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Thread: Word for not-spouse?

  1. #1
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Word for not-spouse?

    Are there some good words in English for "a committed long-term relationship that isn't marriage"?

    Picture two people, who may not even live in the same physical space, who are in a committed relationship but who have no desire or intent to get "married", or desire to use the terms husband/wife/spouse.

    What is a good marketing term for that sort of thing?

    Partner? Significant other? Boyfriend/girlfriend/...? Comrade? Fellow-traveler? Love-o-my-life? Shieldmate?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I say "partner." That seems to be the term that most understand. I remember in 2012 when my permaculture teacher was talking about his "partner" I just jumped to "business partner" until I realized he was referring to the person he was married to.

    I've heard my kids and their "partners" refer to all kinds of people they were committed to--married, unmarried, trans, straight, cohabitating or not--referring to them as "partners." So I think that's the term du jour.
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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    lifemate?
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Couple or committed couple?
    Outpatients, as confused with inmates, who are in the institution of marriage?

    I had extended family, that after the kids were grown, they divorced. If not for the kids, they would have sooner. Once that piece of paper was no longer valid, they dated each other like teenagers, again, until the former husband died.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Partner is common and accepted.

    If you use “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” you will show how unwoke you are.

    I like “SO” (for significant other) in casual conversation. It just sounds less judgey-in-your-face-woke to me, but I admit that is entirely on me.

    I remember years ago probably 25 years now, we were at a neighborhood party and I asked one of the young men where his “other half” was. And then I apologized because it sounded so old fashioned. That was a term my parents would say, “your other half.”

    He laughed and said no problem he was just glad everyone would talk about his male partner so casually because it was still back in the day when being gay was iffy.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 4-27-21 at 4:12pm.

  6. #6
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    Partner? Significant other? Boyfriend/girlfriend/...? Comrade? Fellow-traveler? Love-o-my-life? Shieldmate?
    I would say whichever one you feel most comfortable with. I would think that trying to come up with one that may be seen as more 'correct' than the others may be just another round of ammunition in the wokeness cannon.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    Partner is common and accepted.

    If you use “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” you will show how unwoke you are, be forewarned.
    But partner almost seems like you are trying to hint it could be any gender (in fact it sounds strange for a heterosexual couple to use that term) when in actuality you may have a most ordinary heterosexual partnership (but keep em guessing!).

    I do think boyfriend and girlfriend can sound kinda juvenile, like one is in high school, yea I'm not trying to seem young either, so it's a bit odd that way, but it's what I tend to use. Significant other also works IMO.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I liked partner or SO, and sometimes use "beloved" to refer to my dearly departed. Any of those work for me.
    ETA: "not-spouse" is kind of cute, though...

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    I would say whichever one you feel most comfortable with. I would think that trying to come up with one that may be seen as more 'correct' than the others may be just another round of ammunition in the wokeness cannon.
    which seems at a certain point just plain old ageism as noone can keep up.

    Look noone cares if young people have their own slang, anymore than anyone cares that they have their favorite music etc. that older people might not get. So it's a secret handshake or whatever, if one isn't pretending to be that age, who cares. Such has long been modern society anyway even if not all societies. Though it is cool to see some things like a country music club that closed with all ages of people (maybe less diverse otherwise although not as bad as you might think).

    But when they start pretending that knowing the latest slang or not has some kind of moral significance. Yea um. It's like pretending not knowing what the latest trend among teenagers is has some moral significance. No, one is just maybe far from a teenager, and doesn't spend a lot of time around them.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    But partner almost seems like you are trying to hint it could be any gender (in fact it sounds strange for a heterosexual couple to use that term) when in actuality you may have a most ordinary heterosexual partnership (but keep em guessing!).

    I do think boyfriend and girlfriend can sound kinda juvenile, like one is in high school, yea I'm not trying to seem young either, so it's a bit odd that way, but it's what I tend to use. Significant other also works IMO.

    F1CCE060-9D08-4276-B389-E2302941D1DF.jpg
    You unwoke heteronormative person you! By your words you imply there is something wrong with a same sex partner and you do not wish to be associated with that concept and you wish to make it clear that is not you and etc etc.!!!!

    just kidding you.

    But that’s how it is done, the cancel culture shaming.

    I think I use the term “husband” about once every 3 years. Very seldom.

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