Somehow this was brought up in a conversation between my friends and I the other day, and I have talked about it with my boyfriend Evan recently as well…
Because if you’re not married, the terms boyfriend and girlfriend sound a little bit on the…juvenile side. I mean, Evan and I are in our 30s and we have been living together for about a year and a half. He isn’t just a boyfriend, you know? Isn’t there a word that is more appropriate?
I’m sure one day we will get married and we’ll graduate to husband and wife, which sound LEGIT. You say the words husband or wife and everyone immediately knows the seriousness of the relationship. That means we are IN IT. TIL THE DEATH.
But as I tell everyone who asks me at least once a day, I don’t know when we’re going to do the whole marriage thing. It’s not currently a priority. Maybe we won’t! Either way, I’m pretty sure I don’t want a traditional wedding. The times, they are a changin! We’re committed, he’s my lobster, the lid to my pot, my one. So if we don’t ever get married, is he just my boyfriend for life? Is that it? The only word I get? Am I going to be 80 years old referring to Evan as my boyfriend?
I think of people my parents’ age, who are maybe divorced and have now been with a new significant other for a long time and will never get married again. Referring to their spouses as boyfriends/girlfriends doesn’t seem to do justice to what they actually are.
So I’ll break down the alternatives. I have also googled these alternatives to see which one looks the most appropriate according to the internet.
I will put this in a sentence for you:
My partner and I went hiking this weekend.
Are you immediately picturing me out hiking with my lesbian lover? Because if someone said this to me that is the first image that would pop into my head. Same-sex romantic hiking. Not that it would be a big deal if anyone happened to think I was a lesbian, you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to… But when I hear someone call their significant other their partner, I assume they’re gay. And if they are actually referring to someone who is of the opposite sex, I picture a yoga-loving-pot-smoking-hippy-dippy-dirty-blonde-hair-in-a-single-long-braided woman saying it (ie: Sarah, the most recent winner of Big Brother Canada – I just assumed she was a lesbian until she got a letter from her “partner” Scott…and then I was like “Oh! Surprise!”). In fact, when I think about it, I don’t think I’ve heard a man refer to his significant other as partner UNLESS he was referring to his longterm boyfriend. Maybe it happens, but I haven’t heard it that I can think of.
Here are the google image results of partner:
Oh okay, so not same-sex love, but like a business deal. A romantic transaction.
I don’t get quite the same image as partner, but I feel like this will inevitably get shortened to just partner if you actually started saying it on the regular. Also it sounds cheesy. I’ll try it out.
My life partner and I went hiking this weekend.
No one would take me seriously. I wouldn’t take someone seriously if they said this to me. And I still sound like I’m talking about my life-partner of the same sex. I would maybe say this if I was writing some sort of love letter to my life partner. “You are my life partner.” But I can’t use that in the every day.
So I guess this was a movie.
My spouse and I went hiking this weekend.
Hmm, nope. Spouse is like the government word for your significant other. It reminds me of tax season. It also rhymes with mouse, grouse and louse, so it doesn’t conjure up particularly great images of Evan and all that he is.
Like I said, government. Sterile. And super stock image-y.
Can you even imagine saying this to people seriously?
My soulmate and I went hiking this weekend.
I would just be too embarrassed for myself to utter those words aloud, in public. Unless I’m attempting to be funny, and then okay maybe.
Gag, is what Google says. Nothing says soulmates like inspirational quotes.
My manfriend and I went hiking this weekend.
I feel like this says I’m trying too hard. Like manfriend was funny the first time I heard it but now it’s been way overdone, like amazeballs.
See? I’m too late. It’s already a meme. Evan does usually have some sort of beard though, so maybe it is accurate.
My lover and I went hiking this weekend.
So that I actually do say sometimes. I can’t help it, I just like the word lover. The Barenaked Ladies and their “Lovers in a dangerous time” got me on this back in high school and I can’t stop myself. But I am well aware that it isn’t a grown-up thing to say. Plus, if I’m saying it to people I don’t know, it sounds like I am referring to someone I am having an affair with. Admit it, that’s the image you have when people refer to someone as their lover! But Evan IS my lover!
Bit of a Twilight feel here, but I think this one might be the most accurate! Also, sunsets. Lovers like sunsets.
So what do YOU call YOUR significant other?