Has Platonic Co-Parenting Found its Moment?

Not a new phenomenon, but one that's gaining popularity

A new idea has picked up steam during the pandemic.
Micael Widell/Unsplash

For people around the world, the pandemic has put numerous aspects of their lives on hold. From dating to vacation plans, a whole lot of things have by necessity been pushed back to some nebulous “when there’s a vaccine” point in time. But what about people who are looking to make an even bigger life decision — like, say, having a child?

A new article by Deborah Linton at The Guardian looks at a particular slice of would-be parents: people who are currently romantically unattached but are nonetheless looking for a co-parent. Platonic co-parenting as a concept is being explored by a growing group of people. As Linton describes it, it boils down to “a non-romantic partner to have — and raise — a child with.”

The Guardian notes that this phenomenon has existed for years in gay communities, but is now picking up speed among heterosexual people who are intrigued by the idea of parenting without a romantic relationship. “On Coparents.co.uk, which launched in Europe in 2008, two-thirds of its 120,000 worldwide members are straight,” Linton writes. And during the pandemic, several sites dedicated to co-parenting, dubbed “mating sites,” have seen significant increases in traffic.

As the article points out, platonic co-parenting offers a number of challenges to those who take part in it. For some, there’s a question of societal acceptance; for others, there’s an issue over the best way to create a stable environment for one’s child. As with anything involving parenting and intimacy, there are plenty of complex issues to navigate — but, as the article points out, this approach may be the right one for some people who’ve been frustrated by other options available to them. It’s an issue that leaves plenty to ponder, with few easy answers.

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