Consider the Gifts of Platonic Friends in Dating At An Older Age

dating at an older age

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Dating at an older age isn’t easy, and can get complicated. One thing I’ve noticed since being divorced is the increase in the number of male friends I have; relationships that are strictly platonic. But, is this an illusion? In other words, can men and women really be friends? That’s what I explore in this week’s Love Essentially, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.

Can Men and Women Really Be Friends? by Jackie Pilossoph

When the late Nora Ephron wrote her megahit 1989 movie, “When Harry Met Sally,” she was exploring the question, “Can men and women be friends?”

According to Harry (played by Billy Crystal), men and women can’t be friends “because the sex part always gets in the way.”

I personally happen to have many friendships with men, all of them strictly platonic. According to Harry, they all want to have sex with me, but I disagree. Older, single, divorced men and women living the suburbs gravitate toward each other. Yes, oftentimes to date, but I think platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex at this stage in my life offer many, many gifts.

First off, I believe that almost everyone we meet — whether male or female — brings something special into our lives or touches us in some positive way. It might be the introduction of a new hobby, interest, travel destination, museum, Broadway show, recipe, book or movie. It might be great advice about kids or a career. He or she might make us laugh like never before, or change our opinion of something or someone. Our lives only get better and richer from the people we let in, and it makes no difference if they wear a bra or boxers.

Other benefits of male/female friendships include the possibility of meeting and connecting with other men or women. You could become friends with a guy, be out with him one night, and meet the love of your life when your friend happens to run into his sister’s college roommate’s cousin’s ex-coworker. Right?
I also love having male friends because I enjoy hearing a guy’s perspective on dating and relationships. It’s fun and very eye opening, at times. And if he needs my take on things, I am always happy to offer my opinion as to what’s going on in the head of the girl he’s dating, especially after their last argument.

Remember, though. I am a single person, so having platonic male friends is perfectly acceptable. But, are there rules for married people or people in serious relationships? Are they allowed to have friends of the opposite sex? Or is that considered cheating?

Click here to read the rest of the article, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

One Response to “Consider the Gifts of Platonic Friends in Dating At An Older Age”

  1. Julia L

    This is a debate that has been going on since several years. Can men and women truly be friends strictly on a platonic level? While there are several people who believe that men and women cannot be friends due to “sex getting in the way,” I personally beg to differ. Platonic relationships are not only possible, they are fulfilling too. And soon after divorce, companionship is a key need, rather than sex.


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