This originally appeared on Mamamia. Republished here with permission.
Is there an expiration date to calling our partners “Boyfriend” or “Girlfriend” once we reach a certain age? I’ve been in a relationship for eight years with the same man and last year we welcomed our first offspring (a baby boy who we are rather fond of).
In between getting together and spawning a child there haven’t been any wedding bells. I am completely aware we bought a one-way ticket straight to hell for having our child out of wedlock, but we are both OK with this.
Marriage has never been part of our plans. We have discussed it a few times but never felt the need to actually tie the knot. We are rather content in our ringless relationship. For the last eight years we have proudly called each other “Boyfriend” and “Girlfriend” and this has worked brilliantly for us.
I never gave it a second thought—until I turned 30 and became a mom. Now that I am all grown up and real mature, calling Sam my “boyfriend” doesn’t seem to fit anymore.
Because we are raising a child together it seems like we need a title that makes our relationship sound a little more solid. Boyfriend gives the feeling that at any moment his best friend might tell me I’m dropped and ask me to return his Green Day CD.
The worst part is getting the pity look from people when I introduce Sam as my boyfriend. The “Oh, you poor woman, he’s knocked you up and won’t marry you” look.
We have started to flirt with some other names hoping one will begin to feel right.
The obvious choice for most couples living in sin but it feels very formal to me. Almost like we are running a business together. Partner can also refer to a same-sex relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people assuming I’m a lesbian, but it’s not ideal for Sam’s masculinity.
Technically this is what Sam is. He is the daddy of my baby. However I am far too white to say “baby daddy” and be taken seriously.
I may have just thrown up a bit in my mouth after typing that. This title is intense and makes me feel uncomfortable. Even a tad claustrophobic. Not even a slight possibility.
“The Ball and Chain”
How endearing! If Sam ever decided to call me his “ball and chain,” I would promptly chain his balls up and head for the hills.
This feels even more formal and business-like than Partner. You can’t roll over in bed, gaze tenderly into ones eyes and whisper “I love you my de facto.” The romantic music would screech to a violent halt. It simply doesn’t flow.
“My Better Half”
Said with an English accent this is very sweet, loving, and romantic. Unfortunately, Sam and I don’t sound like Hugh Grant so we wouldn’t sound quite right using this title.
None of these titles excite me. We could always just lie and pretend to be husband and wife, but that seems a little deceiving. Maybe we just have to proudly rock the Boyfriend/Girlfriend label? Suck up the pity looks and embrace the fact that we sound like we are 16. After all, when we are 80 walking hand in hand down the street I don’t think it will bother us one bit that we feel like teenagers.
Katie “Monty” Dimond is a broadcaster and media personality. She has appeared on Channel Ten, Channel Nine, and Nova FM. She is currently busy being a full time Mum to her one year old son and will feature in a new ABC comedy series with Merrick Watts coming soon.