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. I was the total opposite. I like the word fiance (is this perhaps a Canadian thing? We use a lot more French words up here normally anyways) but I hate the word boyfriends. It reminds me of being in junior high and dating someone for 2 weeks.

    However, I didn't like the reaction it got from some people, but I think they were mainly people who didn't like the word fiance haha.

  2. Neat. When we first got Officially Engaged [after planning to spend our lives together anyways], we were partial to Betrothed. Still are, a bit, and I like to talk about our "betrothal-versary", heh. ;D
    Partly because of the "OMG French is so fancy/snooty" stereotype, partly just to be different and embrace the old English…our heritage has a fair amount of British Isles.
    We've become more comfortable with 'the F word' over time, and had used it before for talking to Official people, eg airline reps so that my mom could give miles to upgrade us. ;D
    I brought up "permanent bf/gf" the other day after reading this and he liked it.
    I say "sweetie" a lot to describe him, before and after the State of Liminal Being… and Partner, as well. Heh. ;D

  3. I don't mind the word fiancee but I always shy away and say partner because automatically people ask me what 'he' does or what 'his' name is and then I have to either go along with it (which I hate myself for) or explain awkwardly that she is a she.. I feel like a fraud because we can't legally marry, but after our wedding I want to say she's my wife because that's what she is to me no matter what our government says. Anyone else been in or know someone who has been in this position. Maybe I should call her my Offbeat Fiancee!!

  4. I'm so glad to find that I'm not the only one! Everyone I know has given me the hardest time over the "F" word. I hate it. I was the single one for most of my life when my friends were all getting married, and I *twitched* every time someone would use the word, it just seemed so pretentious and snobby that when I got engaged I refused to use it!

    I've started to introduce him as "The guy silly enough to put a ring on it" Its funny enough to get me out of the conversation and its just enough that they never bother me about it again!

  5. We're kind of the same way. I'll use the F-word if I have to (like if I'm introducing him to my boss or something) but most of the time he's "Husband… of the future!!" and I'm "Future Wife!"

    We like to say it in such a way that the exclamation marks are apparent.

  6. Actually, my fiance and I had an issue with using the boyfriend/girlfriend term. We're not kids anymore and from the very beginning it was clear we were committed; to the point were everyone we knew was asking when we would get married. And yet we had not proposed to each other or set a date or anything. We weren't boy/girlfriend, but we weren't fiance either. Awkward.

  7. I still call him my boyfriend a lot though I have been calling him my P.I.C. (partner in crime) for a few years now. 🙂 I just don't like "fiance" I don't even like when people refer to their spouses as husband or wife either. Blahhhh

  8. I would like a new significant other term. I don't like saying "this is my boyfriend", he's so much more than that. I'd say fiance, except we're not engaged. I've tried saying significant other and was laughed at, but I figured not liking the word boyfriend is not a good enough reason to get married.

  9. In Portuguese, the word for "fiancé" and "groom" is the same ("noivo"), however I'm not used to it: he's been my boyfriend for almost 15 years! Referring to him as fiancé when not on wedding planning business always makes me laugh…

  10. Catching an old post, but still glad to know that I'm not the only one. On a family camping trip, he picked up the nickname "Pwince Wiwwie". I usually call him that, so his sisters have begun referring to me as his future "Pwincess". At least it makes us giggle!

  11. I love this. We have the same problem. My "boyfriend who I'm marrying in September" (my way of solving the F-word issue) just calls me his wife already to everyone who doesn't know better which I think is funny.

  12. I have this same problem and I feel bad because my future hubby absolutely loves telling people I am his "fiancee"! He is so quick to introduce me as his fiancee that I generally just let him say it so I can avoid the awkwardness of searching for a title to give him. As awkward as I feel using the word, I have to say that I love hearing it escape his lips in reference to me!

  13. I also feel like it's too fancy and showy-offy. I've always been cool with the option of us never getting married, so I've never been rabid about any of this stuff. We've been "officially" engaged for 4 years (apparently it doesn't count unless there's a ring) and just set a date out of nowhere, but I've always said "boyfriend" and he says "girlfriend".

