My Platonic Marriage and What it Means for our Relationship


At some point in marriage, everyone stops having sex. I mean, everyone. At least that’s what my husband told me when I tried to leave him after 17 years of marriage because the sexual pressure was too much for me. This came after 17 years of hearing from him how “normal” couples were intimate more than once a week and how I was violating some wives’ rules of conduct by not being part of that statistic. It was his bargaining chip to save our marriage by offering me a platonic marriage. What was a platonic marriage, anyway?

Isn’t a platonic marriage just a co-parenting relationship with financial dependence? my lawyer brain thought.

Here’s the thing — there is no real definition for “platonic marriage.” There have been stories about gay men who marry platonic female friends to keep their parents appeased. There are open marriages in which two people stay married for the sake of their kids yet see other people. 

[Read More: Tug of War: Brown Women & The Feat of Marriage]

And then there’s what my husband was proposing: that instead of moving out and moving on, I stay in the marriage as friends and we raise our two daughters in a healthy home. A celibate home because I told him that while I love him, I love him more like a friend than a husband. And here’s the thing — if you don’t love someone in that way and you’re being asked to be intimate a minimum once a week, intimacy can feel like a major boundary violation. So he proposed that we stay married as friends. 

That’s better than most Muslim couples, my religious female counselor told me. Look what you have. You guys are best friends. Most women don’t even talk to their husbands!

But I’m not most women. 

Was this really what other couples were doing? Was everyone in a passionless marriage out of convenience? Was I selfish to say I wanted more? Or was I being selfish to say I was staying and depriving my husband of the experience of having more than a friend-wife? Which was it? 

Stop watching Bollywood movies, my 14-year-old daughter told me when I told her we were getting a divorce. Words of wisdom from a young lady who thought she was far older than her years, just like her mama had been two decades ago. I, too, discounted Bollywood when I met my husband. Love comes after marriage, I told my 22-year-old self. Life isn’t Bollywood. 

Life isn’t Bollywood…but as I got older, I learned that the dreams and fantasies represented in Bollywood movies were a shadow of our inner desires. These passionate love stories touched on an inner yearning that so many of us had shoved deep down in favor of practicality. Then, we get to forty and realize that we married Nice Guy instead of Motorcycle Raj and we lost a piece of ourselves in the process of trying to do what society asked us to do. 

I moved downstairs into the newly renovated two-bedroom suite. For a month, we seemed happy with this arrangement. We celebrated Eid and hosted our friends. We decided to go to Disneyland as a family while sleeping in separate beds. Everything seemed perfect this way, in this new platonic reality. 

[Read More: I’m 24 Years old, and I Don’t Want to get Married Right Now]

Ironically, it was the older generation that saw a problem with this arrangement. The very people we sought to appease all those years suddenly were seeing things in a different light. 

You are both young enough to move on, our mothers urged us. Don’t stay in limbo. Move out and get a place. You need to find happiness while you still can

As for us, we don’t have the clarity of our 70-year-old mothers, nor do we have the wisdom of our 14-year-old daughter. We’re still trying to figure things out. We’ve been putting offers on condos, hoping that we could learn to live without each other because after 17 years, it’s very hard to build a new normal. Maybe moving out is the first step in moving on. Or maybe it will be a step in becoming closer and bridging the gaps that existed in our marriage. 

There are things that only time and intuition can tell. There is a clarity that nobody can give but our own hearts. For some people, a platonic marriage of convenience is ideal. 

I’m just not so sure that we are “some people.”

5 Indo Caribbean Vendors to Know This Wedding Season

indo caribbean wedding
Photo Courtesy of DvS Photography NYC

Wedding season is in full swing as the world resets from the coronavirus pandemic that halted mass events for years. Indo Caribbean weddings have rich diversity due to their varying religious and regional intricacies, but are generally large celebrations that require planning, coordination and preparation. Growing up, I was both excited and stunned at the busyness associated with streamlining a multi-day wedding celebration. 

[Read Related: 5 Indo-Caribbean Influencers who Will Spruce up Your Newsfeed]

The vibrant diaspora of first-generation young adults and their families may look to vendors who can understand the nuances of Indo Caribbean weddings.  Below are five Indo Caribbean vendors you need to know about this wedding season!

1. Henna by Anil Tulsi

A self-taught mehndi artist for more than 16 years, Anil Deonarine was fascinated by the delicate, deeply stained details that adorned the hands of Indian actresses and classical dancers. His passion for art inspired him to watch YouTube tutorials and meticulously freestyle designs on his sister’s hands.

Soon after, he began practicing mehndi on himself and perfected his signature designs that drew inspiration from traditional Rajasthani textiles and Arabic floral patterns. Deonarine is also known for his speed, and can craft a flowing, freestyle design in 3-5 minutes without much pre-planning that is symbolic and personalized to the individual.

As a member of the Indo Caribbean, Latino and LGBTQ communities, mehndi was a therapeutic means of growth for Deonarine at the intersection of his identities. With his mother’s aid, he began introducing mehndi to those that celebrate Quinceneras, Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Dinners) and Three Kings’ Day. Within the greater South Asian community, Deonarine frequently applied mehndi on family and friends for weddings/events and participated in cultural events such as holidays.

