Why I call my live-in partner “husband”

Guest post by Nova Fuquay

silly dad My last name is Fuquay and my husband’s last name is Weese. No, I didn’t choose to keep my own last name when we got married — we’re not technically or legally married. We may get married some day, but then again, we may not. Marriage doesn’t really hold much significance with Hubby and most of the time it’s not something I consider important either.

I must admit that occasionally I wonder what it would be like to be called Mrs. Weese, to have a wedding, or to not have to stumble through an explanation that I fear to be over her head when our very perceptive three year old asks why I have a different last name from her and her daddy, but I know that wedding bells are nowhere in my immediate future. Yet still, I call Ted my husband. I feel that is his appropriate title and I can’t really think of a better description of his relationship to me.

I know all the many names that we cohabiting couples call our partners: boyfriend or girlfriend, lover, life partner, significant other. None of these really feel right to me. Ted is more than just my “boyfriend” although we have been friends for eight years and lovers for almost five. He is definitely my partner for life and is certainly very significant to me, but he is also the father of my child, my best friend, my other half, the soul I feel bonded to, not in a restrictive sense, but in a most liberating spiritual fulfillment. When you’ve found the right person, you know it, and ladies and gents — I’ve found mine. Perhaps its because of my conservative upbringing, but the word most associated with all of these things in my mind is “husband.”

There are other reasons why I choose to use the word husband as opposed to the alternatives. For one thing, I feel that it’s the easiest way to describe our relationship to others rather than going through the more lengthy explanation of, “No, we’re not married, although we do live together, raise a family together and will be spending our lives together.”

I also feel that people don’t respect the word boyfriend as much. Some people call guys they’ve only dated a few times their boyfriends. As much as you would think the term would imply exclusivity, people seem to have a lot less problem hitting on or even actively pursuing someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend than they would doing the same with someone’s husband or wife. I’m aware that people in both categories can choose to have open relationships but I think that as a simple courtesy you should check with their partner first if you know the person is attached.

Then there’s the whole issue of living in a backwoodsy bible-busting area like we do. I personally couldn’t care less if someone thinks the way my family chooses to live is “wrong,” because it really isn’t any of their business. However, when we become the object of discrimination based purely on the fact that we are not married, it’s both upsetting and inconvenient.

We were once considering moving into income-based apartments. We did a little research and found out that if you are not married, you cannot have a man living with you there. They even go so far as to check your closet for men’s clothes when they do their inspection. (Surely they realize some women wear men’s clothing too.)

When my husband went to set up a bank account for the business that we started together, they allowed us to set it up as a partnership account with right of survivorship. That was because the clerk had assumed that we were married. When we later mentioned that we were not married they threatened to freeze the account if we did not fill out papers agreeing to change the account to his name only where I was just undersigned and no longer had right of survivorship. I have since learned to keep my mouth shut. Most of the time, people around here will assume we are married, and why not leave it at that if it benefits us? It’s a bit more convenient than the alternatives.

So, Ted is and always will be my husband for many reasons even though we are not married. I believe everyone has the right to decide what goes on in their own personal relationships and use whatever terms they see fit to describe them. The terms I feel best fit us are husband and wife. I’m sure I’m not alone in my interpretation and that there are an infinite amount of equally valid opinions on this subject. What term do you all use for your significant others?

Comments on Why I call my live-in partner “husband”

  1. Ah well, I call my husband my partner or my boyfriend! I prefer to use partner because to say husband as I stand there as a stay-at-home middle class mum makes me feel so… vanilla…! I’d rather leave it ambiguous as to whether we are legally recognised or not, because what does it matter? I also try to use gender neutral language about other people’s partners & so it helps if I use it for myself. & sometimes I use boyfriend to make me feel younger.

    My parents got married when I was 8, & always used partner, so I guess it came more naturally to me as well.

    • haha I was just about to post saying the same thing. I *am* married and totally call my husband my ‘boyfriend’. We’ve only been married for a month, so this may well change in the future, but for right now that’s just what feels right.

    • Same!! We’ve been married for 9 months but I still say “my partner” most of the time. To me partner has the same amount of seriousness and weight to it as husband and wife does.

  2. Dude, do what’s right for you. Call him what you think is best. I am married but it was a very personal choice for me. And we did it alone without anyone else there. And I almost always forget to tell people that we’re married. I don’t even wear my wedding ring half the time.

