AirTalk for October 30, 2013

“Person of opposite sex sharing living quarters” and other terrible terms for unmarried spouses

holding hands

annstheclaf/Flickr

What do you call your significant other who you're not married to?

Now that same-sex couples can legally take on the terms “husband” and “wife,” at least in some states, there’s another conundrum left to solve. What should unmarried couples, in long-term relationships (LTR) call each other?

To the uninitiated, it might seem like a trivial question. But for those in the know, it’s actually quite complicated. “Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” just don’t carry the right gravitas for most LTR couples. “Partner” works for some, but can be misconstrued as a business thing or a gay thing (not that there’s anything wrong with that, if it’s accurate). “Lover” and “lady friend” are just plain embarrassing. “Soul mate” is the term of choice for the romantics among us, but cynics recoil. “Significant other” is old fashioned and “better half” is way too self-deprecating.

On the more modern front, there’s “baby mama,” “my boo,” and “fusband,” which is a cross between fake or future husband – but those will clearly only work for a fraction of the seven million Americans living with but not marrying their main squeezes. Despite the myriad options, there really isn’t a perfect choice.

So why don’t these strange creatures just marry each other and get it over with? What’s your word of choice for your hombre or mujeres?


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