August 22nd, 2008
Are you single, over the age of 40, and dating? Do you feel silly calling someone you are dating your boyfriend, or girlfriend? You are not alone. When I hear those words, I picture blushing and giggly teenagers. At this stage in your life, you are obviously men and women, not boys and girls. With the evolution of later life dating, why hasn’t the lingo caught up?
I am proposing that singles unite and develop some new dating language. Using the words boy and girl to describe attached singles over forty seems to imply that they are less mature than their married counter-parts. While this may be true for a select few recent divorcees, people do not deserve this kind of stereotyping and persecution. Singles take enough heat.
The Dating Partner
Many singles over 40 have a person (or people) with whom they casually go out with on a regular or semi regular basis. I think the term “dating partner” would work nicely to describe this type of relationship. A person who is your partner for dates and social functions, but not your exclusive significant other. This term could also be used to describe someone you have just started seeing, but it has not (yet?) evolved into anything serious.
I actually can’t take credit for this one. I had a friend who used to use the term dating partner when she was “sowing her wild oats.” At first I chuckled, then I got used to it, then it made so much sense, I have been using it ever since! I have not been able to get it to catch on single handedly so I need your help!
And what about people who are in exclusive long term relationships, but are not planning a wedding? In your teens or twenties, even early thirties, you would have considered this person your boyfriend or girlfriend. Consider the alternatives. “Lady friend” is a nice term for men to use, but it sounds very casual, and it doesn’t go both ways. “man friend” sounds ridiculous. In this instance I think the word “companion” works perfectly. You could say male companion or female companion if you’d prefer. This one has been around for a long time, but it is too far under the radar. Let’s bring it out and use it proudly!
Mature Words for Mature People
Those of you dating while in your wiser years have different priorities than when you were young and foolish. You have learned from your mistakes and are much more sure of yourself this time around. You are well established and know what kind of people you enjoy being around. Your hormones have calmed down and your taste has become more refined. You don’t want a boyfriend or girlfriend to giggle and dream about. You want a compatible dating partner, or a companion to spend time with.
These words won’t effortlessly roll off your tongue from the beginning, but I promise if you give it a valiant effort, it will become easy and it will make so much more sense. And next time you have to go up to your boss to get time off to do something with your significant other’s family, you won’t have to sheepishly use the words boyfriend or girlfriend.
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