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Have you ever been in a relationship with a guy, stopped to introduce him to someone, and suddenly felt embarrassed to use a particular title? Before my fiance was my fiance, he was, well my boyfriend. This year we will have been “dating” for seven years. After you’ve reached a certain age, and length of time together, is it weird to still refer to someone as your girlfriend or boyfriend?

older couple

My fiance has a friend in his mid-60’s, when they get together the older gentleman complains about not having a study girlfriend. The notion that someone his age would be longing for a girlfriend caused a bit of confusion. Girlfriend/Boyfriend terms immediately conjures up images of young people haplessly stumbling their way towards life and love. If I were not married at retirement I would be happily looking for a companion, or a fella, but boyfriend? Am I the only one who thinks that is weird?

Despite my hang up over the title, I do get the bigger picture. It’s not about how you refer to someone, it’s about the level of commitment to the relationship that goes beyond providing physical companionship. Perhaps that’s why I struggle with the title issue. After a while, a relationship seems to deserve a title more meaningful than how you referred to that loser you dated back in High School.

Naomi Watts Family

Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts and family

Goldie Hawn, 67, and Kurt Russel, 61, have been together for over 20 years and I can’t imagine nor do I recall anyone referring to them as girlfriend and boyfriend. Liev Schreiber, 45, and Naomi Watts, 44, have been together for several years and have children, much like the newly engaged Brad Pitt, 49, and Angelina Jolie, 37. In many cases the word Partner is often referenced. Yet somehow I fine that particular title cold, as it is used as a business term, and therefore I dislike confusing it with the idea of romantic companionship. Even when married couples refer to themselves as partners, I get the sense they are referring to their shared financial responsibilities and child rearing duties more than anything romantic.

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Oprah Winfrey attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 2011 Governors Awards with Stedman Graham in Hollywood

Oprah and her Stedman

So what do you do when you’re over 40, and in a long term relationship? What do you call your non-husband, but clearly very important and special person in your life? Got any ideas, post comments and share your thoughts.