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What would you do if your Aunt Shirley introduced you to her "lover?" What if the woman you had been dating and living with for three years referred to you as her "significant other?"

The language we use to identify our loved ones can be very powerful, but unfortunately, we don't seem to have a wealth of updated versions to suit the spectrum of relationships that exist today.

A USA Today article
examines the fact that with many Americans dating into retirement age or choosing to live with a partner and not marry, terms like "boyfriend," "girlfriend," "husband" and "wife" just don't cut it anymore.

"I've talked about this with some of my female friends," Lynn Bartholome, a 57-year-old professor and popular culture expert, tells the newspaper. "I don't know what to say. I say 'the guy I'm dating.' I really honestly feel weird calling him my 'boyfriend.' Is a man you date and are intimate with a 'beau,' 'a significant other,' a 'partner?' I don't know."

While terms like "lover" may be appropriate among close friends, do you really want to announce to the world that you two are schtuping regularly every time you introduce each other? We think we should start coming up with some new terms of endearment. What do you call your lover/girlfriend/partner/sweetie pie/ball and chain?

Posted: 9/26/08

I like "honey" and "girlfriend." I don't know why, but I do. "Lover" sounds like it comes from a bad romance novel.

  • By cobber
  • on 10/7/08 1:53 PM EST

How about "MY MAIN SQEEZE"? I have used that one from time to time.Mainly I just say,"This is my man."


If anyone ever called me "lover" in public I would want to fall through the floor.


I think boyfriend and girlfriend are cute terms no matter what your age. It keeps the relationship youthful and fun.


I never liked the term "partner," I think because it reminds me of business partners. Yeah, lover is a little weird...I prefer boyfriend and significant other, the latter being for more formal situations, like if you're talking about him/her to an employer?


Sarah Palin refers to her husband as "First Dude"... I kinda like that one.


I know. This is a sticky one. Saying "my grandmother's boyfriend" sounds kinda cute, though. I just say friend, no matter who they are. At least that much is true.