SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Increasingly Significant Issue

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 11 18:44:05 UTC 2002

At 5:46 PM +0100 4/11/02, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>It strikes me here that in places where not being married (but
>living/raising families together) is the norm, (UK and Julienne's island)
>'partner' is the default, but in places where marriage is more 'norm' that
>the issue of what to call such people is up in the air.
>Here 'partner' is used for any long-term stable monogamous relationship,
>even in some cases where the people don't live together.  It's the grown-up
>version of 'girlfriend/boyfriend'.
Ah, monogamy--that's another parameter (along with same/opposite sex,
living together/not, married/un-).  In the places Lynne is describing
(UK, Puget Sound), I take it monogamy is still the norm, even if
marriage and heterosexuality aren't.  "Lover" of course is used in
situations of menages a trois (ou plus), or more generally what's now
called polyamory, but again that focuses unnecessarily on the sexual
aspect.  Could "partners" be used in such a context?  "companions"?

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