    You’re right that legally there is a big difference between loving someone forever and being married. (They don’t necessarily go hand in hand.) The government sees you two very differently. Just make sure that you two are covered legally. For example, were you aware that if he were medically injured, you wouldn’t have a right to make decisions for his care? And of course, you would be the one that he want to do that because you’re his life partner. Unless you have created a medical power of attorney, his next living relative would have that power. I would suggest you guys never get married if you don’t want to. . . but consult a legal professional about how to make sure you don’t get screwed because of it.

  3. Ooh, thank you for this! I love hearing how other people do it. My (male) partner and I are also not married, for lots and lots of reasons. We’re expecting our first child this winter, and we’ve been rushing to set up all those legal protections — wills, medical power of attorney, etc. We are very fortunate that we live in a part of the country where, socially, no one really cares if we’re married or not. Buying our house was a non-issue, from that perspective.

    And we tend to use partner. Or, simply, “This is my Beth.” I know other unmarried heterosexual couples that use husband/wife, and one that uses partner, but they each call their partner’s parents “in-laws.” I have a hard time using “husband” for my partner, simply because he isn’t my husband. We haven’t had any kind of ceremony, legal or otherwise. But that’s us — “partner” works for us.

    Also, along with the legal stuff P.S. Jones already mentioned, you may want to look into the common law marriage laws of your state. In Oregon, where I live, there aren’t any. But I know of other places (Colorado is one) where people have found themselves requiring a legal divorce, even though they didn’t know they were married.

    • So damn cute! I may have to steal that line “This is my (insert partner’s name here)” We too, live in a community where MANY people user the term partner, whether they are hetero or homosexual couples. However, when I was just at my 10 year HS reunion and was talking to a guy about how my partner and I blah blah…he flat out asked if I was a lesbian. Wow. Um no, I just don’t feel (like the OP) that the term boyfriend accurately describes our relationship. We’re in it for life in every sense, just not legally married.

      P.S. We call one another’s folks “out-laws.” It sounds badass and is more accurate. My mom-outlaw came up with that one!

      • we had our wedding over a year before actually legalizing a marriage, externally, and i also used the term “outlaws”! there was a wee bit of wistfulness around that when we finally made it legal (a week before our baby was born, in the bar in which we had our wedding, before the officiator donned his bingo host persona, with a glass of champagne and a quick pic on the phone camera). we had not made our partnership the business of the gov’t due to the marriage equality issue and a general belief that such things as that license should not dictate all the things it does. when facing down an imminent and iffy looking birth, and being unable to navigate the piecemeal process of getting all of the security established without the marriage (regarding the medical choice rights and such), coupled with the fact that a law passed here granting domestic partnership (which we’d prefer) that excluded straight couples unless one was over age 62, we caved and did the paperwork. we’ve referred to each other as husband and wife since what we considered to be our “real” wedding, the earlier date.

  4. I like to use “partner” or “spouse” when I’m referring to my husband to other people. Sometimes I call him “Wifey”.

    I think it’s really empowering for both un-married and married couples to define/name themselves, rather than just accept however society wants to label them.

    • Most of the time he also calls me wife. He really doesn’t care what I call him as long as people are aware of the significance of our relationship. For me, calling him husband is just one of the simplest ways to convey that. I realize that sometimes legally married couples don’t have the same depth of love and devotion for one another, but I belive that many of us (unless you’ve had personal experiences otherwise) still envision a happy loving couple when we hear the term husband or wife.

  5. I guess this doesn’t really apply to me, because I live in Norway, and here we have the term “samboer” which basically translates as cohabitant. This term is much more common here than in the US or other English-speaking countries.
    But the great thing is that cohabitants have the same legal rights as married couples, so there’s no pressure on anyone to tie the knot.

    • Australia’s like this, too – we use the term “de-facto.” Plus these rights extend to same-sex partners, too! (Why they won’t let us have a legal ceremony I don’t understand, but…)

    • I was about ready to say the same thing! I’m a ‘love refugee’ to Sweden and so now I have a sambo. He’s not my husband and not really just my boyfriend, he’s my sambo. 🙂

    • This really is awesome, nice work Norway. ‘Samboer’ sounds like a beautiful thing.

