I don't like the 'partner' wordANNA TURNER
"I'm just going to start telling people you're my daughter-in-law soon," EK's mother said to me recently.
We had run into some friends of hers - at the ski field of all places - and she had struggled to explain to them who I was.
I laughed and agreed that I often just referred to her and her husband as my in-laws.
After more than four years of being part of their family they do feel like my in-laws, even though technically we're not anything in-law.
The situation came back to me a few weeks later when I was at home watching My Kitchen Rules (I know, I have a crazy social life, right).
Two of the competitors - a woman and her son's girlfriend- were described as "potential-in-laws".
While I highly doubt if they will still be "potential-in-laws" after some of the fights they've had on the show, the term intrigued me.
It can often be difficult to know what to call someone these days.
I myself often don't know what to call EK. Sure, he's my boyfriend, but that doesn't always seem an appropriate thing to call him.
When I'm at a dinner party or work function, making reference to my boyfriend seems a bit silly and immature. We're not 14-years-old and holding hands behind the bike shed. We're a serious couple.
I often have to relent and introduce him as my "partner", but I inwardly cringe every time I have to say it. I don't know why I don't like using "partner".
I think it's perfectly acceptable for older un-married couples, but for me it feels too stuffy and clinical to describe our relationship.
We're in love, not playing tennis or cards.Its common usage has caused a of confusion.
Often when I'm interviewing people and they refer to their partner they have to quickly follow it up with "Oh, I mean business partner".
Or, since the term is genderless, it can prompt me to have to awkwardly inquire if they mean they are in a relationship with a person of the same sex.
Some people have resorted to giving their other halves quirky names to describe them in public.
I've heard one woman I know introduce her man as her "lover" at a cocktail soiree, while another often speaks about her "man-piece". I have to admit, I was not keen to adopt either of those...
Some men use some equally dubious terms.
Am I alone in my fury every time I hear a man refer to his significant other as his "missus" or "the old lady"? I think you've got your girlfriend confused with your mother there, mate.
Suffice to say, I think there's room for the invention of a new term here. One to describe a couple who are young, living together, not married, but in a serious and committed relationship.
Perhaps I should follow My Kitchen Rules' rules and start calling EK my "potential fiance".
The potential depending on how well he woos me/ he ages/ he develops his domestic house skills over the next few years, of course.
What do you call your other half? Do you think there should be a new term for young un-married couples?
- © Fairfax NZ News
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