Relationship experts say using the word partner is vague and smug

The one ‘smug and annoyingly vague’ term you should never use in relationships or the dating world: ‘Just cut it from your vocab’

  • Heterosexual couples should avoid term ‘partner’
  • It has been described as ‘smug, annoyingly vague’ 

People in romantic relationships must avoid calling their other half their ‘partner’ according to experts who claim it comes across as ‘smug and vague’.

According to the relationship experts at The Cut the term should only be used when you are ‘trying to get something out of it’, are a feminist who refuses to marry or are part of the LGBTQI+ community.

The publication’s most recent etiquette guide for ‘friends and lovers’ has banning the term at number ten and stressed it’s rarely okay for straight people to use it.

‘Some examples of when it’s acceptable: when trying to procure an apartment or a seat next to your, ahem, ‘partner’ on an airplane and in negotiations with bosses about relocations.’

The same list calls for people to stop using the ‘voice they talk to their pet in private’ when others are present and claims it’s okay to cancel almost any evening plan before 2pm.

Straight people should never call the person they are in a relationship in their ‘partner’ experts say

While some of the rules of engagement appear so niche they’d rarely be of use, the term partner seems to be popping up everywhere as a term to avoid.

On Reddit people slam the term, putting it alongside the horror ‘significant other’.

‘It sounds weird to me too. I dislike using it. Of course, I’ll use it if that’s what someone wishes to be called, but other than that I like using actual names if I can,’ one man said.


Is ‘partner’ cringe?

  • Yes 33 votes
  • No 53 votes
  • Only when used for traditional couples 3 votes

‘My girlfriend hates girlfriend because she thinks it makes her sound like a teenager – but she is murderous when I use partner because then she sounds old and boring,’ one man laughed.

‘I think partner sucks every bit of passion out of describing the person you love,’ said another.

‘For a long time I always associated ‘partner’ with ‘howdy partner’, like cowboy movies and stuff, or with buddy cop movies, so it sounded so odd to me to hear couples refer to each other as their partner. Though it sounds even weirder to hear ‘significant other’. Like…my gosh, at least partners are equals. But now they’re just an ‘other’?,’ one woman added to the conversation.  

And even people in the queer community, who The Cut claim to be free to use the word, have started to disown it.

One woman said she and her wife hate the ‘business agreement feel’ of the term.

‘For us, when talking about each other in the third person, we refer to each other as ‘my wife,’ or by name. For us, ‘partner’ feels more like a business agreement,’ she said.

But others were willing to defend the ‘useful’ term.

‘What else are we supposed to call them if we aren’t married, and too old to go with something juvenile like lover. I can’t think of a better term than partner,’ one woman said.

The term was popularised by gay couples in the 1980s as they attempted to escape stigmatism and persecution based on their relationships

The term was popularised by gay couples in the 1980s as they attempted to escape stigmatism and persecution based on their relationships

According to LGBTQI educator and coach Dr Sophia Graham the term rose to popularity in the queer community in the 1980s.

She explained at the depth of the AIDS crisis the term was used to by men to show the depth of their relationships, so they would be allowed to see their boyfriend’s in hospital or head to their funerals.

It then became a popular term to avoid stigmatism and persecution across the greater gay community, she told Newscorp.

Before that, while it was used intermittently to describe heterosexuals’ relationships it was more often used to describe people involved in business dealings.   

What terms do people like instead? 

1- Husband, wife

2- The person’s name

3- Girlfriend, boyfriend

4- Lover

5- Significant other 

6- Other half 

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