      Like Nova, and apparently many others, I’m in a forever relationship which I and my partner see as a marriage, but we haven’t had a wedding. It makes sense to us just how it is, but I do refer to him as my husband when I don’t want to go into a long discussion about our situation.

  6. Really neat article, and I agree that you just need to do whats right for you! My fiance and I were together for 8 years before we even thought of getting married. And now, although I call him my fiance for a long time he was my partner, I was like you were boyfriend didnt seem right, he was so much more than that to me.

    I’m surprised though that you aren’t considered common law (although honestly I don’t really know how legislation works in the US). In Saskatchewan (Canada) we are now considered common law because we have lived together for a specific amount of time, file our taxes together and are expecting our first baby, all long before we sign the marriage certificate. Its awful that you have the problems of survivorship, etc with bank accounts just because you haven’t signed a marriage certificate.

      • Amen to that sad fact. I live in a backward ass state where not only is gay marriage not recognized (well, it was for a hot second), to be considered common law here one of the partners has to be over the age of 65. We’ll get there someday I guess! 😉

  7. We did this too. It just seemed like the most accurate label. We did eventually get legally married(for legal reasons). I still didn’t change my last name. It’s really not a big deal, my kids accept it as normal.

  8. I have both an ex-husband and a boyfriend who are very much involved in my life, in a variety of ways, and I introduce them in the ways previously mentioned. I use boyfriend because that’s the more “socially acceptable” term, and it requires less explanation than “partner,” which is what I really would prefer to call him. He is my partner, in all things, and my best friend. My daughter calls my ex “Daddy” and my boyfriend by his first name. It’s easiest for all of us that way. : )

  9. Since we got serious at a young age, I felt that “boyfriend” wasn’t a good communicator of our status in each other’s lives — a 21 year old talking about her boyfriend sounded exactly the same as a sixteen year old to “adult” ears, and I wanted to be semantically clear that he was much more than that. I came to hate how frivolous the word sounded.
    My initial solution was to ironically refer to him as my “Masculine Counterpart.” However, that became a habit, and I found that Masculine Counterpart got the message across very clearly and, with semi-frequent use, wasn’t at all cumbersome to say. (Believe it or not.) Depending on the company I was in, I’d also call him my boy or my man, but I stopped using boyfriend entirely.
    Later in college, when I started listing him as an emergency contact on certain forms, I just fudged facts a little and listed him as my fiancé. No official institution will want to call your boyfriend first in an emergency, but a fiancé is completely credible, since he’s… bought you a ring?

    • My “masculine counterpart” (love that) and I got married when I was 20, so I also hated the word “boyfriend” early on. It does sound trivial, and I certainly wouldn’t want to call my committed, long-term, but not legally married mate “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” You need something that means more than “person I have a standing date with.”

      Although, when he sees a picture of me from way back, he always says, “That’s my girlfriend!” 🙂

      • my husband and i lived together for 5 years (or something like that) before we got married. we got to the point where we wanted to use something other than boyfriend/girlfriend to describe our relationship because it was inadequate. i started using “partner” but living in liberal victoria bc people always thought i was referring to a woman (especially since his name is uncommon and many people think it is a female’s name). it was too much work to explain that no, i was in a long-term committed relationship and living with a man and felt that boyfriend was an insufficient term to use. we did get married eventually and “my husband” gets that point across beautifully. although it has created the new problem of trying to explain to everyone that, yes, my husband’s last name is husband. it’s either annoyingly hilarious to them (as if they are the first person to have ever realized the pun) or incredibly confusing (as in “i’d also like to make any appointment for my husband” ok what’s his last name?” “husband” “yes i understand he’s your husband, but what’s his last name?” “his last name is husband” “yes, i realize he’s your husband, is his last name the same as yours?”…and so on)

      • Man, I just had this conversation last week when a friend referred to me as my boyfriend’s “wife”. The friend felt it was more appropriate since we are living together, committed, and having a baby soon, but I nearly freaked out. We have actively chosen NOT to get married before out baby gets here, so I felt that the terms wife/husband were inappropriate. Unlike many people, I don’t like the word “wife” because to me it implies a form of ownership. I much prefer to say partner, even if it’s a little more ambiguous, because that’s what he is to me – my partner in life, in finances, and in raising our child. I also still like using boyfriend/girlfriend for us, since the idea of a long-term boyfriend is totally normal in my world, but I also use baby-daddy and partner, depending on the company we’re in. I also kind of enjoy the quiet challenge of using “boyfriend” when I’m so obviously pregnant, as if I’m daring other people to question the legitimacy of our relationship, but that’s just me. He actually likes to call me his fiancé, because girlfriend seems too casual. So we just kind of make do, depending on the situation.

