Boyfriend? Significant Other? What Say You?

by Cate on November 29, 2011

A few weeks ago, Mystic and I were heading out to the movies, and Nick and Madeline were staying home with a babysitter.

“Say goodbye to your Mom and Dad,” she said to the kids.

I waited.  To see what the kids would say.

“He’s not our Dad!”  Nick piped up.  “He’s Mommy’s… boyfriend.”

We answered at the same time, and I answered with “my special friend.”  Ugh.  Where the heck is that whole “Beam me up, Scotty” moment when you need it?  Calling him “my special friend” was not one of my more shining moments.

I mentioned it in the car.  “I didn’t mean it like that…”  Mystic laughed.

We had the whole “we’re not going to see other people” talk months ago.  And I know he refers to me as his girlfriend.  And the kids certainly call him my boyfriend.  Heck, Nick had a “wedding planning” pack of papers that he started carrying around and scribbling in some two months into the relationship.  Mystic apparently doesn’t scare easily.  Bonus points for that.

But I’ll admit it.  I’m not a fan of the word “boyfriend.”  I told him I feel like I’m going backwards.  Like I’m back in high school.

“Well, was high school a good time?” he asked.

“I guess so.”

“Significant other,” to me, means more like a husband or wife.  “Partner” doesn’t feel right, and feels like a completely different type of relationship.

A few months back I would refer to him as “this guy I’m dating.”  Stellar, yes?

When The Ex and I used to be out and about and would run into someone he knew, he would always forget to introduce me.  And that was when we were married.  It’s not terribly hard to say, “This is my wife.”  It used to make me crazy.

Now here I am, the one doing the same thing.  Only I’m not doing it on purpose.

Part of it is that although it’s been nearly three years, I still hate that our little family became a statistic.  That the kids’ mom is “dating,” and not married to their dad.  I know it’s common, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy progression.  I am forever a work in progress.  But we all are.

A few weeks ago, Mystic and I ran into an old acquaintance of mine at the food court.  I don’t think she knew I was divorced.  We knew each other through our kids, but I haven’t seen her in awhile.  She chatted for a few minutes, and kept looking at Mystic.  She was waiting for an introduction.  We said our goodbyes, she left, and then about ten minutes later, she came back.  Since we weren’t in a hugely common area, she was definitely looking for us.  She talked for a few more minutes, and then finally left.

“You know what that was all about, right?” Mystic asked me when she finally exited.  This time for good.

“Yes.  She was waiting for me to introduce you.”

That time I purposely didn’t because she was being nosy.  Not because I was fumbling with titles.

I am fully aware this is my issue.  And luckily for me, Mystic understands and it doesn’t bother him.  For all intents and purposes, he is The Boyfriend.  If this is my biggest problem, and it’s not, of course; not the biggest nor a problem, then I think life is pretty darn good regardless.

I have no answers today.  But if you run into us somewhere, you’ll understand why I might falter for a moment.  It’s not to lessen the relationship, and I made sure to express that to Mystic.  ‘Sides it’s almost like you know him already, right?


November 29, 2011 – Bonus Photos
Giving Thanks
With our Bloggers Thanksgiving Feast this past weekend (recipes coming!), you had to know I was going to make everyone add to our Gratitude Tree, right? Praise Nutella.

Sleeping Beauty
Nothing like the capture of a sleeping child.

Tomorrow?  I think Sweet Potato Souffle.  You’ll want to be here for that.  Swear.  Tell your friends.

And Thursday?  The newest use of my coughcough free time.

Friday?  A review on a new, natural butter product.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

patsy November 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I find that my friends who find themselve single at our age struggle with what to call the guys they date more than a few times… they also feel that it’s strange to call the guy a boyfriend, even if that is what he is. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

I do find it funny that you didn’t comment further on the new additions to your gratitude tree… ;)


Joanne November 30, 2011 at 8:24 am

I vote boyfriend, but I already know him and think he’s great for you…so i’m a little biased. But I can understand the hesitation. I feel like there’s that faltering in every relationship even ones that aren’t as complicated as having exes, kids, etc. Why does it need a title anyway? You guys really care about each other and that’s all that should matter.

Haha YAY nutella! And sweet potato souffle…I think I dreamt about that.


MariaV November 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

I can understand using a title when you introduce him to someone with whom you have a close relationship. When introducing to everyone else, I vote for just introducing him by his name. I agree with Joanne. As long as you two know, it is no one else’s business. ;-)


MariaV November 30, 2011 at 9:29 am

P.S. Did you say butter?


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