online forums and sites for strictly platonic dating. We’ll look at some specific examples below to get a crystal clear understanding of this phenomenon.

A lot of people ask questions about platonic dating, so I put together this guide. This article will explore all the ins and outs of platonic dating and relationships. Let’s dive in!

What Does Platonically Dating Mean? (Definition & Meaning)

Platonic dating is when two people who are usually not romantically involved with one another spend time together because they enjoy each other’s company.

If I were to come up with a platonic dating definition, it would involve several common elements.

Here are the usual elements:

  • No sexual activity
  • No romantic physical interaction
  • No romantic feelings
  • No sexual attraction

These elements form the platonic dating meaning and separate platonic dating from any other form of dating.

What might seem like platonic dating to some could be interpreted as romantic by others, but the key is that there isn’t any sexual activity or romantic physical interaction (or attraction) between the two individuals.

The concept of “platonic love” comes from the philosopher Plato, who used the term to illustrate that an attachment can exist without sexual interest. It is possible to be in love with a person without wanting to be sexually or physically intimate.

Plato called this type of love platonic because it was friendship-based.

Can a Date Be Platonic?

Yes, a date can be platonic.

A date can be platonic when there is no sexual or romantic desire between two people. You might be asking yourself, “Is it really a date, then?” That’s a good question. Now we get down to semantics and definitions.

Friends sometimes talk about “friend dates” and even parents sometimes describe going out with their children as “Daddy-daughter dates” or “Mommy-son dates”. These are platonic dates with no romantic attraction or desire. Essentially, it is two people who enjoy each other’s company spending time together in a non-romantic context that is free of any physical attraction or sexual intention.

The one exception might be when two asexual individuals choose to date each other. In this case, there is a romantic context even though neither person feels any romantic or sexual attraction.

What is asexuality?

A person who is asexual has the following characteristics. They do not experience sexual attraction to any gender or sex, and have little or no desire for sex. If they feel any desire, it usually stems from emotional closeness with others, rather than physical contact. Some people who identify as asexual colloquially refer to themselves as “aces”.

Platonic Dating Examples

When you’re trying to figure out the answer to “Can dating be platonic?”, it can be helpful to see examples. Platonic relationships can occur in a number of different situations and contexts.

Here is a list of platonic dating or platonic relationship examples:

  • Two friends on a “friend” date
  • Two people on a first date who don’t click and agree to just be friends and to not pursue a sexual or romantic future together
  • Sugar daddy/sugar mama platonic dating
  • LGBTQ+ platonic dating
  • Two asexual individuals who are dating

Dating can also be considered to be platonic if it occurs in certain settings, such as at work or within family relationships.

Platonic Dating Vs. Friendship: What’s The Difference?

Is platonic dating the same as friendship?

Platonic dating and friendship seem very similar, but there are a few subtle nuances that differentiate the two ideas. They are not exactly the same, but they do overlap in many ways.

Dating is usually a search for someone to date exclusively with the goal of developing an intimate romantic relationship. Friendship is about getting emotionally close to someone without expecting or wanting anything romantic to happen.

Platonic dating is when two people spend time together but have no intentions or desire of anything romantic ever developing. Remember, platonic dating can refer to friends, co-workers, and sometimes even family members (depending on how you define “dating”).

The main difference might be in definitions, terminology, and rare exceptions as with asexual couples.

Can You Platonically Date Someone You Are Physically Attracted To?

This depends on your definition of “date.”

If your definition of “date” is simply two people spending time together, then yes, you can platonically date someone to whom you are physically attracted.

Two people can certainly feel sexual desire for each other and remain platonic friends. However, this is often difficult because one of the two people often develops romantic feelings and interest in the other.

On the other hand, some people believe that two members of the opposite sex (or whatever gender you find attractive) can never be friends. They believe that there is always an underlying sexual tension that removes the possibility of platonic interaction. This might especially be true for two exes who choose to remain friends or friends with benefits.

When Can’t Dating Be Platonic?

The relationships that can’t be platonic are often ones where one person has had a romantic or sexual attraction for the other from the start. These feelings might have been hidden, but they still exist nonetheless.

As soon as someone develops nonplatonic feelings or interests, then the relationship might no longer be considered platonic.

Sometimes when people say, “It’s not a date,” they might be trying to keep the relationship platonic. However, if one person has romantic feelings for the other, then it will never really be platonic because of their need for intimacy with that person.

Is There Such a Thing as a Platonic Crush?

Yes, a crush can be platonic. There are many different forms of non-romantic crushes.

A platonic crush is called a squish, man crush, or girl crush. You might have heard about a “bromance” or platonic relationship between two straight guys. These are all forms of platonic attraction.

