The F word

F
Photo by docksidepress, used by CC license.

I'm putting this out there because I believe I can't be the ONLY ONE to have felt this way. Okay, here's the deal: I hate the word "fiance."

My partner Aaron and I were engaged for a year and we never got used to saying it. It just felt funny on my tongue and weird coming out of my mouth. Another one of those "this feels too fancy for me" things. (I swear, I must have some sort of insane anti-"fancy shit" complex. Is there a name for that? Okay, I'm getting off topic, reign it in Megs.)

It got to the point where I started to dread when I would have to introduce Aaron to someone new. There was always that moment where I thought that I'd be okay saying "my fiance" — I'd just grin and bear it, no big deal, people do it all the time, what the fuck was wrong with me — but when it came to that moment I'd just freeze. Then this kind of thing would happen all the time…

John: Hey Megs, have you met Wendy?
Me: No, I haven't. Hi Wendy, it's nice to meet you.
Wendy: Hi Megan, nice to meet you too.
Me: Wendy, this is my… (pause for inner conflict) …boyfriend, Aaron.
John: Wow, you're still fighting that word, aren't you?
Me: Yup.

I just couldn't bring myself to use the "F word." And it caused some confusion too, like, there were whisperings about whether or not we were still planning on getting married because Aaron and I just flat out refused to switch from saying boyfriend and girlfriend to saying fiance.

Aaron was the same way. From the moment we were engaged we talked about not wanting to use the word "fiance," but what are we to do!? There's no other term for it that didn't give us the wiggens; betrothed, intended, future spouse? Nope. Uh-uh. Too formal. But the fact remains that he's more than a "boyfriend" but he's not a "husband" yet.

To anyone who is freely and happily using that term — good on ya mate for that! I think people should be happy to, both, be and have a fiance. For the longest time I couldn't wait to be affianced. But once I was, I just couldn't bring myself to ACTUALLY use the word. I'm telling ya, sometimes I hate myself. ;)

So, here are some of the terms we finally came up with to use instead of "fiance." Feel free to use them as your own…

  • "Marrying girlfriend" or "marrying boyfriend."
  • "My future partner in crime," sometimes shorted to just "partner."
  • "The one I caught"
  • "The guy/girl who's making an honest girl/guy out of me"
  • "The one who would have me, despite all the glaring flaws."
  • "That guy/girl that I'm gonna marry."
  • "Matrimonial candidate"
  • "Spousal Unit" as suggested by a reader
  • Or, my favorite, introduce your partner in a french accent as in "Zees ees mah fee-yon-say."

Does anyone else feel the same way about the "F word?" If so, what terms do you use instead?

  1. I realized I hated the word before we got engaged. A co-worker brought his chick to work one day. And people were like "oh is this your girlfriend?" and she was like "NO! I'm his fiancé!" (um yeah big difference, honey! *rolls eyes*)Is there any other country that uses the word fiancé? Is it just an American thing? Me and my future hubby were never to into using "girlfriend" "boyfriend" either. I would say boyfriend, Neal a few times and then after awhile, people would just understand that Neal = bf.

    2 agree
  2. We also dislike the F word. We sometimes say "ex-boyfriend/girlfriend". That really throws people off!

    3 agree
  3. My man hates the word too because it's French. Not that he's racist or anything, he just feels like we should have our own word for it. So he usually just calls me his almost-wife.

    1 agrees
  4. It's kind of sad that both of us feel weird saying "fiance" because I thought for sure it would feel better to be his fiance rather than his girlfriend. We're young, so I don't want people to think "Oh, they're boyfriend and girlfriend; I wonder how long that's gonna last! Hur hur hur." I want people to know how serious we are about being together for the rest of our lives. And when I would try to explain it that way, they'd look at my bare ring finger and laugh in an oh-so-condescending way. But fuck them, we're getting married in October and THEY'RE NOT INVITED SO THERE.

