We live together. Now what do I call you?

Disclaimer: I know the title of my blog is "Grad-Student Girlfriend," but that's only because of the cute alliteration.

Language is really important to me. What you call things does matter, and frankly, I think there aren't enough words to describe relationships--romantic or otherwise. The ways couples are living out their relationships are varied and complex, and yet the language we have is not. Many couples are choosing what SCL and I have--to be committed partners living together but not (yet) married. But, what do we say when we're introducing each other to other people that expresses that commitment but isn't TMI?

Option 1: Boyfriend/Girlfriend. Do not like this. Too tenth grade. Too big of a spectrum ("My girlfriend and I started dating a month ago.") Doesn't connote commitment.

Option 2: Partner. Like this. Feels awkward with some people. Not culturally relevant for our families. Kind of sounds new-agey/hipster. Kind of sounds like we're not ever planning to marry (we are).

Option 3: ???? Are there other options?

Obviously these cultural cues aren't what is most important to us, but it is frustrating not to be able to shortly articulate what we are: committed adults who love each other, share our lives together, and support one another. Hopefully others can see that in our interactions, but it does not make me any less frustrated.

What are your thoughts? How do you get around this language barrier?


  1. It's a tough one. I agree that there isn't a good word yet. When my husband and I were living together before we got engaged, we sometimes used the word "partner." But that often prompted people to assume we were talking about same-sex partner if the other one wasn't standing right there. It can be confusing.

  2. I think "partner" is really just taking over. I'm hearing it more and more these days, and ultimately I think it's going to be the most frequent word used for serious relationships for non-married couples.

    That said, if you're planning to marry, what about "fiance"?? LOL.

  3. Well, we're not formally engaged. It's that weird in-between stage. I guess we'll try to get used to partner. I just have trouble being consistent with it.