The F word

Updated Oct 12 2015
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, rein 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. 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".

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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…

  7. 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?

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!

  12. 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"

  13. 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.

  14. 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. =)

  15. 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."

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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. 😉

    • 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    • 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. 😉

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. I hated this word as well. I preferred "french boyfriend" or "future husband."

    Fiance just sounds like it means boyfriend (or girlfriend) in french, right?

  28. Oh Wow! Just like everyone else I feel exactly the same… as soon as we got engaged my boyfriend said 'no fiance – it just sounds dumb' and since he wasn't saying it, i figured no worries, boyfriend/girlfriend it stays (plus those are our pet names). But then just like you said it leads to totally awkward introductions where people either correct me or (and this has happened a lot recently) ask me if we ever think of getting married… which of course, then leads to the explanation that we are engaged (i don't wear a ring, because i live in a 3rd world, rip-your-finger off for your ring city). Which makes the whole thing just a little bit weirder. This is why I LOVE this site, i find out i'm not a unique spazz but a spazz just like everyone else!

    • I've had exactly the same problem. Don't wear a ring, don't say fiance and then it gets really awkward to say "well actually we're already engaged and the wedding is X months away".

      It's probably my imagination but the way people react makes me feel like I've sprung it on them and there should have been some kind of build-up of the usual hints (like a ring).

  29. love this! anytime i refer to the man as boyfriend, people are all on me "ooohhh dont you mean fiaaaaaaaaaance?!" do we look like fiance people? i think pastels, tennis clubs, and someone named buffy or whatever. i refer to him as the future mr. conte (my last name, lol!) almosthusband, unboyfriend/unhusband, or the idiot thats dumb enough to put up with my crap forever, soon. <3

  30. You could also say My husband to be or soon to be husband…. Or my groom or My better half or my other half lol or something very simple.. My man….. just a thought or two… I never really used fiance when I was engaged but most of the time I said my groom or my man is doing this or that when we were planning our simple park ceremony and we had a "formal picnic" afterwards only because fewer people showed up sadly.

  31. I TOTALLY thought we were the only ones that used the word "Beyonce"! Hah!
    I just thought of using fubs (future hubs) but I absolutely abhor the word fiance. I just keep calling him the boyfriend, or the ginger… Formality, just drives me crazy.

  32. "Matrimonial candidate" is maybe my favorite thing of all time. I'm going to have to switch to that, even though we only have about six weeks of the awkward in-between left. I'm going to start saying that to vendors. "Well, my matrimonial candidate and I…"

  33. I have a friend who refers to her sig. other as her beloved. 🙂 I know that's a little too sentimental/heavy for a lot of people to drop casually in a conversation, but she uses it all the time. It's sweet, and so her.

  34. I thought 'fiance' was too formal for us… So I chose to call him "super boyfriend." It got the point across that he was more than a boyfriend but we weren't married yet.

  35. I personally enjoy Fiance but wonder why there are no other real words for it. I feel silly calling him my boyfriend and only do it jokingly and he snickers "I'm not your boyfriend anymore~!" I believe fiance is french…why is there no real american word?

  36. OMG! I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time and I think I'm in love! I totally understand the weird fiance thing, can't really bring myself to say it except in joke. My preferred form is Fi-ance (as it's pronounced in Raising Arizona), but mostly I still say boyfriend. I'm used to confusing people since we've been together for almost 10 years and have 2 kids, so when I say boyfriend they assume I'm a single mom and dating. But screw it, the people who matter know the score. And the too fancy thing with the invitations! I swear I had that moment thinking "what the hell am I googling invitation phrasing for".

  37. Me and my fiance actually just call each other husband and wife cuz, even without the crazy legal paperwork, we're still married. I use his last name in everything except professional stuff anyway 🙂

  38. I stuck with 'partner'. To each other, we used the term 'engagement partner' but whenever I introduced Andy it was as my partner. I still tend to do that, even though he's my husband now.

  39. I love this post!!!!!!!

    I flat out refuse to say IT too. Interestingly enough, partner in crime is what I've switched to already!

  40. I hate the F word too. Probably because it has connotations for me of girls who at 16 'get engaged' about 100 times cause they're too fancy pants to say boyfriend like the rest of us lame-os.
    I usually use 'andrew' and most people figure it out from the context what role he plays in my life. I'm also a fan of 'spousal equivilant' if I have to use anything.

  41. See….I love the term 'fianceé' (And anyone who wishes to use it but can't get that little accent to come up, it's Alt + 130)…
    The word that I can't stand…that sends literal shivers down my spine, and makes me want to punch a kitten is…
    Spouse. Ugh!
    I don't know if its the "sp" part or the "ouse"….but the word itself and how I say it makes me want to cringe!!!!!!!!

  42. fiance always feels weird to me too. so i usually refer to him as my husband, and he to me, as his wife.

Read more comments

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.