Friday, March 1, 2013

What Do I Call Him?

Dear Jocelyn,
I would like to know how to properly address my boyfriend to others. We live together, but are not married.

Dear Stumped,
"This is my boyfriend, John Brown."

I understand you want to convey the seriousness of your relationship, but living together is not a formal level of commitment. If the person you are speaking to becomes more involved in your life, they will soon know of your living arrangements. We also do not have a specific term to convey a boyfriend one has just begun dating, or a boyfriend one has been dating for over 5 years, or any other level of seriousness.


Leah said...

Jocelyn -- out of curiosity, your thoughts on the term "partner" ? A few years ago this was a somewhat clumsy term, or one most often associated either with your business associate or with alternative gender preferences. Seems it's used more often now between people in a wide variety of stages relationships.

Jocelyn said...

Personally, I never liked the term because of its vague meaning. A partner could mean business, sexual, or a tennis buddy. I think it would be very awkward to use it in relation to the above situation, because the term "boyfriend" is more descriptive. However, I can see its usefulness in situations where the couple either does not wish to marry, or is not able to be married, but are together for life. (Although saying "life partner" instead of simply "partner" is more descriptive.)

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