    I'll drop the f-bomb at, say, job interviews and other situations in which I need to appear more Grown-Up and Serious (I'm 25 but look like I'm in high school). Right now I'm possibly confusing various vendors and venue-organizer people by saying "boyfriend" out of habit while making arrangements.

  14. My best friend just tied the knot but for the past year she had been calling her boyfriend "fiancesaurus" (fee-yon-seh-sore-us) I thought it was so funny! I'm stealing it when I get engaged 🙂

  15. What I have found fascinating is that my five-year "boyfriend" and I get absolutely no flack for referring to each other as husband/wife- but no one would let us us the f-word because there is no ring?

    We are, what we refer to as, "unofficially engaged" but… The only thing "unofficial" is that there's no ring involved and we haven't set a date. Somehow those two things are what makes a commitment legitimate? Puh-lease.

    I think since we're already using husband/wife and boyfriend/girlfriend interchangeably that there's NO WAY we're going to comfortably introduce "fiance" into the mix. FH is my go-to right now but I'm happy to have so many creative options to use once people deem us "official"!

    Or. You know. Now? 🙂

    • UPDATE: new replacement word via my FH *drum roll*


      If you're like me, right now you're thinking: "The car?"

      To which his answer is "Yes. Because you're my past, present, and FUTURE!" *laughs uncontrollably*

  16. Hi meg, as spanish speaker, i`ll give you a hint,in spanish you use the word NOVIO for either boyfriend or fiance.. no fuzz.
    just go with the flow and love your guy <3

  17. I used the term "ex-boyfriend" after we got engaged, cause technically he was. He was also known to answer to "pre-hub"

  18. My fiance is Iraqi, and still had issues with English. For example, arabic doesn't have a 'p' sound so he regularly mixes his p's and b's.
    When he says fiance it usually comes out as
    'finance." Which is adorable and makes me laugh

  19. It IS a weird word. It gets weird too because I think a lot of live-together couples use it even though they aren't engaged. So when someone says, "This is my fiance so-and-so…" and you ask, "Oh! When's the wedding?" Insert-awkward, we're-not-really-getting-married response here.

    I used boyfriend up til the I-do date. Except when talking to CERTAIN people, if you know what I mean, the judgmental kind who had just learned we lived in the same house. So I can totally see why non-engaged couples use it, but it just doesn't SOUND right. It's not cute and love-y like boyfriend and girlfriend, and it's not committed like wife or husband.

    Maybe it's because the word sounds snobbinsh. Kind of like, "haha, I'm getting married. Aren't you jelly?"

  20. Fiance was way too fancy for us also. I hated using it. I NEVER called him my fiance, he was always my ALMOST HUSBAND and I was his GIRL HE'S GONNA MARRY.

  21. I like "significant other." It provides no indication of any official relationship status aside from exclusivity, and it pointedly makes it clear that that is the intent.

  22. I read this when it was first posted, i thought it was mostly really funny…then I got engaged, and had the 'inner conflict pause'. After some thought and coming back to this wonderful post I decided on HTB or Hubby to be. it's just perfect for us!

  23. I don't know. I don't feel like its a big deal. When someone is pregnant, they are not a mother and yet…not just like everyone else. So they say "I'm pregnant." To me its the same thing and its useful. Its like being in a plane also. You are not where you were or where you are going. You are in between. I think its actually helpful, psychologically, to have silly little differences during this time. Its not that its high and mighty. Its a very real thing, being about to say yes to lifetime commitment with someone. Its good to have a special word so you are on your toes emotionally and…feeling the event's approach. And more importantly, the approach not of wedding, but of being married. You don't have to be haughty to others to just enjoy the awesome love you are binding!

