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. Whenever I introduced my boy to someone new in the 7 months we were engaged (which wasn't too many people) I would just ignore the title all together and only use his name. My thought was that people would either figure it out by the ring on my finger, or they wouldn't…. and it didn't matter haha

  2. I hated using that word. Ugh. It just sounds weird. Maybe introduce your partner with an entire french sentence so the word at least sounds at home. "C'est mon fiancé" I think?

  3. I hate the word myself, so I refer to my fiance as my "f-word." Making it a little silly takes the snob factor out of the whole thing.

  4. My man has always just been "the boy" or "the dude". But I like husband elect and hubs. I am not comfortable with the F-word or the H-word for that matter. How about instead I call him "my man meat"? I like that!

    • I love the idea of using "the boy". Trouble is that's what I sometimes call my brother which would make it more than a little weird!

  5. I called him my Fianch, with a hard CH. I simply couldn't get around to feeeeaaaahnsaaaay – so I skipped it and made it phonetically gratifying.

  6. We like to say "we are affianced" or "this is my betrothed" because they are so ridiculously fancy that no one can take us seriously.

  7. Dude. It took me like a year to even call him my boyfriend. Which, I've since switched to "the fellow" anyway. It's almost certain my brain'll balk at "fiance".

  8. We still just say boyfriend and girlfriend. Fiance reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which a woman keeps saying things like "has anyone seen my FIANCE?" "where has my FIANCE gotten off to?" (to which Elaine responds "the dingo ate your fiance!").

    Our friends used the term FUNCE (fun-say), so there's that too.

  9. I love the french accent Fi-YOHN-cee….it cracks me up everytime. I also think of Seinfeld everytime I hear the word. I think of that lady "Have you met my fiance, oh where is my fiance…" My MOH laughs now because she got married last Sept and now she can't say it with a french accent…husband doesn't have the same french ring to it….My future husband (which is another one i use) calls me his "ball and chain installer"

  10. Hmm. Never really thought about it. I haven't had a problem using the term. Actually, I don't think I have yet.

  11. We call each other engagemos or gagemos for short. We're kind of goofy and silly, so it fits us perfectly!

    My engagemo's brother considered calling his fiance is ex-girlfriend instead, for a while. 🙂

  12. I'm not keen on the fiance word at all, in fact I cringe when I hear himself use it to others. I find it easier to call him the Trainee Husband!

  13. I have used fiance twice in the 1.5 years I've been engaged. Only around those whom it seeemed necessary. We've got the marriage licence, the dress, tuxes are rented, we live together, have had a baby together, share finances together, but I can't do it. So it's partner for me. He calls me his girlfriend or his wife. I can't call him husband yet since we aren't married. When I use partner many people have said they thought I was a lesbian. He doesn't use the word partner because he feels it implies he is gay… and he's also been thought to be gay. In the end, we know who we are and what we are to each other, regardless of what others think and what we call each other. I guess it will soon be husband & wife. I'm okay with that but it'll take me a bit to switch from partner to husband.

  14. I don't hate the word, I have used it on occasion, but it does feel too frilly and floaty for me to use it all the time comfortably. Usually I just introduce him as Patrick, lol.

  15. My girlfriend hates the word fiance. She hates the word wife, too. So when I don't just say "girlfriend," I use "APG": Almost-Permanent Girlfriend. I suppose she'll become my PG in September, although "partner" will probably suffice as well.

  16. My f-word and I use almost-a-husband and almost-a-wife when we have to use the f-word. So it comes out:

    "Hi have you met my almost-a-wife, Tiffany?"

    It's funny that when spoken aloud that you can hear the hyphens.

  17. I definitely feel the same way! We called eachother "F-bomb" and now he's my "H-bomb". While "W-bomb" is pretty lame, hearing it is no where near as weird as hearing myself refered to as "wife".

  18. I occasionally babysit for a little girl who is rather… precocious. At about 5 years old, she's very aware of relationships. She'd met my fiance J. a few times, and we'd explained to her who he was and that we were GOING TO GET MARRIED (these things are VERY exciting/ freaky to cootie-concious young girls).

    At a kid's party at which my fiance was in attendance, her mom came up and asked if she knew that J. and I were getting married.

