Author Topic: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?  (Read 14289 times)

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libraryliz

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I have a coworker who has been with her boyfriend for 20+ years, living with him for 15 or so of those.  They're clearly very committed as a couple and love each other, but for them marriage is not the right choice and they don't have any interest in getting married.  It feels ridiculous to refer to him as her "boyfriend".  She and I have discussed this before.  She usually just refers to him as "Ross" and I (and most coworkers) say "Ross" or "Rachel's Ross".  Is there a better term out there?  Partner often implies a same-ge.n.der relationship and significant other is bulky and cumbersome.
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Wavicle

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2010, 07:45:07 PM »
I don't see the issue. Some relationships are hard to define, and they may just feel that fits best. Its fine to personally think it is ridiculous, but I would stick with avoiding putting a label on it or using the one she prefers.

Fluffy Cat

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2010, 07:50:18 PM »
Do you mean she feels its ridiculous?  or that you think its ridiculous?  BF/GF is perfectly accurate, personally if I was your coworker I'd probably prefer SO or partner, but there isn't anything wrong with BF/GF. 
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DangerMouth

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2010, 07:54:42 PM »
I know exactly what you mean. SO's dad has been living with his ladyfriend for over 20 years. They are both over 80.  Girlfriend is silly. Partner? I sometimes refer to my SO as partner, because our business partnership is a huge part of out relationship. SO also seems silly as well when you're talking about people from another generation.

So I stick with 'ladyfriend'. It might be a bit 'precious'  but it still has more dignity than 'girlfriend'

Wittyone

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2010, 07:57:45 PM »
I know exactly what you mean. SO's dad has been living with his ladyfriend for over 20 years. They are both over 80.  Girlfriend is silly. Partner? I sometimes refer to my SO as partner, because our business partnership is a huge part of out rel@tionship. SO also seems silly as well when you're talking about people from another generation.

So I stick with 'ladyfriend'. It might be a bit 'precious'  but it still has more dignity than 'girlfriend'

My DH's grandfather had just such a "ladyfriend" for 20 or so years, until he passed away.  We referred to her as such, or in his obituary she was referred to as his fiance.
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Seraphim

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 08:56:45 PM »
I refer to my DH2B as my Partner or Other Half, and did even before we were engaged.

As fas as I am concerned, he is my Partner in life.

I have had some funny looks when people meet him, as I guess they were expecting him to be a woman (as I am).

Other half or Better half has worked for me too though.



O'Dell

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 08:59:16 PM »
Ladyfriend always sounds a bit "friend with benefits" to me.  :-\

I don't see anything wrong with boyfriend/girlfriend. When my husband and I lived together before marrying, I used partner, SO, boyfriend. It was a gamble what I'd call him at any one time. :P
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Dindrane

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 09:19:12 PM »
I agree that boyfriend/girlfriend often starts to feel weird after awhile.  For me, I started feeling strange calling my now-DF my boyfriend...actually, I was never really comfortable with the term.  Part of it is because we dated long distance in the early part of our relationship, so I didn't really talk about him then.  By the time I started actually talking about him, because we finally lived in the same place, it just didn't feel right to call him my boyfriend.  I think his age had a lot to do with it, though, since he's 5 years older than I am.

I tended to use "boyfriend" anyway, though, unless I could just call him by name.  Everything else was even more awkward for all the reasons already mentioned.

I was actually kind of relieved when we actually got engaged, because for whatever reason, "fiance" sounds a lot more appropriate than "boyfriend."  I'll be happier still when I can just call him my husband and be done with it.


Viscountess

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 09:23:02 PM »
My grandpa has been living with girlfriend/SO/partner for 17 years now, but my family never calls her by those terms.  She refuses to be called his girlfriend because that sounds juvenile to her (she's 75).  We just call her by her first name or sometimes Grandpa's other half when we're explaining family relations to someone.  
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ilrag

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2010, 09:29:49 PM »
I also don't love the terms "boyfriend/girlfriend" but I refer to my boyfriend as my dude.  Of course we live in southern california so it doesn't sound weird to anyone.

Aluminum

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2010, 09:35:09 PM »
I am in a LTR, and we don't feel marriage "fits" us for various reasons, both personal and political.  So I refer to him as my partner, and let the assumption chips fall where they may--no skin off my nose at the end of the day.  If there has been any reaction or shock when I use his given name and gender is made clear, I can't say that I've seen it--but whether that's because cis-hetero relationships are the default norm, or because people are excellent at covering surprise, or because noone *really* cares, I can't say.

kareng57

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2010, 09:44:25 PM »
I think that "partner" is the best bet, although on hearing it initially some folks might assume that it means "business partner".  Though for me, when I hear it being used on a personal basis I don't automatically assume that it means a same-sex relationship.  Example:  if a new female co-worker made a reference to "my partner, Terry" I wouldn't automatically assume that Terry must be female as well.

It's unfortunate that we don't have a good term for this in the English language.  Girlfriend/boyfriend do sound kind of ludicrous when we're talking about people age 40+ who've been in a longterm relationship for years.  Years ago I heard about a proposal for the term POSSLQ (Person Of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters) to be pronounced "possle-quew" but unfortunately it could sound like some sort of obscure Australian mammal. :)

KenveeB

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2010, 10:07:25 PM »
Isn't this why the term "significant other" was invented?  What's wrong with that?

mbbored

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2010, 11:24:25 PM »
When I was in a long term, committed relationship, we referred to each other as SO.  Because, it wasn't just GF/BF, but we were significant parts of each other's lives, and had to be considered before making major decisions.

Brentwood

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Re: At what point does the term boyfriend/girlfriend become ridiculous?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2010, 11:39:11 PM »
Isn't this why the term "significant other" was invented?  What's wrong with that?

If it were me personally, I'd rather say "boyfriend" than "significant other" or "partner." Personal preference. I don't see anything wrong or ridiculous about any of those terms.