He’s My Pet, My Slut, My Beast.

But what do you call your partners? I mean, boyfriend and girlfriend sound so… junior high, and very gendered. Lover can be good, but for me it both adds something and leave something out.

And people are usually more than just their roles, to me.

Labels also tend to carry with them a lot of cultural assumptions about the nature, scope, and future trajectory of those relationships. Assumptions that may or may not apply, and make it too easy for those in the relationships fall in to treating the dynamic as what it “should be”, instead of letting it be what it is.

So, I’ve been recording a list of a few terms I’ve run across hat I like, or at least find fascinating:

datefriend or datemate

Just dating, not too serious. Makes the point. Easy to say and use, and people understand almost immediately.

enbyfriend

Like boyfriend or girlfriend, but non-gendered. enby = NB = Non-Binary.

nesting partner

Instead of “primary.” The person you live with, have children with. Does not suggest a caste of better-than or less-than.

sweetie

A simple, universally understood term, but some female-identifying people take offense, because it’s been used as a slur.

lifemate

Another word for a person who is expected to be at the core of your life. Does not necessarily focus on marriage, or even co-habitation. Does not have to even be romantic.

intimate (n.)

Can be sexual or non. Does not necessarily refer to gender. May seem a bit too suggestive for some tastes in mixed company.

anchor

Another word for primary in a multiple partner situation that does not imply hierarchy.

oso or other significant other

A reference to other poly partners. May be used singly or for multiples: other significant others. Suggests a depth of connection.

What are your favorite words/ roles to describe your relationships and partners to others?