    3 agree
  5. I still say bf.. as others have said for some reason I almost feel ashamed to say "fiance", but how sad is that? I feel that we should all be proud to be getting married to the love of our life! Why should we be made to feel like we're lording over other people for taking this step.. next thing you know we'll be scared to say "husband" and "wife" :(

    1 agrees
  6. I'm not engaged so I'm not sure about how I would feel about the word finance. I rarely call my other half my boyfriend instead I usually describe him. Since he's Irish and known for being a loud personality I will ask people if they have seen my angry Irishman.

    1 agrees
    • I ask people if they have met/seen my Viking. A Viking is pretty unmistakable.

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  7. I've also found that around older people I feel completely at ease saying fiance, but it's younger folks who tend to not like hearing the word.

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  8. I just call him my man mostly. Pretty much the whole world knows we're engaged, so it's no big deal. I'm not huge on the f-word mostly cause I can't spell it to save my life. My language elective was spanish, not french. Besides, we'll be using it for a grand total of 16 months, hardly long enough to really get used to it.

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  9. I don't like it for similar reasons as others here, but my partner LOVES to say it. He gets all mushy and giddy when he introduces me, as "my beautiful fiancee." it's actually kind of cute!

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  10. Actually, I don't like "husband" either. I've decided I'm cool if he wants to call me his wife – actually, he already does occasionally – but I can't stomach "husband" and I don't have a reason for why.

    I was planning on going from "partner" to "fiance" to "partner" again – but I haven't been able to get "fiance" out of my mouth more than a couple of times, so I'm just keeping my head down and plowing right on through with "partner".

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  11. If you really want to throw people off Introduce them as your *Looover* ala the old SNL skits. It only gets funnier the more often you say it.

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  12. I don't like it and I think it's because I'm from a small town where every high school girl would get a 'promise ring' and then start referring to their boyfriends as "my fiance" and two months later they would break up. I think that has taken away any special meaning it could have held for me.

    Also, in the movie Freeway (one of my faves), Reese Witherspoon refers to her fiance with a beautifully exaggerated southern accent: "FEE-AHN-SAY" (and I'm not knocking the accent; I'm from the south myself). That's what I hear every time I say it and it makes me cringe.

    It's a beautiful word, and I'll definitely grin and bear it, but I don't have to like it!

    2 agree
  13. My husband was funny, he never once called me his fiancé in the 2 years we were engaged. Then about 6 months before the big day, I became his "wifey" or "future wife". He hated the word fiancee, and marriage seemed too far off at the time we first got engaged, so I was his girlfriend for quite some time, until something clicked and I became wife before we were even married :)

    1 agrees
  14. I totally agree. When I say "fiance" it makes me feel like I'm bragging, or it opens the floodgate for questions that I've answered a million times. My future husband is Japanese, and I much prefer the Japanese word that means "fiance": konyakusha, or literally, "marriage-promise-person". That hits the nail on the head!

    2 agree
  15. i am not really a fan of fiance, i have to admit. but i kept using boyfriend, and it turned out it really bothered my other half. he felt like i was trying to underplay the fact we are getting married which is awesome and exciting, and somehow i was embarrassed about it. i try and use it for him now, since it's important to him. unless i can't be bothered talking about the wedding, as 'fiance' inevitably is followed by questions about the where and when…

    1 agrees
  16. eek, I know I know. I hated it too. I still say future husband quite a bit BUT…

    now that I've been using fiance fairly frequently for the past 1.5 years, its just a word…like foie gois or quiche…its french, I use it. I don't love it but I no longer hate it.
    When I started using it, I tried to picture my fiance so it started to mean him, rather than a pretentious french word…ya know?

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  17. i skip the whole "F" word phase and went straight to the "He's my husband" state. And if i dont want someone at the wedding, i give the impression that it's already gone down, and if i do want you there i say it's still to come!

    2 agree
  18. After we got engaged, my now-husband and I moved to a new area. While house hunting, it was strange to realize that we were taken 'more seriously' when meeting potential landlords. Afterall, we weren't just boyfriend/girlfriend, we were fiances! The privilege of it just felt yucky. (which is now heightened even more now that we are now husband/wife). sigh.

