On Friendship and “Relationships”

This article in the Guardian really got me thinking about the rather strange and stipulative ways that we categorise relationships and privilege some of them over others– even those of us who e.g. think gay relationships are on a par with straight ones. In particular, we don’t give much thought to the ways that family relationships (defined in terms of biology or adoption) and sexual relationships are privileged above others. The article is about two women who are non-sexual, non-romantic life partners, who define themselves as friends. And people have a very difficult time understanding this sort of relationship. (Just a few questions this raised for me: Why is ‘family’ defined in such a way as to not include a relationship like this? Why is this relationship any different from that between people who once had sex but haven’t done so for 30 years? Why care about whether there’s any sex going on, or ever has been? How should we define ‘romantic’ anyway?)