The morality of romantic friendship


I’m a 26 year old guy from Minnesota, and I have a close female friend. We’ve been friends for over a decade. Neither of us have any intention to get married (to anyone), and are both happy with our current friendship.

The characteristics of our friendship are as follow:

a. Long-term: we see this as a lifelong relationship
b. Non-marital: we do not intend to get married, as a matter of personal preference
c. Non-sexual: we do not intend to have sex or have any sexual activity
d. Non-cohabitative: we are currently living separately and will continue to live separately unless circumstances change.
e. Romantic: we go out on “dates” often. E.g. we have dinners together, attend events together, etc.
f. Emotionally intimate: we share our personal lives and feelings with each other
g. Physical contact: we hold hands, hug, kiss lightly but do not engage in any act that may be deemed sexual - no contact with private regions, no passionate kissing, etc.
h. Heterosexual

Is it **immoral **to be in such a relationship, given that there is nothing sexual about our friendship, even though it is closer than what is conventional?


not that I see, but it seems strange though and unstable.

not a RomCom plot?


Most assuredly not a movie plot! :smiley:

Thanks for replying. It does seem unconventional (which is why I’m asking the question), but in terms of stability we’ve been romantic friends for many years!


you’ve found a rare match.


Yes I have! Will treasure this friendship :smiley:


If both of you are happy with this situation, I think it’s lovely! My husbands bachelor uncle is in a similar situation and people think it’s odd. I think he’s undiagnosed Asperger’s to be honest but what difference does a diagnosis make if people are fulfilled in this way. I know several saints had close spiritual friendships like Teresa Avila and John of the Cross. Even John Paul II and his female friend Wanda Poltawska were very close in a non-sexual way.


It’s nice to hear that I’m walking a path taken by great people! :cool:


This doesn’t sound romantic to me? :shrug: I have friends I go to dinner with, others I might go to the movies with, etc. None of which are romantic.

I think the whole premise is an oxymoron. There’s no such things as “romatic friendship”.

The only part that seems odd is the hand-holding, and in particular kissing. Odd, but I don’t think immoral per se. The problem will come when one of you does enter a romantic relationship, and thus the nature of this friendship will have to change. Or if one of you developes feelings for the other beyond what you currently perceive. But I guess you can cross either of those bridges when you come to it.


That’s a good point. I guess you could characterise our friendship as “very close, with some romantic elements”.

Yes, if either of us changes his/her perceptions about the relationship, then we would have something to talk about, but I suppose that’s the case for any friendship!

Thank you for your direct response on the ‘morality’ aspect :thumbsup:


You just described a really good friendship.
Nothing immoral about that.

The hand holding and friendly kisses might be a tad more than the usual friendship between male and female, but not much.
Neither of you are physically attracted to the other? Yeah, it’s a little When Harry Met Sally-ish, but…if neither is attracted to the other beyond friendship, then you are just great friends.

Keep in mind…one of you might actually meet someone else and fall madly in love…and if that happens, this friendship would have to adapt to that…

Make sure neither one of you is “waiting” for the other or “using” the other (for lack of a better word) as a way to avoid the fear of and not deal with a “real” and “serious” romantic relationship.


I think we are physically attracted to each other (hence the “romantic” aspect). But as mentioned, we have never had any sexual contact whatsoever, and do not intend to ever do so. :thumbsup:

I agree that if circumstances change, the relationship must change accordingly!

No, neither of us are using this friendship as a ‘replacement’ for something else; we enjoy this friendship for its own sake :smiley:


this is gravely immoral.


Why so? :confused:


I’d question the understanding of sexuality.
I think where there is the attraction of male and female, by virtue of that attraction, there is something sexual about it. Sexuality is a great thing.

(Consider… two men, or two women… having the same aspects… long term, romantic, etc… would Catholic teaching allow/tolerate such an exchange? I guess it would be considered sexual… ???)

Should you decide to have children, then truly consider marriage.

Consider marriage if you do want to make the lifetime commitment and be open to how your growing intimacy could lead to being mother and father.

I think what you have is still a great relationship. More power to you!


Thank you! We are not considering having any children, and we’re happy with our current state :thumbsup:


I do see some dangers, but not to the relationship in it’s current form.

If one of you enters into a regular romantic relationship it is possible for there to be jealousy,anger, hate, etc. and I think those emotions and the actions that can spring from them are immoral/sinful. Ditto the possibility that one of you might decide this current form is not enough and try to manipulate the other into a more conventional romantic relationship.

Also, a few posters mentioned that the friendship would have to change if one or both found a more conventional romantic interest. This is true and it can be a lot more difficult than you think. It’s not always easy to change long standing habits in a long term relationship. If you found yourselves accidentally giving a quick kiss or holding hands or maintaining a high level of emotional intimacy after one or both found a romantic partner it could be seen as infidelity.

Have you discussed the possibility of either or both of you finding a romantic relationship and how you would handle that? Do you regularly and honestly re-evaluate the situation with each other to make sure you are both still content and on the same page?


I’m glad that the relationship in its current form is fine! :thumbsup:

We have mutually agreed that we should communicate with each other if we desire any changes in our relationship, or wish to pursue other romantic relationships. Thus far, no serious matter has emerged. In fact, I’m proud to say that we’ve been more faithful to each other than many of the married couples among us! :cool:

As it stands now, the possibility of such changes are remote, and it is highly unlikely that our relationship, which has lasted a long time, will change. Both of us are happy with this relationship!


The general consensus so far is that it is not immoral, and I’m very encouraged by that! Thanks to all posters to this thread. I’ve done my best to reply promptly to each and every answer :smiley:

I’m still looking forward to more answers to my question, and I will continue to respond.

Many posters have also chipped in about the potential problems (practical, not moral problems) that we might face. Be rest assured that we’ve thought of/dealt with these practical triflings! :cool: This thread is mainly to answer the question on morality. (but I appreciate all answers, whether they were relevant or not!)


What particular aspect are you worried might make the relationship ‘immoral’?


The romantic aspect! We see each other as more than ordinary friends, but as romantic partners as well. We go on dates all the time, and we express love regularly. I was wondering if that was immoral.

As I mentioned, we steer well away from anything sexual because we know it’s sinful (outside of marriage) and could damage our relationship.

EDIT: I guess you could say that we are in a perpetual state of “boyfriend/girlfriend-hood” :smiley:
EDIT: But it’s more than just that, because we’re committed to this as a lifelong relationship!

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