    "Yes!" she said, talking also to her friend next to her.
    "I already barfed about that!!!"
    She then turned to her friend and told her,
    "That's J. He's Meryl's FRIEND-SAY!"

    So, out of the mouth of babes- I give you, Friend-say. So true. Hilarious.

  19. My lady and I use "girlfriend" with strangers and "future wifey" with our friends and family. I don't hate "fiancée" I just feel like I'm about to get called out for trying to be fancier than my pedigree calls for. 😉

  20. I have no problem with the word fiance but I sometimes feel like it sounds pretentious. But yet, that's what he is. Maybe it has to do with my stage in life (college student and first of my friends to get engaged).

  21. I always used pseudo-husband since we were living together with a kiddo…
    Some might take offense, but really – he felt like a husband – not a fiance. But that's just me.

  22. I say "this is Dave!" I've never found it necessary to spell out our relationship to someone who doesn't even know us (if they knew us, they would know we were engaged). If someone asks "Is this your boyfriend/husband/fiance?" I just say yes. I don't really care how they want to label us as long as they don't use offensive terms like "baby daddy" 🙁

  23. I'm SO glad you did this post! My man and I have actually been engaged for 5 years…long story but a kid and a job decided to jump in and take up most of our wedding cash and planning time. ANYWAYS – I can't say the F word either. I like "guy I'm going to marry!" it's cute, casual, and gets the point across without having to make up a fake accent to say those wierd forign words. Thanks! =)

  24. it is SUCH a 'poncie' word, isn't it? I always find myself putting on a 'posh' voice when I say it. this is my 'fiyonceee' Phil, and often find myself saying Boyfriend or partner out of habit because I feel like a complete noob when I say it, even to strangers (like telemarketers/survey types) on the phone!

    Thanks for the options, they're tres cute. I think I'll stick to saying 'I am Leish and this is my Phil.' 🙂

  25. Oh, do I know that awkward pause before saying (or not saying, as it were) the F-word! I've tried to identify my reasons for not wanting to use the F-word and have come up with a few possibilities:

    1. I don't really want to go through the whole story of 'the engagement' with every individual I meet… nor do I really need to be congratulated 5 months down the track by people I don't really know.

    2. I'm not sure that deciding to get married necessarily warrants the sudden transformation in 'title'. I get a bit nervous at the prospect of 'being transformed' via wedded bliss. I hope that nothing substantially changes! My impending nuptials are about publicly demonstrating my love and commitment to my other half… I want him and I to be the same people before and after.

  26. i am the same it just makes me feel snobby… i just call him my partner when i talk about him to people who don't know us…the big problem is i REALLY HATE 'husband' and 'wife' so i think we will just go on being partners forever

  27. I usually call him "my fella" as it has such an old timey and folksy feel to it. Plus it can mean whatever I want it to mean. Although I will admit that if I am talking to someone who doesn't really need to know the particulars, I just round him up to "my husband". I figure that we have been living together for years now and bought a house together so we are pretty much married without the tax breaks.

  28. We pronounce "fee-ancy". Also takes the serious off it, but will be using the french accent suggestion too!

  29. It's not the word I hate, but the reaction on the rare occasion that I use it. I hate the over-zealous "oh, congratulations!" which sounds like it means "that's unbelievable–at your age–you finally found someone to accept you, he must be the last penis on earth. You are soooo lucky."

    Thanks for the Spousal Unit!

  30. A friend of mine one day made the comment that all he can think of when people use "that word" is Beyonce. Now I can't get that out of my head, and lovingly refer to my husband-to-be as my Beyonce. 🙂

  31. I have struggled with the "F" word as well, we normally ontroduce eachtoher as "almost wife" or "Almost Husband" normally gets a laugh everytime, then we tell them how we hate using the "F" word 🙂

  32. Me too!

    My man and I have been together for 8 years and though I was sick and tired of calling him my boyfriend, "fiance" just seems so…ugh!

    So very ohh, daaahling, get the good crystal vaase would you? Company is coming. Blech!

    When I was 18, I looked forward to fiance. Now, I wish we weren't taking our good old time getting to the alter because I just want to skip straight to husband.

