My Partner vs. Other Terms of Endearment

choosing to say my partner

Calling someone your ‘partner’ versus ‘girlfriend,’ ‘boyfriend,’ ‘husband,’ or ‘wife,’ is often a carefully crafted choice, and it is increasingly common in feminist circles. Many people cite the more egalitarian connotation of the term as their motivation for using it.

What do you think when you hear the word partner?


  1. I’m glad you wrote about this! I choose to use the word boyfriend with my lover boy – and while we are in an egalitarian relationship, I feel that the term ‘partner’ should be reserved for VERY committed relationships. When I hear the term “partner” I think – woah, y’all have decided that this is your person – this is your jam – this is the sorry sap that gets to clean your dentures 60 years from now. If I was to seriously commit to my boyfriend, then I feel I would graduate to the term partner. I don’t want to be a part of taking the seriousness out of ‘partner’ for other people. The term ‘partner’ for many people is the equivalent of husband or wife, spouse, or co-parent, but because they cannot legally get married, “partner” seems to be the label that can carry the same weight of the legal terms as a social cue for others. I actually cringe a bit at the thought of someone referring to the person they are casually dating as their partner, (while it is only my opinion and not gospel) the term partner carries some serious weight for me and I think it should be reserved for life partner situations (or at least a few years – as that seems to be the equivalent of a life partner these days). 😉

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