    1 agrees
    • I noticed this too, the estate agent got a lot less awkward about us renting together, especially long-term when I mentioned we're engaged. Even though they already knew we'd already been renting for 3 years.

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  19. I can't get used to the word fiance/e. I was previously engaged to someone who continued to introduce me as his "girlfriend" for a year, and I think the resent I developed took the fun out of the word for me. I'm beyond excited to be getting married now, but the F-word just grates me the wrong way. I say it around people who don't know my betrothed's name, but otherwise I avoid it. I'd rather say husband-to-be, husband-elect, or future husband than fiance.

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  20. I had this same issue!!!! 'fiance' is such a show-offy "oh looky at me, someone wants to marry me" word!!!!! He's my boyfriend, and when he's my husband that's what he'll be!!!! Or, occasionally 'my fondant fancy" when we're being silly (this is the name of a little cake in uk)
    Who cares really, our friends and family know who and what we are to each other, and we don't move in circles where we need to prove our class and status, Or would we ever have people question our relationship (lucky us!)
    I'm glad it's not ust me who cringe's a little at this word!!
    xx

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  21. We call each other our Beyonces. I'd rather be a Beyonce, than a fiance.

    1 agrees
  22. Yes! I get awkward when he says the "f-word." So I've just flat out started saying, "This is my F-Word Geoff" He laughs, they look at me weird, it works well! I also use "Future Husband"

    1 agrees
  23. You could also use "my almost husband" or "my almost wife". It works if you don't mind/ plan on referring to each other that way in the future. It shows a step up from dating, but focuses more on the future of your relationship rather than the interim of wedding planning. I also think "betrothed" or "intended" sounds so old fashioned and hilarious that anyone with any sense of humour would crack a smile.

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  24. I kinda like saying "fie-ants", a la Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona.

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  25. I love Joy Behar's phrase of 'spousal equivalent' because, seriously, for most of us in this day and age…what's going to change after you sign that form for the state? Bupkis! My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years. That makes it MORE awkward because people always want to know when we're getting married or if we are…which we don't plan on doing. It also feels a little silly to say boyfriend at this point in time. We consider ourselves already married…but we're not so this works for me. He just calls me his wife. =)

    1 agrees
  26. See, I'm one of the ones who hates the word "boyfriend." The connotations it has for me are immature and lacking in commitment, and it doesn't quite capture the relationship between us. I usually just introduce my guy by his name rather than by his relation to me. He usually hesitates when he introduces me, and once referred to me as his "not-yet finacee." All in all, it's easiest to skip the title entirely. People can usually figure out our relationship by watching how we interact for two minutes anyways (and if you're engaged and wearing a ring, people will notice it if they're that curious).

    Where I work though, a large portion of my coworkers have complicated relationships, and will refer to any significant other as "old man/woman/lady," or "my/your/his/her guy/girl."

    2 agree
  27. My dude and I switch between boyfriend/girlfriend and fiance/e. He was the one who started us calling each other hubby/wifey but that still feels a bit awkward to me. Not totally sure why, but for us it's probably a matter of the fact that we haven't moved in together. So for me, having a transitional phrase works. We are in transition, because we're shortly to move in together (for a number of reasons, it didn't happen earlier) and that does put us in a between state, especially for me. If we'd been living together and sharing bank accounts, etc, for years then it would probably seem sillier. I don't have issues with the word though, unless people are trying to get attention. But people use any term to do that. "Oooh, look, this is my husband (and thus my relationship is more grown up than yours)." "Oooh, look, this is my boyfriend (and you don't have one)." I'm the last one to get married, so it also doesn't make me seem special or anything. I do forget sometimes and just use boyfriend though.

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  28. Man if feels weird on my tongue now too. He had no issue calling me fiance. The switch was effortless. I still call him boyfriend most often. I just don't feel like I'm still not a kid and can use such words. Yuck. :p

    I do refer to him as my betrothed on occasion. I like that word for some reason.

