Boyfriend? Lover? Partner? Dude I’m Dating?
I am 46 years old and I have a boyfriend, which is ridiculous. Not ridiculous I am in a relationship, but that he is my “boyfriend”. By definition a boyfriend is a frequent or regular male companion in a romantic or sexual relationship. That sounds like a grown up thing, but the label sounds very young and frankly, silly.
Calling him my “lover” seems weird. I am not going to introduce him to people as my lover. It seems almost vulgar. At my age it is a given that I am having sex with him, but still, I don't need to announce it. Plus, the implication could be that we are lovers and nothing else. Lover is not an appropriate label for him.
I could go with “partner”, but that sounds more like business than love. He is certainly my partner, but this is not a deal or a dance, so partner is cold. I asked my son what another name for boyfriend was and he suggested, “Dude I'm dating”. Really? Labels in relationships are important but at my age, also lame. Is he the dude I'm dating? We are not even dating really. The courtship is over and we are actually in a relationship, not deciding if we want one. He is more than a boyfriend, more than a lover, more than a partner, and more than simply the dude I am dating. Who is this man, what do I call him, and does it matter?
I feel weird calling him my boyfriend yet he calls me his girlfriend. He actually takes pride in the label, tells everyone I am his girlfriend, and he is 53 years old. Is it different for men? Is it just women who care about placing labels on relationships? Is it about women always wanting something more? By women of course I mean me. Do I want more? I honestly don’t know and certainly don’t want to make this about something deep and complicated because its not. This is about me not being a teenager and therefore not wanting to call the man I share my life with my boyfriend. It is just that simple.
My son is about to turn 17. He and his friends have girlfriends and boyfriends. How is it that a relationship for teenagers is labeled the same way as it is for people in the 40’s, 50’s and beyond? Don’t even get me started on the fact that my boyfriend is taking me home to meet his parents. Oy Vey people! Maybe that is the issue! Am I freaking out because after years of being alone, I have a boyfriend, who I love very much, and he is taking me home to meet his family? Might I feel that having a boyfriend is for teenagers because the emotions of having a boyfriend are making me feel like a teenager?
The truth is I am more nervous about meeting his mother than I was about meeting his kids. Dear Lord, I am a teenager. I am giddy about this man and that has turned me into a teenager. Love as a teenager was horrible the first time around and here I am going through it again. Dear God give me strength. I am leaving for London in 7 days. The Englishman, his two daughters, my son, and me, are heading over the pond and I am very happy about it. I know his parents will love my son because he is perfection. I also know they will love me because I love their son. I know these things, but I’m still a little scared.
When a man can make an old woman feel like a teenager, perhaps that is love. I’m not that old, but being 46 and feeling 16 is enough of a jump to qualify me as old. In the end the label I place on the man I love is simply “My Englishman”. That is what he is. He is mine, and I am blessed and proud to say it out loud. A week from now I will be packing for England and stressing about flying. Two weeks from now I will be sitting in his mother’s kitchen having a cup of tea, and stressing about flying home. I am a 46 year old woman with the heart of a 16 year old girl so all I can do is counting my blessing and keep the faith.