    • This is the story of my life. I’m 21 and “boyfriend” doesn’t fit what I have with my cohabitating lovey of 6 years. We weren’t playing “puppy love” when we starting dating nor are we now. Partner doesn’t roll off my tongue sounding right, nor does significant other or life partner. Lover is far too intimate and doesn’t imply emotional attachment. Lovey boy suggested just saying fiance or husband/wife but I pointed out that I’d be fielding a lot of “Let me see the ring!” questions. I wear a ring he gave me 5 years ago, but it doesn’t fit the sparkly diamond qualification, although my mom does call it my engagement ring and would be horribly upset if I use any other as such. I have to remind myself that we have voiced our commitment to each other, our families and friends support and love us as one and anyone who sees us together knows it’s not playing house. It does bug me that when I explain our relationship, I either get “Why aren’t you married?!” or “You couldn’t possibly know that he’s the one for you that young. You’re just staying because you’re comfortable.”

    • It’s all in the semantics. One definition of marriage is “a close and intimate union” (wordnetweb.princeton.edu) This we certainly have. Therefore, though we have had no ceremony, We are still joined in a marriage. One word can have many meanings. That is the beauty of language.

    • Leah, in many states, common law marriage–which gives the same legal protections as a civil marriage–is conferred on a male-female cohabiting couple after a period of time. It’s problematic. Maybe they’d rather be considered “married” after a shorter time. But they don’t get that choice. Not yet.

      Only a couple of states recognize gay marriages, civil or common law. No states that I know of recognize polyfamily marriages. We have a really long way to go before all cohabiting lovers who want & deserve the benefits and legal rights that come with legal marriage can have them. But we can choose to fight for that! My ideal criteria? Have the state officiant say to the couple/polyfamily, Is this a healthy, reciprocal, loving adult relationship? Are you committed to one another? Boom, you get legal rights as beneficiaries/power of attorney/hospital visitation/etc etc. Yeah!

      • I had never thought before about it being a benefit to have common law marriage. I always just thought of it as a potentially negative thing (fear of being married without my consent, as happened to friends of a friend).

        I know there are places where common law marriage is much more difficult and requires active representation as a married couple. I’m curious, though, why people would choose that route over going down to the courthouse and making it legal, if being married is what they want. It seems easier.

        • For one, you can have a legal document stating that the relationship is not intended to be a marriage-like commitment. And I believe the issue of “fear of being married without my consent” would really only be an issue if the relationship were to dissolve and the other party were to seek compensation/splitting of assets. Common-law protects individuals from being without assurance (and insurance). Just as married people have a legal duty to support each other, without a legal document stating that the relationship was not intended to be common-law, so do the individuals involved.

          Common-law allows individuals to collect social security and employment insurance benefits; it allows individuals to enlist under their partner’s medical and auto-insurance coverage. Common law marriage can serve as an outlet for couples who cannot be legally bound by conventional marriage but desire to exercise their rights as a committed partnership, such as same-sex relationships. Also, some couples choose not to conform to the conventions of a formal marriage for social, political, or religious beliefs. (For myself, that includes the patriarchal structure of traditional marriage.)

          Second, perhaps it’s not being *married* that these individuals want, but rather the respect and recognition that their partnership is a valid commitment, and in some cases even more thought out than those who partake in legally-certified marriages. By allowing individuals the benefits associated with the level of commitment they are providing each other, without the legal hoopla that many of these non-traditional couples contest or are not privy to, common-law relationships allow for a more inclusive, supportive society.

  10. I call mine my partner, my “other”, fiance when it fits – but I hate that word, it sounds so pretentious and it doesn’t communicate our reality (we’ve been engaged for nearly 4 years and still no planning going on – it’s more of a promise that we’re in it forever and that one day we’ll get around to the big-ass party where we make it legal – maybe when everyone has the right to get married). If I’m just making idle conversation sometimes I’ll call him my husband – especially in interchanges with customers at work (I work in retail so I always end up sharing a lot of anecdotes) because that word somehow legitimizes my relationship, whereas boyfriend does not. You can see the look in people’s eyes – you say boyfriend, they see kids playing house. You say husband, they see you as a committed, mature couple. Especially in rural Mississippi.
    Mostly, though, I prefer partner. I like making the point that we are fully committed, and it communicates that we make our decisions together.. and that there are people in the world who choose to cohabitate and that should be okay.