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  29. My hang-up is over the word "husband". Maybe it's because I'm a jaded divorce' or just a jaded biatch in general. ;) But I just shudder and twitch when I think of having to say "husband". I love my partner. I absolutely freaking adore him, yet I still think of the word husband as indicating some sort of ownership and that makes me cringe (I guess fiance could be taken the same way). I like "partner in crime" the best. I use that a lot. Or I just refer to him as "my sweety".

    I actually had a professor that when I met her husband she corrected me and said, "Oh no he isn't my husband! He's my lover!" I dig that. ;)

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  30. My intended insists that I call him my "pre-husband" and I love it!

    1 agrees
    • We use pre-husband and pre-wife as well, or at least we did quite a bit at first, when we were both uncomfortable with fiance. Then, over our year and a half of engagement, we just used fiance for the most part. I don't mind the word as much as I used to, just like I don't mind the idea of marriage as much as I used to.

      Now, 3 months away from our wedding, it seems our friends and co workers have just started straight up using husband and wife… It throws me a bit, but I like it. It's seems everyone knows that the ceremony itself doesn't change our relationship and it's already at that point of commitment.

      1 agrees
  31. My boyfriend and I still refer to each other as girlfriend and boyfriend. Although here I refer to him as my fiance, just because it seems easier to type it than say it.

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  32. I hate the F word and I hate Boyfriend to. We have a baby together so he is more then my bf and we arnt married so I cant (though i have slipped a few time) call him my husband so he is my partner or my other half.

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  33. we've just stuck with boyfriend and girlfriend. using "fiance" just doesn't feel natural to either of us. i know plenty of people don't take our relationship as seriously as they would if we made it obvious we're engaged… but fuck those people, seriously. we've been together for 5+ years, i've nothing to prove to anyone.

    AND CAN I JUST SAY… megan looks freaking GORGEOUS in that picture. srsly.

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    • Well, gorsh, thanks! That photo was taken almost four years ago — your typical "silly photo in an attempt to show off the ring, but not actually looking like you're trying to show off the ring"/"I just got engaged" shots. ;)

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  34. I call my Lisa my future wife. That's what she is, huuuuuh?

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  35. I'm with you on this one! I never called David my fiance ever. It was so awkward and uncomfortable. I don't even like the word 'engaged' because it reminds me of diamond rings, puppies, rainbows, etc. (None of those things I like anyway!)

    We've been married for months, but the wedding is April 23rd. We just call each other partner if someone looks super confused. I usually just say "Oh, this is David" and leave it at that.

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  36. Neither of us can bring ourselves to say "fiance" either. So I've started calling the poor guy "my gentleman lover" or "my man-friend." He introduces me as his "wife" or his "partner," which cracks me up, because I don't mind it, but he complains when anyone else uses it. When I call him out on it, he says, "What? You're actually my partner in everything we do. They're just trying to be different." Whatever floats his little boat.

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  37. I am in an awkward spot in our relationship where we are SO much more than boyfriend/girlfriend, but we aren't officially engaged yet or married. We are common law though, so I use boyfriend/fiance/spouse/significant other interchangably as the situation warrants.

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  38. We have never used the term fiance…. way too fucking fancy. Even after 2 years being engaged, we still refer to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. Or, in some situations, husband and wife. We just completely skipped over the fiance thing. I've been corrected by friends/family quite a few times, but I just don't care. We're not fancy people, and we ain't calling each other fancy names.

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  39. I've actually never had a problem with the word fiance. What I do have a problem with is WIFE and MARRIED. I know it's supposed to be a good thing, and exciting thing, a looking forward to thing. But for whatever reason, I can't get away from the feeling that those words just make me feel so tied down, old, and NORMAL. I don't want to be someones WIFE. I don't want to be MARRIED. I want to be the same old, crazy, independent, fun loving, adventurous person I always have been. Now why those words and those things don't go together in my head…I have no idea…but they just don't.

    3 agree

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