A platonic crush can have a deep emotional connection but not a romantic one, and it’s often just as intense.

A squish, on the other hand, might be even more emotionally connected than an actual friend crush or even a non-sexual crush on someone you don’t know that well like a “celebrity crush” on a famous person.

For example, I have a “writer crush” on Stephen King and Dean Koontz because of their talent.

Can You Fall in Love Platonically?

Yes, you can fall in love with someone platonically.

When I was in college, I met a girl who became my really good friend. We both had a lot of common interests and we got along really well. As time went on, she became one of my best friends. One day, I realized that I had fallen in love with her platonically. The feelings were very strong, which confused me because she’s was never my romantic partner.

In fact, there was no sexual or romantic interest from either of us.

It took me a little longer to figure out that these feelings were platonic because they seemed so intense. But when I examined them more closely, they didn’t feel like the ones that I normally associate with being in a romantic type of love.

Is Platonic Dating Cheating?

Can dating be platonic? Yes, but is it still cheating?

No, platonic love is not cheating. Most close friends (of any gender) experience a nonromantic platonic love for each other. You can also feel platonic love for your family members, which is certainly not cheating.

Strong feelings of closeness and connection do not automatically equate to cheating.

But this does bring up some related questions:

  • What’s the difference between plantoic love and emotional cheating?
  • Can cuddling be platonic?
  • Can kissing be platonic?

What’s The Difference Between Platonic Love and Emotional Cheating?

The main difference is that platonic love is not sexual or attraction-based, and emotional cheating is when you’re in a relationship with someone but still romantically desire another person.

So, the difference comes down to intent, motivation, and attraction.

With platonic love, there is zero physical or romantic interest.

Can Cuddling Be Platonic?

Yes, but sometimes it might not seem that way.

Two friends of any gender can certainly cuddle without any romantic intent. In fact, this is fairly common behavior between same-gender friends in some cultures.

One example is two straight girls in the United States. It’s pretty common for girls to hand all over each other, sleep in the same bed, and cuddle.

Yet, there is often zero sexual or physical attraction between the two girls. They simply want to express platonic affection by being physically close to each other.

Can Kissing Be Platonic?

Certain types of kissing can be strictly platonic. In many cultures, friends and family members kiss each other on the cheek as a form of greeting. Some family members even kiss on the lips.

I’m not talking about french kissing or making out, which is certainly not platonic.

It really depends on the culture, context, and type of kissing involved.

For example, it’s possible for two actors to film a romantic scene where they heavily kiss and pretend to have sex while holding no sexual attraction for each other. However, even this is somewhat subjective.

Here is a four-minute video from The Real that shares several different perspectives on platonic friendships and relationships. It’s an interesting mix of views about “Can dating be platonic?”, so it’s definitely worth a watch.

Video by The Real Daytime via YouTube—Can Dating Be Platonic?

Can a Romantic Relationship Turn Platonic?

A romantic relationship can turn platonic.

I know this very well, as my first marriage turned platonic. We spent years together as essentially roommates, raised two children together, and eventually got divorced.

Now, we are in each other’s lives because of our children. There is zero romantic interest from either of us, so our interactions are completely platonic.

Sometimes people do become friends with somebody they used to be in a romantic relationship with (as in my case). In such instances, the former lovers will likely have different feelings and expectations than when they were together romantically. The two partners may no longer want the same type of relationship as before and may want to move on without getting too emotional.

There are so many things that could happen with two people after a romance ends. The two people may be in the same friend group, have children together, or frequent the same places (i.e. bars, restaurants, gyms, and more).

Platonic Dating Sites (5 Great Examples)

While it can be easy to answer the question, “Can dating be platonic?” it is sometimes harder to actually find someone to platonically date. There are several dating sites that cater specifically to platonic relationships.

Look at this list of platonic dating sites:

I met several of my friends on MeetUp, so I highly recommend that you check out this free app. My girlfriend found her current friend group on Bumble BFF.

So, these platonic dating sites really can work!

Final Thoughts on “Can Dating Be Platonic?”

Platonic dating is healthy and can really enhance your life and wellbeing. I encourage you to explore your platonic relationships. If you are dating someone romantically, it can be a good idea to check in with them about boundaries and expectations.

This is a simple way to avoid potential misunderstandings and unintentional problems in your relationship.

If you’re looking for a non-platonic date, check out these resources:

Dating SitePrice Range (Free-$$$)Learn More
eHarmony$$Learn more
ChristianMingle$$Learn more
TinderFreeLearn more
Reasons guys think you’re easy? No! Find a match with these resources.

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