We need a new term for "Serious Girlfriend"

My girlfriend and I have been together for coming up on 7 years now, and living together for 6. We are not planning on getting married, both kind of being against the concept, and don’t want children currently (we decided, that if we do want children some day we would likely get married first, for simplicity sake). And now we are buying a place together as well.

The problem is that we feel we are getting to an age and level of life were referring to each other as ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’ just doesn’t sound right. It ends up putting the level of our relationship below that of married couples in many peoples eyes, when in reality I think our relationship is better than many of the married couples we know.

So, what else can we call each other that portrays our serious long term committment? Maybe we can just make a up a new word that could catch on? :wink:

I agree but we never have come up with a good one. Partner sounds like you’re gay, which I don’t really have a problem with except a) I feel like I’m stealing it from gay people and b) around here people come over all sensitive all of a sudden. Boyfriend sounds juveline. On the Internet I use significant other or SO. IRL I have nothing, really. Sometimes I’ll say he’s my other half but even that sounds silly to me. Companion sounds like he’s my nurse.

If you can make up a nice new word I’ll go for it.

My wife and I have some close friends who have been together 23 years, have 2 children, and refer to each other as husband and wife. Occassionally, they will refer to each other as partner…They have never been married.

This is a puzzling issue. Personally I like “lady friend,” or “gentleman friend,” if she were talking about you, but that sounds too old to a lot of people, causing the opposite problem from “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” I am halfway convinced that sometimes people get married partly because “wife” or “husband” are such convenient descriptors.

I guess you could take a line from Jay and Silent Bob and refer to him as “my hetro life partner”. Other than that, I got nothing.

I do agree that we are lacking a term. When my (at the time) girlfriend moved 200 miles, she was asked why she was moving. She hated saying, “because my boyfriend got a job up there.” We had been together 5 yrs at the time - the term “boyfriend” seemed a bit trivial.

Fiance sounds much more official, but implies the intent to marry. Let us know if you come up with anything.

My aunt and uncle have been together for probably close to 40 years and have four sons. They’ve always refered to one another as husband/wife and it has only been in the past few years that I learned they have never actually been married. I guess nobody in the family even thought it was enough of an issue to mention.

I have a friend who has been with her boyfriend for over a decade and for much of that they have lived in separate states. He/they, own a house here that she lives in and he comes to on a regular basis. Both are in their forties and it seems odd to hear her refer to him as her boyfriend.

How about significant other, life partner? Those seem acceptable and meaningful to me. Definitely more polite than the guy or gal I’m fucking now.

Hi, nice to meet you, I’m Cosmos and this is Denise, the gal I’m fucking now.

Hmmmmm maybe it’s not so bad. :smiley:

What are the details of common law marriage? Aren’t hetero couples legally considered married after living together for 6 or 7 years?

It’s only in a handful of states; it’s being phased out from what I can gather; and not valid in NY.

I checked. :frowning:

so does adding lady or gentlemen to the term friend signify a closer more intimate relationship. When I’m on a date and we’re meeting others the term friend is used in introductions.

It seems a bit to casual to me for people who are living together and have an intimate relationship. If the girl I’d been living with for several years introduced me as her gentleman friend I might feel like our relationship was being minimized.

I dunno. I don’t like partner or life partner; they sound too woo-woo and new agey to me. It’s kind of a moot point because I’m never going to have one, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion.

To cosmosdan: I don’t know, really. It just seems a more mature designation to me, but that could be because I have heard a lot of older people (than me; in their sixties or thereabouts) refer to the person they are in a relationship with that way.

No foolin??? I’m surprised. I’ll have to look into it sometime.

What about “common law” girlfriend or “live in” girlfriend? They’re both clunky but more descriptive that just “girlfriend”.

I’m with you. We still use the terms girlfriend and boyfriend, and it doesn’t feel TOO weird since we’re both still in our 20s, but we’ve been together for 7 years and (sorta) living together for 3. It’s always weird to realize that we’ve been together longer than a lot of married couples we know.

I truly don’t get why a couple who considers themselves committed and long-term serious wouldn’t just go ahead and marry. Even if you’re not religious, a simple rubber stamp by a judge can take care of it. Seriously, there are so many legal benefits to that “meaningless piece of paper.” Gay couples are not just fighting for their partnerships to be recognized as marriage for the sake of abstract equality, it has real benefits.

Society has a term for “Serious Girlfriend.” It’s “Wife.”

cmkeller, answers from friends of mine:

  • because of the expectations (for example, once you get the piece of paper, there’s much higher expectations that you’ll have kids)
  • because The Wedding is a pain to have but if you don’t have it you’ll never hear the end of it
  • because one of the two is terrified that it will change the relationship for the worse
  • because it sounds too serious
  • because “I’m all for alternative lifestyles and that whole marriage thing is so OLD!”

All are real answers.

My answer got eaten when the boards timed out. But what I was going to say is, it’s easy for you to sit back and judge from your spot. Most of us aren’t not getting married because of a “meaningless piece of paper”. There’s actually multitudes of reasons but when nosy people butt into our privacy and ask “But WHY?” we often recite that platitude to placate them.

I am not going to get into my reasons for not marrying here. Suffice it to say they are mine. Just like the reasons I have for not having kids, and for not buying a house. It’s no skin off anyone’s back whether I do or not.

Now when it comes having kids, I do then wonder why the parents don’t marry, if only so the kids don’t suffer. But again, not my business.

cosmosdan here is the link to the wiki page on common-law marriages. You can see which states it’s legal in:

7.1 Alabama
7.2 Colorado
7.3 District of Columbia
7.4 Iowa
7.5 Kansas
7.6 Montana
7.7 New Hampshire
7.8 Oklahoma
7.9 Rhode Island
7.10 South Carolina
7.11 Texas
7.12 Utah

You two are right that people’s reasons for not wanting to get genuinely maried are their own, and no one owes me any explanations. That said, any couple that is able to but not willing to take the step of legal commitment and obligation does not, in my eyes, achieve any level of “seriousness” above “girlfriend/boyfriend,” such that requires a new term to define it.

Any relationship that you can walk away from without (non-self-imposed, such as emotional baggage) consequences is on an equal level of seriousness. (IMO)

Hmm. So because YOU don’t take my relationship seriously then I shouldn’t either?

Honestly, I am wondering what you are doing in this thread then. I have been with my other half for ten plus years. I take it very seriously. We’ve been together longer than many marriages. I would like another term for it.

What’s it to you? And why should I care about what your eyes say?

As for walking away without baggage, what a joke. Do you think we don’t pay bills together? Purchase things together? Invest in things together? Put money away for the future together? Plan for the future together?

What you do, I do. I just don’t find marriage…necessary.

In some ways, a live-in relationship is harder to leave without trouble than a divorce - the whole purpose of a divorce is to equitably split up common property, which we still have. A friendly breakup is easy, but there’s no protection for either partner in the case of an acrimonious breakup.

In my case, at least, we will be getting married… eventually. We’re too busy to have a wedding now, and I was too young before. If the level of emotional and practical commitment is the same (which it often is), I can’t agree with your last sentence.

POSLQ? :wink: