we need a new label system


passionThis labeling —

Partners/lovers sitch has been in trouble a long time. A friend’s “boyfriend” died. That was the label for him since they did not live together and were not married, he was “boyfriend.”

They were a couple though for seven years. Hello? “Boyfriend”? For someone you have shared a bed and your life with, if not your electricity bill with, for the last seven years?

That just does not work.


Someone tried to fix this a while back coming up with “significant other.” But that is just an embarrassing term. I flinch any time I hear or use it.


Maybe we could do it the way universities do it. Use titles. Various titles establishing degrees of relationship. Like, there is mother or father of my children. I know a lot of people who are not married but have children. Surely they cannot be boyfriend/girlfriend. Creating another human must be more significant than that. Then a degree of attachment. Like, this is the only person I am dating versus this is one of several people I am dating. Then, length of time. You know, seven years? That is significant. I am thinking we should do it like the Germans do it too.

The Germans are very formal and good with degrees. Like you cannot just say doctor, you have to say professor doctor doctor and list every single degree there to be polite in German. I think that would really work in this sitch. Father of my child/lover of seven years/the only person I spend time with romantically is just much more accurate than “boyfriend.”


I am going to work this out in a graph and come up with flippy names. It will take a while. I am not so good with graphs. [Though pretty good with flippy names.] This must be fixed.


where the art work comes from :
that is from thunderohl

0 Responses to we need a new label system

  1. It almost sounds like “levels” for a character in a computer game with points for stamina (the length of time you’ve spent/put up with this person) and points for the amount of sexual activities you’ve indulged in, and the depth of the emotions, etc

  2. max

    Well all levels of character in an electronic game plan are just artificial constructs built to mimic real humans.

  3. I remember when they used to write “lover” in obituaries. Gak.

    I never did like “partner.” I sounds too western.

  4. “Signficant other” is used here a lot – I don’t like the term much either.

    I have found myself using the phrase “My ex-boyfriend that I lived with for seven years…”. Which is way too long, lol. A new label for that – yeah…

  5. sulya

    Sorry to hear about your friend’s loss, max. Sad.

    It is a hard thing, the labelling thing. People find out I had never actually had a ceremony and they’re like ‘Oh, I thought you were married.’ And I’m like, “I was with the man for 12 years, try telling me to my face that that isn’t a marriage and see what happens?”

    So, I’ll be very curious to see what you come up with. I often used to say “other half” or, on bad days, “lesser half”… Now that we’re apart I call him my “son’s father”… It’s easier than it was in a way…

  6. Kym

    While your solving titles, can you fix my problem? Kevin and I lived together for almost 5 years before we got married. People always want to know how long we’ve been married. I usually just answer 25 (folding in those 5 years) but isn’t there some short hand way of saying, “We’ve been married twenty but we lived together almost 5 years before that.” I mean, those years count to us.

  7. max

    I wonder if they have already solved this in another language. Hmm.

  8. “Well all levels of character in an electronic game plan are just artificial constructs built to mimic real humans.”

    I’ll keep that in mind next I play … eh Pac Man.

  9. simple – we can do the Star Trek Next Generation thing…

    Our significant other is our #1. This is Jen, my #1. He is survived by a son, Thomas, and his #1 of ten years, Cathy H.

    Being number 1 is the best place, isn’t it.

    Of course, one’s #1 would consider one thier #1 and vice-versa…their can’t be a number 2, now can there?

  10. max

    Um. No more scifi cons for you Kim.

  11. Oh, please do solve this! Yes, it seems so trivial to refer to Marcus as my ‘boyfriend’. Same situation. We don’t live together though he is here 1-2 nights a week. We’ve been together…ack..9 years?? Anyhow, I really hate the term and don’t like S.O. or partner or even lover which seems too sensational or forbidden. Love of my life? Spouse in training? Help?

  12. max

    Well while I am working on this the first thing we could do is start calling someone “my man” instead of “my boyfriend.”

  13. Yeah, I’ve tried that one out…it’s OK..but the problem is that a long time friend took over that when she finally did find her man and she almost made a joke of it the way she used it. Even though they are married now she still says “MY man.” Kinda ruined it for me.

  14. max

    Someone cannot take that one. That is like saying only one person can say husband. Smack her around and use it.

  15. tj

    All I know is that pic is super hot.

  16. max

    Gee if I grow my hair out another three inches I can completely reproduce that photo.

  17. I would recommend a system that adds an alphabet soup to the end of a person’s name. You know..the way professionals do….M.D., C.P.A., etc.

  18. I tried ‘partner’ when we got married, but I just couldn’t bring myself to. Before that he was ‘boyfriend’, although that was starting to make me feel a bit mutton dressed as lambish.

    Russians (Ha, you knew it wouldn’t be long before that one came up) just say ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ regardless of actual marital status. Mind you, they also call any relative of a certain age ‘sister’ and ‘brother’ and random woman or man over a certain age ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ and any *cough* older relatives ‘grandma’ or ‘grandad’, so what would you expect?

    The trouble with ‘my man’ is that then you’d get ‘my woman’ and then it’s just the slippery slope to ‘her indoors’, really.

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