  11. Yes! This is EXACTLY what my husband and I are doing, though we have no legal papers, nor have we had a ceremony. I consider myself married in the sense that he is my life-long partner, we have a “close and intimate union” and he is father to my daughter. For a little while I referred to him as my partner, but since he has a name that is becoming popular for people to use for women, it confused things and people thought I meant my female partner. I don’t mind that at all, but husband is clearer and to the point, and saves me a lot of explanations. We haven’t had to explain it to our daughter yet, as far as she knows he’s Daddy, I’m Mama, and we love her and each other. We will get married eventually when it becomes financially feasible, but really only for the legal benefits, rights of survivorship etc., not because we think it will in any way legitimize or make more real our marriage.

  12. My parents were never married and are still very happy together 30 years later. They’ve always called eachother husband and wife and are happy with that. My partner and I have been living together for a few years now and call eachother husband and wife or partner. We’ve been engaged for almost 5 years and could use fiancee but we got sick of people asking when the wedding date is since we haven’t set one and are unsure if we will but don’t use the term boyfriend because to me as well he is much more than anyone else I’ve ev er called boyfriend.

  13. I have a husband. We had a ceremony and a honeymoon, we wear rings, we’ve made a lifelong commitment to one another. We’re married.

    But not legally. For us, the decision to not fill out the marriage certificate was a purely practical one. I have ongoing health problems and while his student insurance is very basic, I am still young enough to be on my mother’s awesome insurance–If I’m not legally married. Also, we wanted to buy a house. His credit is shot, but mine is good, so since we’re not legally married, mine was the only score considered.

    I’ve come across some people who simply don’t understand when they hear that we’re married, but not legally. I usually tell them something about how marriage exists in the love between us and the choices we make, not what the government has to say about our relationship.

    • I’m exactly the same – well, WILL be. Our marriage ceremony is in December, and in NZ, de facto relationships have the same rights as legally married couples, so to us it is superfluous. It took a while for our parents to understand, but they’re coming around now. Most of the time, I just won’t tell people, it’s none of their business. He’s my husband, and that’s that!

  14. We use husband and wife in public as we’re legally married and “old fashioned” in a lot of ways. In private we call each other mama and papa, as we have since our first month of dating. But my Dad really says it best…he’s introduced Charles as my “other half” since he first met him. I feel it’s such an accurate representation of who he is in my life as well as how much my Dad respects our relationship. People tend to get all smiley when he says it. It’s sweet.

  15. some people feel that “marriage” should have a broader definition/be defined within our own relationships, and not require “validation according to the definitions of others”, especially if the others who are doing the defining and validating do not share our values. sometimes it feels appropriate for the action/living to inform the title over a one-time event or signing of a piece of paper that is somehow something other than a contract between the people actually affected by it, at the end of the day. “technically” as dictated externally is not necessarily more “real” than “technically” as subjectively defined for oneself, as far as how we see each other and what we choose to call it. (in my ideal world)

    (this was actually supposed to post as a reply to leah’s comment that “technically” ted is not nova’s husband)

  16. also, it makes me happy to see other people with similar stories to mine, re: having the wedding as a separate entity from the legal junk, whether or not the legal junk takes place!

  17. I was with my “partner” for six years before we became legally married. I never felt that boyfriend covered our relationship well after we had been together longer than a year. So I started introducing him as “the love of my life” or “the man of my dreams” People got the message every time.

    Now it seems extra sweet to call him these things instead of plain ‘ol Husband.

  18. This story IS my story! In fact- and this is not the best reason to get married, I guess- one reason we got engaged is because of this very social dance. Frustration!

