5 Reasons 'Boyfriend' Is the Worst Word for Divorcees

boyfriend t-shirtMy good friend who is happily married to her second husband told me of the bright side of divorce when I shared the news that my "I do"s became "I don't"s. She said, "You get to fall in love all over again!" And she's right -- that is good news. She did it and I've never seen her so happy in a relationship before. Love can happen after divorce and it's a beautiful thing ... except for that word that comes along with it.

BOYFRIEND. It's like my nemesis. But there aren't any good alternatives to the word boyfriend so we're stuck with it. Lame. Here's why.


1. It has the word "boy" in it. I don't want a boy. I want a man. But "manfriend" hasn't quite caught on yet. "Lover" might be too naughty. And "partner" sounds like you should say "howdy" a lot.

2. It strokes my insecurity. It takes me back to that feeling I had in eighth grade with a bad haircut, too many pimples and not knowing how to properly cover them up with makeup, and bad kissing. The last thing I want in a boyfriend is a bad kisser. If I called him my "lover," you know he's doing a whole lot right in the kissing department, but then there's that too naughty element.

3. It feels like a demotion. The word "boyfriend" feels juvenile. "Fiance" feels snooty. "Husband" feels accomplished. Anyone can have a boyfriend, but having a husband takes proof of ID, signatures, and witnesses for a marriage to happen. All that work means (or should mean) LOVE. But since marriage ended, you're back to (shudder) boyfriend. It's like you've been left back when all your friends graduated.

4. It feels possessive. After coming out of a marriage, sometimes the last thing you want to feel is like someone else "owns" you. Sometimes you don't even want to feel like you "belong" to anyone but yourself.

5. The minute any woman who is no longer with her husband anymore says she has a boyfriend, the judgments start. Everyone has an opinion on when it's too soon to start dating again after divorce. People say some crazy things to divorcees. To many of them, the word boyfriend gives you a scarlet letter type deal far worse than the word "lover" would conjure. "Partner" is sure sounding a lot better ... and business-y. 

Does the word "boyfriend" bother you?


Image via Graham Stanley/Flickr

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