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Is platonically dating cheating?

Platonically dating while in a committed relationship is a controversial topic. Some view it as completely innocent, while others see it as emotional cheating. There are arguments on both sides, so whether or not it’s considered cheating ultimately comes down to each couple’s personal boundaries and definitions of fidelity.

What is platonically dating?

Platonically dating refers to going on date-like activities with someone you have strictly platonic feelings for. This means you enjoy their company and conversation, but have no romantic or sexual desire for them. Platonic dating activities could include:

  • Grabbing coffee, dinner, or drinks one-on-one
  • Seeing a movie or show together
  • Going shopping, hiking, bowling, etc
  • Texting or calling frequently just to chat

The key distinction is that platonically dating involves quality one-on-one time with someone outside of your romantic relationship. You may share personal details about your life and have deep conversations.

Arguments That It’s Not Cheating

Here are some common arguments in favor of platonically dating while in a relationship:

  1. No sexual/romantic intent: There is no risk of physical or emotional cheating without romantic feelings involved.
  2. Satisfies companionship needs: Platonic dating can fulfill the need for fun social experiences and reduce loneliness for singles or couples lacking close friends.
  3. Doesn’t limit other relationships: Platonic dating still allows focus on maintaining a strong primary romantic relationship.
  4. Develops emotional intelligence: Spending one-on-one time with someone new fosters emotional intelligence and maturity.

Overall, some believe as long as both parties are truly platonic friends with well-defined boundaries in place, platonically dating while in a relationship does not equate to cheating. The assumption is that it’s possible to engage meaningfully with people of the opposite sex without it becoming inappropriate.

Arguments That It Is Cheating

On the other hand, here are some arguments that platonically dating can constitute cheating:

  1. Emotional intimacy crosses a line: Sharing deep thoughts, feelings and details about your life with someone else promotes emotional intimacy reserved for your partner.
  2. Slippery slope: Platonic dating fosters emotional intimacy that could lead to romantic attachment over time, even if unintentional.
  3. Distracts from the primary relationship: Quality one-on-one time with someone new inevitably takes attention away from your significant other.
  4. Feels like dating: Platonic dating mirrors behaviors of romantic dating, which most monogamous couples would consider inappropriate emotional cheating.

Critics argue platonic dating enables emotional intimacy and quality time with someone new at the expense of your primary partner. Blurred lines make it easy for platonic dating to cross over into romantic interest over time.

Establishing Personal Boundaries

Ultimately, there are good-faith arguments on both sides of this issue. The key is for each couple to discuss their personal definitions and boundaries of fidelity.

Important questions to cover include:

  • What specific behaviors and levels of emotional intimacy do we consider appropriate or inappropriate with friends of the opposite sex?
  • How much one-on-one time outside of our relationship is healthy vs. excessive?
  • How will we foster open and honest communication about other friendships?

Through mutual understanding, respect and compromise, couples can determine what platonic dating behaviors align with their personal values and definitions of commitment. There are no universally right or wrong answers. The most ethical non-monogamous relationships stem from mutual consent based on transparent communication.

Best Practices for Managing Platonic Friendships

For couples who decide platonic dating is permissible, here are some best practices to maintain healthy boundaries:

  • Check in regularly about how you each feel regarding levels of communication with outside friends.
  • Prioritize quality couple time to nourish intimacy in your primary partnership.
  • Discuss new friends and social activities transparently as they arise.
  • Honor a partner’s request to meet new friends important to you.
  • Limit one-on-one outings with any particular outside friends.

Applying conscientious boundaries prevents outside platonic friendships from threatening the commitment you’ve made to your significant other.


The ethics of platonically dating while in a relationship boil down to the couple’s agreed upon definitions and boundaries. With honest communication and compromise, couples can determine what platonic behaviors align with their personal values, needs and commitment preferences. While general consensus on this issue remains divided, maintaining clearly defined boundaries and prioritizing your primary partnership helps mitigate risks associated with platonic dating.