  33. My boyfriend asked me to marry him repeatedly when we first started dating…five years ago. We talk about our formal engagement and wedding all the time, so we've always been working under the assumption we'll get married. I regularly refer to him as my-


  34. I tend to use "intended" in place of fiance. Sure, it sounds outdated, but I rather like the classic feel of it. It balances avoiding strange "fiance/e" terms and employing something everyone understands. I tend to avoid using "my partner in crime" or its equivalent, because it seems to lose the specialness of an engagement: "partner in crime" could well be a best friend rather than a marriage candidate. It's worked well enough for me.

  35. I just call Matthew my boyfriend. Or my lover. My thinking is, why do I have to call him anything special? Everyone important knows I'm gonna marry him. I have a ring on my finger. Isn't that enough? Why do I have to label us as affianced anyway?

    I call Matthew my boyfriend, and that's enough for me. He knows I'm spending the rest of my life with him, and I know he's spending the rest of his life with me, and I don't understand why I have to call him this weird french thing.

    At first, I wanted people to take my relationship seriously. But that got me thinking, who has to take my relationship seriously except for me and my lover? Why does their judgement of me make me nervous and change the way I act?

    It shouldn't. And now it doesn't. 🙂

    ((Really, I'm counting the days until he'll let me call him my husband!))

  36. The thing that was always weird about fiance for me was that every time I said it, I felt like I was shoving the fact the I was getting married in people's faces. Like I was saying, "This is him! Now ASK ME ABOUT MY WEDDING." Every time he was introduced it lead to a discussion of our wedding and when/where/what and let me say, it's exhausting talking about the wedding while planning. Repeating the gory details to everyone who has just met your 'fiance' is just plain irritating. It almost felt like bragging to me. "Look where I am with my life! I'm getting married!"

    Yeah…not a fan. We didn't come up with anything better. Usually I sucked it up, sometimes it just came out boyfriend. Oops. 8 months and it was over. He is now husband/partner/roomie, which I don't mind. Because that's what he is. : )

  37. When I refer to my future husband, I used to say "my boyfriend, er..fiance, uh…Brad, whatever…." I wasted a lot of time because I don't dislike the word fiance but I don't like it enough to care/remember. I've gotten to the point where I just call him by his name or "my future husband".

  38. Ewww I hated using the word "fiance" when my hsuband and I…well boyfriend then…were about to get married. "Fiance" just sounds so pompous.

  39. I've used future life insurance benficiary, my bethrothed, or feyonce like beyonce when I need to make joke to get through the word. Shrug. Fiance status is relationship purgatory. Fiance/Fiancee are awkward words for an equally awkward place.

  40. My boyfriend and I are picky about words as well. He wouldn't refer to me as his 'girlfriend' until we were sixteen, because where we live, people just assume that if you use those words you are having sex, which we weren't and aren't.
    Also, I am not french at all. My brother refers to my boyfriend as my 'husband' because I picked him out when we were thirteen, six years ago. I really like the term 'marrying boyfriend'. You go girls! Fight that crazy french word!

  41. My love and I have been engaged for about a year and a half now and we call each other, "my fancy"

    I love it! example, "I'm here with my fancy, Lynsie"

    you know, play on words…cute though!

  42. My favorite way to refer to my significant other is "lover." We have been together so long that boyfriend and girlfriend don't seem appropriate and fiance is such a temporary title. Lover is fun because it will usually get a raised eyebrow or a chuckle, and I never have to stop using the term.

  43. I always hated fiance, but I didn't know what to call my now-hubby. Finally I settled on my man or future-better-half (or if in a bad mood worse-half). He called me his special someone and therefore avoiding all the other labels for boyfriend/fiancee/husband. Or my soulmate if you're a real romantic. 🙂

  44. I've always felt weird about the word fiance, but "boyfriend" doesn't always quite give the impression I'm hoping for.

    When I was applying for jobs overseas one of the questions asked was if I would be living alone or with someone, and if so, what relationship were they to me. Just saying "my boyfriend" didn't sound professional or serious enough, yet at the time we weren't engaged. I got used to using "my significant other" in those types of situations to keep things vague, but then many just assumed we were already married.

    Even now that I'm engaged, saying fiance just sounds so weird. I still tend to use boyfriend when I'm talking among friends and co-workers. We've been dating five and a half years, and I don't feel like anything has changed between us since I got the ring on my finger some months back. The ring is just a confirmation of something we already knew and felt long before it was "official".

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