He initially faced some negative reactions from members of the South Asian community as a male artist, such as being chastised that mehndi is only for women, called slurs and told to stick to traditionally manly activities. However, Deonarine instead focused on bettering his skills, advocating and supporting other male artists, and soon built a loyal and excited clientele that fully supported and accepted him. It is his dream to design mehndi at a queer wedding to further defy stereotypes and champion mehndi’s inclusivity for all, irrespective of race, sexual orientation, religion or gender. 

2. Diana’s Candles 

indo caribbean candles
Soap bars | Photo Courtesy of Diana’s Candles & Soaps

Offering soy candles and natural soaps, Diana Sookram’s products have been used as bridal shower and wedding favors and gifts in bridesmaid, bachelorette and groomsmen boxes.

Sookram began creating natural products in 2016 after her daughter developed respiratory issues from store-bought candles. She fell in love with the creation process and soon began taking small-batch orders from family, friends and co-workers. Now, she is expanding her business through summer networking socials and prepping for mass orders during wedding season by stocking up on top-selling supplies such as small candle jars, lids and soap packaging.

Sookram’s products can be color and scent customized to match the theme of any occasion. Popular scents during wedding season include beach linen, honeysuckle jasmine, lavender and chamomile and honeysuckle rose. Whether a couple envisions a beachy, garden or opulent wedding, Sookram is able to create complementary colors and scents. 

She admits the hard work that goes into promoting a small business and jumps at the opportunity, particularly within the Indo Caribbean community, to network and collaborate.

3. Vibrant Garlands 

Fresh flowers are a staple in weddings and plentiful throughout the Caribbean. In some Indo Caribbean weddings, couples exchange garlands of fresh flowers, called malas, to signify their consent and joy in choosing one another as partners. This fundamental ritual dates back to ancient times and is deeply symbolic, as malas also adorn the statues of gods and goddesses in Indo Caribbean temples.


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A post shared by Mallika ?? (@vibrant_garlands)

Since the age of seven, Mallika Balgobin sat alongside aunties and uncles in temple and watched them handcraft malas. She was inspired to learn the techniques and in 2018, established her business, Vibrant Garlands, to make and sell malas for special occasions. 

Balgobin finds the preservation and teaching of traditional craft vital to her Indo Caribbean heritage, as she is able to make malas for some of the community’s biggest events such as weddings, religious ceremonies, holidays and funerals. 

Her recent 2023 trip to South India aided her in learning new techniques and she was encouraged by how the tiniest, simplest flower is arranged to symbolize auspiciousness and beauty. For weddings, Balgobin loves stringing white carnations, red roses, baby’s breath and pink lilies to evoke feelings of unity and love. Balgobin works with couples to customize fresh flowers. She provides fresh flowers or suggests couples buy the flowers of choice prior to customization.

4. G Star Tassa

The pulsating and electrifying rhythms of live tassa are a grand component of Indo Caribbean weddings. Since 2017, G Star Tassa Group has brought unique beats and energetic vibes to Indo Caribbean special occasions. While derived from Indian traditional drumming, tassa is a distinct musical experience particular to the Caribbean. It is generally associated with the splendor of wedding festivities due to the excited ambiance it produces. When arriving at a wedding where tassa is performing, the music is loud and center, indicating that a celebration is taking place. 


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A post shared by VAAN MUSIC (@vaan__music)

Watching, listening and dancing to tassa is a multisensory experience that heightens the audience.

For the members of G Star, playing tassa is a means of, “expressing culture, rather than representing it. When we play, we like to believe we are invoking emotions from every person who can hear it. Our culture embodies happiness, togetherness and love, all of which can be found in the sweet sound of Tassa.”

5. DvS Photography NYC: New York & Florida Wedding Photographer

Photography and videography offer couples some of the strongest mementos to relive their special day. Nicholas Mangal at DvS Photography brings high energy and professionalism to capture the right angles, looks and moments of a wedding. Located in both New York and Florida, Mangal prides himself as one of the only individuals in the Indo Caribbean community who shoots and edits both photography and videography in specially curated, all-inclusive packages for couples. With an emphasis on portraits, he personally caters to each couple and involves them after the shoot in the editing and final stages of his products. 

Mangal understands the complexity  that can accompany an Indo Caribbean wedding, but believes that this, “forces me to think outside of the box and create new perspectives, ensuring that I try different styles.”

He loves to document the aesthetics of Indo Caribbean weddings, from the rich embroideries of the outfits to colorful decor. 


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A post shared by Nicholas M (@dvsphotographynyc)

Ultimately, he aims to highlight the timeline of wedding rituals by capturing people in motion and interacting with the crowd to create lifelong memories that the couple can cherish forever. For Mangal, photography/cinematography is a deeply subjective form of art that can be used to capture the unique beauty and experience of Indo Caribbean weddings.

These vendors bring an important cultural and niche aspect to the Indo Caribbean wedding industry. Their products and brands are tailored to the community. As a 2023 bride, I am excited to see the diversity of vendors available to help guide and support those getting ready to begin their new journey of married life.

To inquire about services, please visit the vendors’ social media pages.

By Priya Deonarine

Priya D. Deonarine, M.S, NCSP, is the quintessential Pisces who has been dramatically shaped by her experiences and emotions. She … Read more ›