So, I have mentioned my “partner” before in the scant few posts I’ve had thus far. I should clarify this by saying that, yes, I do mean this in the semi-politically-correct sense of he’s my long-term significant other. Allow me further clarifying leeway in stating that I hate this term to describe our relationship. It feels like a watered-down version of a real term of endearment. I’d be (marginally) less uncomfortable sticking to “boyfriend,” though there seems to be some consensus that “boyfriend” denotes something less serious.
In the heterosexual world, there’s clearly delineated levels of a relationship: dating, boyfriend/girlfriend, engaged, and married. Due to the fact that people get married faster than they switch toothbrushes these days, they’re watering down their own meaning of the last two, but I digress. For gay couples, it just stops after the boyfriend or girlfriend stage. We’ve been left to come up with our own terms for what follows, given that marriage between us is being treated as a bigger threat to the institution as a whole than people getting married before they’ve decided to which college they’re going. “This long-distance marriage thing just isn’t going to work out, you’re going to the University of Pittsburgh and I’m going to the University of Philadelphia.”
This isn’t to say I want to be able to call him my husband, or for him to call me that. I’m aware of where the term comes from, and it just doesn’t seem appropriate in this day and age. So, where does that leave me? Well, I use, with great disdain, “partner.” We’re not in a business together, we don’t chase down criminals together; we share a home, a bed, and our lives. Companion seems better, though it has an unfortunate feeling (to my mind), that one person is the dominant entity in the relationship.
Honestly, I try to avoid labeling things like this anyway, as I feel it’s like trying to catch the wind and stick it in a bottle, to contain it in something less than it already is. Unfortunately, it becomes a problem when communicating the idea to others. So here I am: stuck, trying to label something I don’t want to label; hating the terms I’ve been given, and thinking I should come up with a new one; and terrified of coming up with something absolutely, unequivocally awful like “brights.”