What Do We call Each Other?

Dear Hal-
I have been going out steadily with a very lovely lady for almost a year now (I am 73, she is 68). We are in a monogamous relationship and are quite happy. Our problem is, what do we call each other? Phrases like, “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” seem too juvenile while “lady-friend” sounds too stilted. Do you have any suggestions?
Nameless in Nashua
Dear Nameless-
I know exactly what you mean. In fact, I discuss this in my soon to be published Suddenly Solo book. I coined a phrase, “Really Close Friend” or RCF for short but I admit it is not perfect for everyone’s taste. I have heard a variety of terms used:
“My Significant Other” – sounds like a legal term to me
“My Mate” – something a bloke might say!
“Boy Toy” – might work for Madonna
“Main Squeeze” – far too flip for my taste.
The woman I am currently seeing once referred to me as, “The guy I’m shacking up with,” which candidly made me a bit uncomfortable, but that’s her style and it’s part of what I like about her.
I know of a couple who wear engagement rings and refer to each other as, “fiancé” even though they have no intention of ever getting married. They just find it easier to refer to each other as such. There is no one “right” phrase that works for everyone so I suggest you both try out as many as you want and then decide together what you are both comfortable with. I see no reason why you can’t introduce each other with your first names and leave it at that. As long as you both agree on a term, you will find that labels really don’t mean that much . . . a rose by any other name, right?
Hal

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Levy

    How about my ‘partner’…simple and says it all…Marlene

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