How to Refer to Someone's Not-Spouse

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Reader Comments (64)

When you have kids you can call her your offspring's genetic co-sponsor.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

'My sandwich maker'?

'My future 50% asset reduction'?

The weirdest aspect of all this, is why the word love seems so uncomfortable to many. "My lover" - what's wrong with that? And so what's wrong with 'your lover'?

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerraHertz

Wow, kuldeep, good thing you're here to leach all the humor out of everything. Damn.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChance

"Mate"? "Beloved"? "Sweetheart"?

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNick

I thought 'sambo' was a type of dance?

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul_Bags

Fellow grad student many years ago told me that his partner was coming to town for a few days and it took me multiple conversations to figure out that it was the non-spouse. I thought it was like the other equity shareholder in his business or something.

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

another vote for honey-butt! as an aussie, this would be abbreviated to 'HB'. works perfectly for male or female partners, eg: 'our prime minister & her HB travelled to malaysia today'. much better than 'first bloke' which appears to be his current title.

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwhiterabbit

We use "woman" and "man" for folks in committed-ish relationships and "boy"/"girl" for not-so-committed ones.

I would like to vote heartily against "lover" for several reasons. One, it invokes images of your friends actually making love which is way grosser than f*cking. Two, it's got strong connotations (in american culture at least) of being an illicit relationship, as in an affair. Three, it's too romantic. Most of us are just trying to make things work without anyone getting stabbed, romantic things are tiny little bits of your day or big events that don't happen as often as you might like. 90% of your relationship with your S.O. isn't romantic, so why would you use such a mushy name for it?

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkate

I still cal my GF of 6 years "My Person of Interest".

Then she hits me.

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason

"I thought 'sambo' was a type of dance?" Samba

*goes off to look up 'sambo' while at the same time is glad he has not heard of it*

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAC

i've started using "pseudo-husband". Must be the geek in me....

November 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterblondie

@Sheherazahde: Sadly, gal corresponds to guy and not to fella. It's close, I'll admit.

I'm warming up to the idea of "my man" or "my woman". Lover definitely has connotations, but "my love" is simple, elegant and non-gender-specific. Now, about that whole L-word phobia.

November 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSoul of Wit

"The weirdest aspect of all this, is why the word love seems so uncomfortable to many. "My lover" - what's wrong with that? And so what's wrong with 'your lover'?"

Quit picturing 20-something friends or Hollywood celebrities. Imagine a pudgy, middle-aged couple introducing themselves to you as "lovers." Or better yet, imagine a family gathering where your mom reminds you to put the nice sheets on the guest bed because your Grandma is bringing her new lover with her for Thanksgiving. It brings up mental images of things best left unimagined.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Perfectly sums up our stumbling search through the English language to convey non-spousal commitment.

Occasionally we just go with 'lover', to shake things up.

I'm going to switch to 'my woman' tho.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDanf

I love it!

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterletty

I have been known to call someone "my sweetheart", but admittedly, that's not an appellation that co-workers will have much use for. Since I'm still passing for young, (and not shackin' up for several years at a stretch!) I get by with boyfriend/girlfriend.

Honestly though, I don't mind too much if people squirm a little - the language needs updating. My blue-collar workplace may be 80% nuclear families, but that's not the only kind of family there is. (Just as portrayed in the comic, most of the available terms are creepy - will we linger in the seedy linguistic shadows until we find something better?)

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

Male: Your/My Meat-popsickle
Female: Your/My Warm Fuzzy

December 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterg33k

I call the woman who I am not married to my wife because it eliminates confusion. My mom introduced her to friends as "the mother of my grandson". That was cute.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSnooj

For female appellation, how about Main Squeeze? Has a quaint G-rated feel to it.

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

I've been living with my .. well, significant other for 4 years and I'm fine with him calling me his girlfriend, it doesn't seem demeaning or anything like that. When we'll get older, he can call me his partner, seems fine to me - gives a sense that I'm his equal. "Wife", on the other hand, has that "make me a sammich and do my laundry" vibe, so thanks, but I'll pass.

January 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB

I have this exact same problem with my dad. He has a girlfriend, they have a son, they live together, they've decided not to get married, and it's a little uncomfortable trying to find a word to call her other than her name seeing as she's my half-brother's mother. Also they've been together for years now, since I was a child and they still haven't gotten married so I assumed they decided not to, I've never heard an official statement from them about it. And that just gives me conflicting feelings about her attractive younger cousin.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Although I am a year late to the party, I recall a book by Charles Osgood that touched on this subject, referring to the Census Bureau's choice to use the phrase "Person Of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters." The book was entitled "There's Nothing That I Wouldn't Do If You Would Be My POSSLQ."

October 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkyp


not that romantic, but so true...

August 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarth GTB

I'm nearly 5 years late to this party, but I still wanted to point out my favourite bit of this strip -- the gap between the word balloons in the last panel. Brilliant way to show the 'pregnant pause' while Scott considers the options!

April 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
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