  24. This has made my day, you have no idea! Each time I go to use the "f-word" I feel wrong and pretentious(even more than when I use the word pretentious). I've been going with "betrothed" and "my intended"

  25. I called my now husband my matrimonial candidate as well! We got engaged right after I graduated college, and at first I loved the novelty of saying fiancee, but as I got farther along in the process it started to feel weird to say (especially after we moved in together!) I avoided it, or joked that he was my matrimonial candidate, until someone pointed out this implies I was still accepting candidates for the role of husband. I told her I was, but I was highly favoring one candidate.

  26. The Bob and I were together for 8 years before we decided to tie the knot. We had an engagement of less than a year. Up until the proposal, he was my boyfriend and continues to be my boyfriend until we get married in October. It made absolutely NO SENSE to switch to something for just 11 months when he had been boyfriend to me (and good at that) for the past 8 years. It will probably take me another 8 years to make the switch to "husband". I think I will stick with "the Bob".

  27. My man calls me his fancy girlfriend or girlfriend with bling 🙂 and I call him fiance-pants(like fancy pants)

  28. I always hated that word until we got engaged in June and decided to get married TWO MONTHS LATER (i.e. this weekend). For the first month, I resisted. Then I thought, "Wait! I only have one more month of this! Uncle! Uncle! I mean, "Fiance! Fiance!"

  29. The only reason I never say fiance, other than how fancy it is as said above, is because I'm only 18 and I hate getting the shocked looks on older folks faces and getting the "your too young!" Speech. I know I am young, but age doesn't coount for overall intelligence and maturity lol. Idk maybe I'm petty but it does hurt my feelings and I do feel bad for stripping my husband to be of his title as my fiance. But shit happens I guess haha

  30. I work in a craft store, which turned out to be a world where the phrases "my fiancee" and "the wedding" are put on such a high pedistal, it almost makes the word "boyfriend" feel cheap and dirty. Which has made me switch to "partner" while I'm at work.

    It sounds a little more comitted than "boyfriend" and even though the word "partner" isn't really accurate for our relationship (we're D/s), it gives people the idea that we totally dig eachother.

  31. I agree, My "soon to be husband" have been together for 6 1/2 years and engaged for 2 1/2. We lived together for three years before we got engaged, so the word partner just stuck.

  32. I call my fiance my fiance, because that's what he is. He's the man I'm engaged to marry. When we were dating, he was my boyfriend, when we are married, he will be my husband. I don't have a problem with any of it.

  33. Whenever I say boyfriend at work, my co-workers correct me by saying fiance. It sounds so pretentious! Most of my friends and co-workers know him so I don't have to say it much. We refer too each other as my bride/groom.

  34. I'm comforted to hear I wasn't the only one who didn't like this word… I had to try on a few different terms, for a few weeks I called him my "fancy French word", and we went with "partner" for a while, but the one that stuck was "engagement buddy". It's dorky, but it fits us. I might just keep it after we're married.

  35. I have no problem saying fiance. I couldn't imagine calling him my boyfriend. We're not in highschool. I also think hubby-to-be is pretty darn cute.

  36. Amen!! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who flinches at using the F word 🙂 I kind of feel like I'm trying to name drop or slip into an often very banal conversation 'I'M GETTING MARRIED BY THE WAY'.

    I tend to use his name, or partner, or revert to the safe 'boyfriend' but people always pick me up on it…

    Thanks for the suggestions 🙂

  37. I'm more of a Lite OBB. But when it comes to the introducing the fiance, I align with the Partner in Crime tribe and call him "My Wheel Man, Orlando"

  38. I don't like it either. Funnily with my first husband I did use it and was quite proud to but this time when we've been living together for years, have 3 children together it just feels weird. He's my partner (even when emailing wedding companies!) I prefer partner because it feels more about being equal.

  39. I also have this problem. We were on and off for so long that I've only just gotten used to calling him "boyfriend". I stumble over the word all the time. If I say "my boyfriend" my friends correct me "Don't you mean fiance?" Just because I don't use the term doesn't mean we're not still engaged. I generally use the term "the boy" since that was what he was when we were long-distance. I'm getting used to "fiance" but really I'd rather just skip to "husband" to get used to that by the time we're actually married.

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