  19. I have deep sympathy for the author of this post. I’ve been with this dude for 9 years, bore his child, and we’ve known we have a strong commitment to each other for at least 5 years now. We didn’t know how to refer to each other for a long time, so we settled on “partner.” I did say he was my husband on a few occasions when it seemed like saying that would facilitate us having an easier time. And you know what? I’m sad that I did that. For a couple of reasons. The fact that I value my honesty is one reason. Looking back on those moments, I would prefer not to have lied. We hadn’t said our vows, not yet, and even though we felt our commitment as a couple, we hadn’t actually taken that step together. Now that we have taken it, it feels like a symbolic threshold has been crossed–not for the sake of others’ comfort, but for us. Actually having said those vows did change *us* in some subtle ways.
    Another reason I’m sad that I pretended we were married is that I did it in order to win benefits and privileges that even my married gay and lesbian friends CAN NOT HAVE. That was an abuse of my own privilege as a straight chick. I was “passing.” This concept has been studied a lot and I know it can be both a survival technique and a trap. Let’s try to have a little more honest conversation about what “passing” for married might mean for our lesbian, gay and polyamorous brothers and sisters who DO go through a marriage ceremony or are together for a long time and STILL cannot even access those benefits that straight people can have just by pretending to be married. Could I have continued to just use the word “partner” to describe my man and let people squirm uncomfortably, wondering if we were married? How bad would it have been to just refuse to answer the lady at the gym when she asked if we were married to qualify for a cheaper “couples” membership? I really don’t have answers. I struggle with this.

  20. see i refer to my “boyfriend” as my partner…. we’re not married and were once engaged but decided not to marry. we have one child who’s one and one child who’s on the way…. when anyone refers to him as my husband i snap at them, which i guess is kind of funny and strange since we are in a committed relationship but i feel we don’t need to call each other anything because we’re comfortable with us it’s just other people aren’t and i have to explain what we are to people who well just don’t get it

  21. My fiance is my husband in everything except government paper work, so I prefer to just call him my husband, as he wouldn’t have proposed unless he wanted to be my husband. Fiance is such a horrible in between word to me, and it annoys me that just because we don’t want to pay $500 bucks to have the government make our marriage official, that I’m apparently not allowed to call him my husband. So many people have said “he’s not your husband yet!”, but what’s going to change between us once we do get round to filling out the damn paperwork? Nothing (other than that we will both use it as an excuse to change our surname – he’s meeting me halfway so we both will change our surnames to a name that fits our vision for our new family). (Also in Australia, there’s no legal problems or health insurance issues with not having your marriage government registered as one.)
    And I’m sick of being looked at as desperate because I want to wear the wedding band now, not wait until we can be bothered to pay for the government to acknowledge our relationship status (he too has talked about buying a wedding band because his friends don’t seem to realise that engagement to us is an unofficial marriage.

    Also, for the record, we are actually in an open relationship, but still he is my lifelong best friend, my ally, the person who’s always going to try to see the best in me, the person who is going to be more special to me than anyone else. (Our open relationship is pretty monogamous just by circumstance, as it is rare to meet people who are ok with being a secondary fling rather than a primary relationship (and good for them), but at least I don’t feel like I’m holding him back from opportunities if any came across his path. Also as some people have pointed out, being open doesn’t mean being indiscriminate (just because I can experience something new with someone else doesn’t automatically mean I’m interested in doing that).

  22. I’ve been with my “boyfriend” over three years and I really do hate that word at this point, I usually call him my person. “This is so and so and he is my person.”

    To me calling someone my person, means I go to them first,they are the person I tell everything to, we have each others backs no matter what horrible thing might happen, and basically they are my team, a team of two. … I can’t imagine a life without having my person.

    He calls me the same, but usually not as an introduction. As an introduction he say’s “this is my Laura” but his mom refers to me like that too.

  23. I typically refer to my SO as ‘my partner’ or ‘the husband’. We are not legally married (and we may never be), but the thought of calling him my ‘boyfriend’ is a little irritating. We are still relatively young (mid-late 20s), but have been living together for years longer than many of my friends and their legally-certified husbands/wives have even been together. But with that, upon hearing the word ‘husband’ a lot of people gush, Oh! When did you get married?! And when I state that we haven’t had a legal cerimony, their face drops and they say something like, Oh, so he’s really your “boyfriend”, as if I just had never heard that word before and was mistakingly employing the wrong noun. I realize that a lot of individuals don’t have the same liberal orientation towards these things, but I always find myself upset that my relationship is trivialized to that of a common boyfriend-girlfriend fling. I wear a ring (more to deter unwanted attention) and we have stated our commitment in front of family and friends, but it upsets me that individuals we hardly know don’t acknowledge the seriousness of our relationship because we haven’t had it legally registered.

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