I have a problem. It’s a linguistic problem. Lexical.
The thing is, i don’t know what to call him…
Speakers of the English language sometimes boast that English has a much larger vocabulary than, say, other European languages. Considering the amount of words and other morphemes they have appropriated from other languages, this is hardly surprising. Yet, I some times find myself lacking a word. One of these cases is my constantly annoying and so far still ongoing search for what to call my ‘life partner’ of ten plus years. I’m not going to call him my ‘life partner’ because then people are going to assume I’m a lesbian and either too shy to call her my girlfriend or too p.c. to call her my bitch (or, which is actually more likely, think I’m a bloke and be totally embarrassed). I can’t really call him my ‘boyfriend’ because to me that insinuates dating and getting to know one another period of time, which in most peoples lives (or imagined idealized versions thereof) comes before the periods of ‘fiancee’ and ‘husband’. Neither of those I can use because we are neither engaged nor married. “My man’, ‘sugar-daddy’ or ‘pimp’ are slightly too specific and rather out of our area of expertise, and ‘my lover’, ‘friend’ or ‘partner’ are way too underspecified, because we are all these things at the same time. My ‘other half’ doesn’t work any better because, even though we certainly fill each other up in more ways than one, it insinuates that without him I’m not a whole person. My ‘better half’ is even worse because it is self-deprecating.
I am beginning to think I should probably have everything out and call him my primary directive when I realise that the problem I’m having isn’t a lexical one. It’s a semantic one, in the way that the concept doesn’t exist in peoples heads. How can you live with someone for twelve years, have a house, a car and a baby and not be married??? Are you mad?
Probably, and yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare.