A Rose by Any Other Name

47 Better Ways to Refer to Your Significant Other Than ‘Boyfriend’ or ‘Girlfriend’

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Couple on grass

When Mickey Rooney passed away at 93 this week, he left behind Margaret O’Brien, the 77-year-old woman he called his “best girl.” I love this. The English language is a strange, beautiful thing — why limit yourself to “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” when talking to a third party about your, well, boyfriend or girlfriend? Here are some far more interesting synonyms.

1. My significant other

Well, it’s certainly a step above “insignificant other.”

2. My SO

If the only thing you love more than your SO is abbrevs. See also: BF, GF.

3. My partner

Gets the point across, but it sounds awfully official. Makes it easy to transition into running a law firm together, though.

4. The missus / the mister

Best used to refer to someone who isn’t technically your wife or your husband, because irony.

5. My wifey

See #4. Works well for both genders.

6. My special someone

Also how your grandmother might address you in a greeting card.

7. My gentleman caller

How very Glass Menagerie of you. Classy, yet vaguely scandalous.

8. My lady friend / my man friend

N.B.: One’s lady friend is not be confused with one’s special lady, at least according to the Dude.

9. My soulmate

The verbal equivalent of staring longingly into each other’s eyes for upwards of one minute in public.

10. My lover

The verbal equivalent of loudly making out for upwards of one minute in public.

11. My main squeeze

Physically squeezing your main squeeze is not necessarily recommended.

12. My slampiece

See also: my fuck buddy.

13. My bottom bitch

See also: my main bitch.

14. The old balls and chain

I am utterly mystified as to why my boyfriend doesn’t think my calling him this is nearly as hilarious as I do.

15. The boy / the girl

Definite articles = srs bsns.

16. My guy / my girl

See #15.  There can only be one.

17. My Beyoncé

The number one reason to ever accept anyone’s marriage proposal is so that you can refer to that person as your Beyoncé.

18. My intended

A charmingly old-timey, charmingly ambiguous choice.

19. My plus-one

He’ll stay by your side throughout the cash-bar wedding that is life.

20. My euphemism

As pioneered by the movie Best in Show: “This is my euphemism, Stefan.”

21. My sweetheart 

As far as you’re concerned, every part of your sweetheart’s anatomy is sweet. See also: my sweetkidneys.

22. My gal pal / my boy toy

Slightly demeaning, sure, but who cares? They rhyme!

23. My arm candy

I get it, but then again, I don’t get it. Why you would store candy on your arm? Let’s make “mouth candy” happen instead.

24. My baby

Minus the diapers and drool.

25. My Yoko

For the record, John and Paul had their own differences and she had virtually nothing to do with it.

26. My better half

I appreciate the somewhat medically alarming suggestion that we are physically conjoined to our better halves.

27. My boo

Like a ghost, but a sexy ghost.

28. My old man / my old lady

To avoid incurring your old man or old lady’s wrath, it’s probably best to use this one while you’re both still really, really young.

29. My young man / my young lady

Creepy, but nice. But creepy.

30. My bb

ilu tho

31. The bae

Too lazy to pronounce the extra letter in “babe?” This is the term of endearment for you.

32. The object of my affection

Self-explanatory.

33. The object of my erection

Like, penises.

34. My swain

A particularly good choice if you’re trying to improve your SAT vocab or working at the Ren Faire.

35. My steady

Works well if you’re a teen in the 1950s.

36. My home skillet

Works well if you’re a preteen in the early 2000s.

37. My Valentine

Just because it isn’t February 14 doesn’t mean the title doesn’t stand.

38. My breezy

Because I am 500 years old, I’ve never heard this term before, but the Internet tells me it’s real. The Internet may be lying.

39. My bun

Cinnamon, honey, or otherwise.

40. My paramour

Especially approps if you’re simultaneously dating everyone in the band Paramore.

41. My true love

I had a wonderful, wacky professor who endearingly referred to her husband this way, but it’s not an easy one to pull off.

42. My beloved

Best reserved for immortal vampires.

43. My honey

Because she’s sweet, and produced by bees.

44. My companion

Because he reminds you of your dog.

45. My beau

Pro tip: the plural is “beaux.”

46. My suitor

If you’re a princess with a sizable dowry.

47. My POSSLQ (Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters)

Easily the most romantic outdated census term from the 1970s.