What Annoying Things Do You Call Your Partner?

I hate pet names and weird, couple-y terms. So does my boyfriend, luckily. I’m also not even fond of the term ‘boyfriend’. ‘Boyfriend’ is a word that seems to have a time limit (or I feel like it has a time limit). You can use the word ‘boyfriend’ for the first day of dating up until a year (yes, I just came up with these rules, they are gospel now). And then, I don’t know? I guess my boyfriend is still my boyfriend but I feel like that descriptor doesn’t accurately capture the role he plays in my life now.

Then again, using the word ‘partner’ seems really stuffy. Whenever I say, ‘partner,’ I generally use it when I’m writing about relationships so as not to be hetero-centric and it implies a committed, longterm relationship quite effectively. I don’t go around waving my hand around saying in a British accent, “Oh yes, my paaaahtner this and my paaaahtner that.” (This isn’t to say that you’re pretentious if you say ‘partner’, I know so many couples – particularly LGBTQA+ couples – that use ‘partner’ as their significant other’s title).  It’s definitely a convenient moniker for a person in your life that ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ doesn’t necessarily encompass.

So, what do you call someone you’ve been in a longterm committed relationship with? Does it even matter?

I think I like using S.O. for significant other because I feel like it’s all-encompassing. It feels more approachable but less formal than ‘partner’. But really only in writing. I don’t think that I would say in casual conversation S.O. so the question remains.

On that subject, what about nicknames? I can barely bring myself to shorten my boyfriend’s name. He’s a full-first-name kind of dude. He also calls me by my first name in full generally. While my friends have a variety of names for me: Meesh, Shell, Wilson, Meesh Meesh… it goes on. I’m not sure what this really says about our relationship other than we just appreciate our names as they are (I decided to give this a positive spin instead of reaching another conclusion like we are overly uptight or something.)

One thing I do know is that I hate pet names. ‘Bae’ is particularly annoying, even when it’s used ironically. ‘Wifey/hubby’ (ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE NOT EVEN MARRIED) is cringe-inducing. I can’t.

If there’s one thing that truly gets under my skin, it’s hearing couples who use pet names EXCESSIVELY and around other people usually paired with intense, uncomfortable amounts of PDA. I’m not talking about drunk people who are feelin’ the love (you’re excused, drunkies) or even people who say “honey” or “sweetheart” with a peck on the cheek on occasion.

No, you know the couple I’m talking about. They have morphed into a single person, they probably have a portmonteau that they’ve forced their friends to use. They do vaguely sexual things with other people around and it’s just a constant stream of “pumpkin” etc.

No. Stop. I feel like that’s fine in the privacy of your own space but NOBODY wants to hear your weird pet names spewed forth from your gaping maws. Actually nobody.

Please tell me I am not alone.

1 Comment
  1. Ultimately couples need to do them, pet names or no pet names, labels or no labels. What allows someone to connect to another human being is going to differ from person to person, and it’s not much in our place to fault others for their relationship habits because they could be the most in love people in the world. My husband and I have our cute little nicknames for each other, coined from fun and intimate moments we’ve shared. To an outsider’s perspective, we might sound like babbling childish fools as he pokes in the side and calls me his Squiggles or if I hug him from behind and call him my Snug-a-Bug. We express our love to each other in many ways, but in those few precious moments, we adopt a playful expression through silly names. But that’s what feels right for us. If you have a different idea in your relationship, that’s great too!! Every relationship is different and every couple has their means of expressing their love!!!

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