December 2017
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polyamory & titles


There's not a good word for me to call the people I'm romantic with. This only bugs me when I'm wanting to be "out" about a relationship without a long explanation or any problematic words. "Girl/boyfriend" is gendered, "partner/spouse" to me implies lifelong-shared-goal-commitment, "lover/amour/paramour" sounds like it's just a fling or like it's cheating, "significant other" is clinical and feels distancing, and almost all of these imply that they are the only one. Obviously words that imply hierarchy are out (like "primary"). I actually quite like calling someone my person, but that also implies "only," and it sounds possessive to some people. I think I'm going to have to just resign myself to saying "lover" or "live-in lover" (and letting the polyness show itself?) and hoping I can change the connotation, because calling someone I'm romantic with a "friend" feels like a lie, but the others are worse.

Suggestions? particularly for words that imply "one of" instead of "only" without sounding like one doesn't have individual connection? Obscure words (IF they are non-gendered and non-cheaty) are very welcome.

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Comments
tangledaxon ══╣╠══
What about "love," i.e. my love? I think most words will filter as "only" because so many people are conditioned to hear it that way. But "my love, so-and-so" sounds less fling-y to me than lover.
tangledaxon ══╣╠══
I also wanted to add that I share your struggle in finding a term that would demonstrate "not the only one." The main way I've been doing this is if someone asks about one of my partners, I answer the question as it applies to both.

(Such as, "What did you and Partner A do for Valentine's Day?" I will then answer, "Partner A and I did X, and Partner B and I did Y.")

But yeah, it's tough! Especially when I get a question like, "You're married, right?" (if they see my wedding ring). It feels conversationally unnatural to say, "Yes, and I have a long-term girlfriend, too."
minnesattva ══╣╠══
A fair number of poly people I know like "sweetie."
sylvanfae ══╣Love╠══
I used "beau" recently, and think it would be fun to apply it to any gender, but it wouldn't be taken that way until it's been in popular usage that way.

Beau: n , pl beaux , beaus
a lover, sweetheart, or escort (of a girl or woman)

from Old French bel "beautiful, handsome, fair, genuine, real,"
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
I think any common term of endearment that you're comfortable with might work: beloved, honey, darling, etc.
phoenixdreaming ══╣╠══
I thought to myself "I bet rosefox has written about this!" and she tags like a genius so I found this 2005 post collecting other words for romantic relationships and so on. There are more comments on the linguaphiles entry she links. Using other languages sounds like one way to go.
camilleyun ══╣╠══
I don't ever like the word "lover" because to me that word implies only sex. I know many people disagree with me on this.

I like being called "love".

I also like the term "person" and it doesn't sound possessive to me at all but I know some people interpret it differently and some find it objectifying.

I like the term "kindred".

Maybe you could make up a word.
dv8dgrrl ══╣╠══
Intimates. One of my lovelies uses this and I love it. It seems to cross a lot of lines. I have people in my life who I am incredibly emotionally connected to, but not physically involved. So intimates seems to incorporate all lines of intimate relationships without the need to question level of commitment or physical interaction.
frecklestars ══╣heart-print╠══
Sweetheart? I like the word when it's broken down (sweet and heart are two lovely words and together they have a wonderful connotation, to me) and I don't think of it as gendered. Beloved and valentine are two other terms I quite enjoy.

Let us know what the search turns up, eh? I'd be curious to see the list of choices.
sidheblessed ══╣Love╠══
I've seen people use companion, though I'm not sure that fully implies the level of relationship. I personally like love, beloved, sweetheart (though I think that's kind of gendered, I tend to think of it as the feminine of beau, due to usually seeing it in a certain context), special person or special someone.
lindsey_locke ══╣╠══
Hello, lovie.
I just wanted to add my input on your title dilemma. Despite being a fairly monogamous being, I have certainly been in my share of intimate, romantic situations that left me grasping at straws in terms of what to call the other party involved. Because of my past fear of being labeled as anything as serious as "girlfriend," (and, in turn, refusing to use the term "boyfriend") I managed to come up with a few decent alternatives.

The term "significant other" always seemed a teensy bit clinical. However, "intimate other" makes the relationship fairly clear, without sounding so sterilized and lacking in warmth.

Others that I have used in the past are:
- "my partner" (or "my current partner", depending upon the current level of the relationship)
- "my darling"
- "lover"

Best of luck, dear. I hope you find a term/ terms that you're comfortable with and enjoy.
theindiequeen ══╣╠══
I'm not poly, so this may not be the same, but I tend to call people "my whatever their profession/thing is." Like my barista, my guitarist, my poet dude (dude is gendered, but you could come up with something else there). This makes me laugh because obviously no one is just MY barista. So the my is less possessive, I guess, because it's not serious?

Or you could always just say "this person that I am seeing." Oh, or sometimes I like to say "dating person" instead of boyfriend or girlfriend. Haha.

Have you come up with a non-gendered word for "dude" or "chick"? I always liked those words.
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
I have the same problem. If I'm talking to someone I trust, I'll use the word "lover" to describe someone I'm intimate. Otherwise I'm afraid to use it because it sounds so in-your-face, you know. It leaves nothing to the imagination, lol.

I like saying "he's my man" but that implies that he's the only one. (I have two of them at the moment.) Also "gentleman friend" has a nice ring to it, at least I think so. But you wouldn't want to use either of those because they're gender specific.
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
I like that--"my love." <3
tunnaatl ══╣╠══
i am becoming a fan of not using one word to describe different relationships, as each one is unique. One term for all of them seems to take that away.
vatavian ══╣╠══
Interesting question. I have not come up with a great answer in my own life, but several of the ideas here are good. I usually start by introducing someone using just their name instead of trying to come up with a title that tries to convey my relationship with them. To add a suggestion to the list, I have heard someone introduced as "my its complicated on Facebook."
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.