When "Boyfriend" Isn't Enough and "Husband" Is Too MuchSantina Muha

Have you ever heard that in Alaska, Eskimos have about a dozen different words for describing snow? There are so many different types of snowfall that they have created words to specify exactly which type of snow they are talking about. Well it looks like our next mission is to come up with a dozen different words for describing a serious relationship. There are so many different types of love lives happening out there that simple terms like boyfriend, fiance, and husband don’t always do the situation justice anymore.

Boyfriend is fine when you’re between the ages of, say, 12-35. Somewhere in your mid-30s, the word “boyfriend” becomes embarrassing somehow. Some people would say you should have a “fiancé”, a “husband” or even an “ex-husband” by now. Just to clarify, I am not one of those people. But we all know a few. And even if you fall in the “boyfriend is acceptable” age bracket, there are still grey areas when it comes to serious relationships.

We all know by now that the old rules are out the window. More and more people are dating for years, living together or even having babies together and not getting married. So that person that you’ve loved for so long certainly deserves more of a title than the guy you dated for six months in high school, even if he’s not your “husband” yet. The New York Times recently explored this topic and uncovered the word “Fusband”, which a woman uses to refer to her man as some sort of a fake husband/future husband blend. I like it and I think it’s a good start. I would advise you just make sure you’re on the same page with your Fusband before you start telling yourself this is the man who will propose to you someday. Just in case.

So how else can we paint the full picture of your adult relationship with just one word? May I suggest:

Dompart: As in “Domestic Partner”, which does not have to be used exclusively for same sex couples. If you live with someone and you’re splitting the responsibilities of life, you’re Domparts, no matter the gender combination.

Odaat: As in “One Day At A Time”, as in we don’t even know yet if we’re going to be together forever, so back off and worry about your own relationship, thanks.

Pre-Fiance or Post-Boyfriend: As in he’s more than a boyfriend, not yet a fiancé, whether it be due to financial or other reasons – You’ve looked at rings and you’ll get there, but not yet.

Kurtie: As in Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn, who have been together since 1983 – They have raised four children together, one of which they created, and the two seem to have no plans to get married. And they are the coolest.

Stedman: As in Oprah’s Stedman, for the woman who likes being with her guy, but could never justify sharing everything she’s worked for with a man who will never be more successful than she is.

Basket Boy: As in you’ve put all your eggs in this guys basket and you are praying he proposes to you soon – you’ve already picked out your wedding and bridesmaids dresses.

Light Switch: As in you two have been involved in an “on again, off again” relationship for years – You couldn’t possibly imagine your life without this guy, but you can’t bring yourself to marry him, either.

These are just some ideas. I know there are so many relationships out there, and the truth is sometimes we can’t even define them ourselves. And it probably isn’t anybody else’s business what your future plans are with that guy you sleep with, but sometimes it makes us feel better to appease the masses. We all liked playing house growing up. Who says we have to stop now?

Feel free to make up your own word to define your relationship. The times, they are a-changing. And sorry, Facebook, but “Single”, “In a Relationship”, “Engaged” and “Married” just aren’t cutting it anymore. And “It’s complicated” just ends up pissing somebody off.

Image via Shutterstock


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  1. What a talented writer and a fun read. I believe It made me realize I can now label my relationship as a Kurtie. I am in a very positive, happy, relationship. I believe after the age 40 everyone should be in a Kurtie. Out with all the bad relationships….

  2. This is so brilliant! After about 3 years with my now fiancé, it was weird calling him my “boyfriend” so I resorted to: man-friend, my fellow, and boy-toy ;)

  3. Now that I am pregnant I feel silly referring to him as my “boyfriend” but I will certainly not refer to him as my “baby daddy.”
    I’m his girl, he is my man, we don’t need a title to feel connected. His name usually suites the conversation well, if the person does not know him by name they are able to figure it out by the context.
    -off topic but still on the titles, my group of friends refer to the pre-boyfriend yet not official period as “boofing.” Its a hybrid of Boo and friend.

  4. Excellent text. We still live in a society that needs and seeks labeling. I find it restraining. And why should I call him anything and explain myself for my living choices? It turns out, it’s better to be 3 times divorcee than living “undefined” with 3 partners, out of wedlock, scandalous!

  5. Wow…great job. I dont think I fall into any category at this time…lol. But you summed it all up rather well.

  6. Before my husband and I were married, I called him my “husfriend”. It worked for us. Feel free to add that to the list :)

  7. Life is too short to mind about labels.
    Love eachother, everyday, even when you are angry, or when you don’t seem to agree on some things.
    If people ask, and you must provide an answer, just say you love eachother.
    My 2 cents.

  8. I officially have a light switch or an odaat. haha I think these are all way more inclusive than just friends with benefits.

  9. I like Kurtie. They are the epitome of a committed couple that will probably never get married. They did the domestic partner thing before it was cool or even acceptable and they deserve to have that kind of no pressure, forget society, committed love relationship named after them.

  10. In french lots of people use the term “ami” or “copain/copine” as in friend, in context it is supposed to mean “partner” but whatever way you choose, it always feels kind of confusing. So I like your ideas! Wonder what they’d look like in french…

  11. In Germany we say “Lebensgefährte”….which refers to someone you share your life with, a companion. It is exactly more than “boyfriend” and not a “husband”.

  12. I have a couple of friends with long-time boyfriends with whom they have children, and they both call them their “partners.”

  13. What about doggy daddy? Not human baby daddy but serious enough that we got a dog together.

  14. This reminds me of Carrie and Big! “Arent I a little old to be your boyfriend?” Love it. Very funny read :)

  15. I kind of like Fusband – there’s some financial reasons we aren’t married after 10 years and we don’t live together by choice but that will change at some point.

  16. My boyfriend and I are engaged, but we don’t like referring to each other’s “fiancé”. It feels…just ugh. I try it out in conversations with strangers and it just feels funny coming out of my mouth. We don’t have plans to get married any time soon; so we are sticking with bf and gf until then.

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