Romantic Relationships vs. Queerplatonic Relationships
(Please note that for the purpose of this post I’m using “queerplatonic” to mean “committed platonic relationship” as I know not everyone is comfortable with this term. I am talking about my own experiences, and for my own experiences queerplatonic is the word I enjoy using, although I know this isn’t the case for everyone.)
A very close friend of mine recently was questioning their romantic orientation, and asked me what the difference between a committed platonic relationship and a romantic relationship was. This gave me pause, and it’s also a question I get here at Aromantic Aardvark quite often. Usually I answer with “it’s self-defined, no one knows how you feel but you”. I still agree with this sentiment, but while talking to another friend of mine - also an aro in a committed platonic relationship - I think I came up with a definition, or at least one that works for me personally. Please note that I am not saying this definition works for everyone, however.
My idea was that queerplatonic relationships were sort of the ‘mix and match’ of relationships, which is why it’s so hard to define and articulate. If you ask twenty aro spectrum people who experience these feelings what this word means, you will get about twenty different answers. With romance, even though some of the things may vary within specific relationships and everyone has a different experience with it, there is still a narrative that is generally followed and things that are expected in a romantic relationship. For example, bed sharing, hand holding, cuddling, kissing, etc. One or two of these things might not be present in the specific relationship, of course, but there tends to be certain things that are expected in a romantic relationship before it is simply considered platonic. Likewise, there are certain things expected in strictly platonic friendships - in most friendships, if you kiss or share a bed with them, it would generally be considered unusual.
Queerplatonic to me means the breaking down of narratives. It means no rules. It means doing, essentially, whatever you are comfortable with. If you want to be best friends for all intents and purposes but also get married, that’s okay. If you want to kiss sometimes but don’t want to feel obligated, that’s okay too. This is why every person in a relationship like this has a different definition of it, because there are no rules. Queerplatonic means forging your own definition, saying “neither platonic or romantic is right”, and just doing whatever feels comfortable in the moment. It means making your own structure, mix and matching what you and your partner feel comfortable with. And I think trying to strictly define a queerplatonic narrative defeats the whole purpose of it. The purpose of it is to forge your own definition, to say “none of these words fit, so I’m going to make my own”. Queerplatonic is the breaking down of boundaries, or at least, that’s been my experience. It’s uncharted territory that has no societal bounds, that has no one making a strange face at what you do or don’t do in your relationship (or at least, not from people who understand the concept). Queerplatonic means mixing and matching, saying “I want to do this platonic thing, and this romantic thing, but not this romantic thing”.
That is, fundamentally, the most important part of a queerplatonic relationship. Breaking down boundaries, blurring the lines between platonic and romantic. The specifics may be different depending on the specific relationship, but that’s one thing I’ve found that all have in common.