Can Older Women Have a Platonic Friendship?

Retired couple on a couch

Even in our younger days, platonic friendships weren’t so easy to come by. But as we age, can we truly have a platonic friendship? Here’s the scoop. 

When I was much younger, one of my best friends in the entire world was a young man, and we made it work well, even with me having a boyfriend. I enjoyed his friendship so much that I never wanted to lose that platonic friendship dynamic. To this day, he’s still my friend, and we both have families and children, but I really do look back on that friendship with fondness. Can you have a platonic friendship when you’re older? I say absolutely yes. 

First, What’s a Platonic Friendship?

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You may be reading this and thinking, “What, exactly, is a platonic friendship?” In a nutshell, a platonic friendship is a relationship based purely on an emotional or intellectual level. So, no friends-with-benefits type of deal. It’s a friendship where you can truly gain mutually beneficial happiness and comfort, but it’s without physical intimacy or sex. So, there is a love factor involved, but it’s a brother/sister/familial type of love. 

Sounds easy, right? While, in theory, it seems simple enough, what happens when one of you wants to take the relationship a step further while the other wants to remain platonic? Furthermore, if that does happen, will weirdness ensue and a great friendship be lost? 

This is the stuff of which movies are made, my friends. If I had to mention only one movie where a platonic friendship goes awry, it’s the ever-popular “When Harry Met Sally.” Girl meets boy; girl befriends boy, girl falls for boy, boy gets weirded out and bails. There is a happy ending to the movie, though, when on New Year’s Eve, they both get their acts together and realize they’re the ones for each other, and the rest is cinematic history.

And for those of us with children that may not know about Harry and Sally, a great movie from this century with a platonic relationship would be any one of the Harry Potter films. Harry & Hermione truly adore each other but never cross that platonic friendship line. 

Older Women and Platonic Relationships

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Hold onto your hats, my friends, because this section might get a little spicy! When I started researching platonic friendships, I began to ask myself some very personal questions. As every woman is different and wants different things as we age, I began to ask myself about my marriage and what would happen if it turned into a platonic relationship (my marriage is strong and true, so no worries on my end). 

What if my husband was unable to have sex due to health reasons? Would I still want to be in the marriage? Or, on the other side of the coin, what if I had no desire? Would I still want to be with my husband? And my answer is wholeheartedly yes. Again with the honesty thing, I adore it when he brushes my hair or gives me a massage. To me, it serves that intimacy purpose that I want. 

As women get older, their estrogen levels get lower and lower. This lack of estrogen naturally gives us a lack of sex drive. And while it may be a royal pain for some of us, others may revel in the fact that they no longer have that desire.

I mean, let’s think about it for a second: menopause is the time when our estrogen plummets, and we can no longer have children. Try adding in hot flashes, night sweats, and dryness, and that’s a trifecta for a low sex drive as well. So, a platonic friendship may be exactly what we’re looking for. 

Maintaining Boundaries

If you want a platonic friendship to work, maintaining boundaries is a must. You’ll need to be open with your friend to ensure you’re both on the same page. 

So, what kind of boundaries am I talking about? Flirting, kissing (yes, you can kiss in a platonic relationship to a point), hugging, and intimacy should all be mutual and agreed upon. I know, it sounds like a contract, but it never hurts to chat about what you both want in the early days. 

Platonic Relationships Outside of Marriage

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Oh boy, this can be a tricky one. While you may love having a friend to hang out with and enjoy the company of, your spouse may get a twinge of jealousy – and that’s completely normal.

Here’s where your communication skills will need to come in handy: be honest and forthcoming with details about the friendship so there are no “what ifs.” For my marriage, I trust my husband implicitly, and he trusts me, so we’ve never had a problem with friends of the opposite sex. But, if ever one of us felt uneasy, having a truthful talk would be the way to go.

Read Next:

Overcoming Overthinking in Your Relationships

How Mindfulness Can Help Relationships Thrive

Is Toxic Communication Ruining Your Relationship?


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