Mr. Veggie and I are in that weird place where we’re not quite sure what to call each other in public. “Boyfriend”/”girlfriend” sounds like he just asked me to the eighth grade dance. And I certainly can’t use our pet names in public. (Immigration: Why are you applying for this visa. Me: My um”¦ lovey… is a full-time student?)

But “fiance” has just never sounded right to us. Plus, if I introduce myself as Mr. Veg’s fiance it inevitably leads to long conversations about wedding planning and proposals and sometimes I just don’t want to get into all that with strangers (that’s why we have the hive, right?).

Luckily here in New Zealand the use of the word “partner” is fairly common, and we’ve taken to using that pretty often. But it does sound pretty formal, and since I have a boyish name can lead to some mild, yet entertaining, confusion.

So, we don’t really have this problem solved, but occasionally if I’m talking to a stranger, who I’ll likely never see again, and Mr. Veggie is out of earshot, I’ll label Mr. Veggie as my “husband”.

I don’t do it very often, but when I do it always makes me smile. I get a little giddy. I feel mischievous. It’s like shaking your Christmas presents to try to figure out what’s inside (which I never do) or skipping ahead to the last page of a novel to find out the ending (which sometimes I do). I get a little embarrassed and look around to see if anyone we know might have overheard my white lie.

But yesterday, when we got to the check-out at the supermarket, each struggling with our overloaded baskets because we definitely weren’t going to buy enough to justify a full shopping cart, I, of course, decided I needed to go back to grab one more thing. Mr. Veg started to unload his 50 kg basket onto the conveyor belt and a woman stepped behind him in the line. I was coming back up the aisle and overheard this tidbit.

Mr. Veggie: “Um excuse me, but my wife just ran to grab one more thing, she’ll be right back.”

Be still my heart. He does it too! I melted.


Do you call each other something other than “Fiance/e”? Why?


Mrs. Veggie

Raglan, New Zealand/Scranton, PA
Wedding Date:
August 2010
Let's Talk About Him (For a Change)
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Rosanna, Guest @ 11:47 am

    It’s a good thing that you’re not like me. I call him Duck in the middle of a party and he learnt to live with it :)

  2. Member
    rawrkitty1022 516 posts, Busy bee @ 11:48 am

    We think fiance sounds weird too! I think we’ve maybe used it in public a few times. But you’re right….boyfriend/girlfriend sounds minimalistic and not quite true, but we aren’t husband/wife yet. And fiance does lead to endless wedding discussions and it just feels weird to say! Where we live people would probably howl with laughter if we said “partner.” We haven’t figured out any good solution to this problem yet lol

  3. Member
    iris rose 11 posts, Newbee @ 11:49 am

    We do exactly the same thing. Fiance just sounds so formal and strange….It just doesn’t sound like us. I’m so glad someone else out there feels the same way. :)

  4. Member
    Joodz 7 posts, Newbee @ 11:59 am

    All my friends get med at me because I use boyfriend or husband. I hate the word Fiance and so I don’t use it. they are getting used to it but we still have our pretend fights about how he’s no longer my boyfriend, or how we aren’t married YET!! LOL I keep telling them how long they have till I will be allowed to use husband forever!

  5. Member
    gill84 731 posts, Busy bee @ 12:05 pm

    I also find fiance/e leads to too many questions – it feels so personal. But it’s also too bad, because now as our time for using it is running short, I’m feeling a little regretful that it will soon be over.

    Sometimes I call him my partner/my significant other, but most of the time I still call him my boyfriend – which actually makes me feel a little bit sad inside (like I’m cheating or something?) when I demote him like that.

    It’s too bad that so many of us feel embarrassed to break out the FI term in public.

  6. Member
    froggy518 268 posts, Helper bee @ 12:08 pm

    Haha! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with this, though there’s really no rhyme or reason to which term I use. I rarely say fiance because it just doesn’t sound right, and then (as you noted) the conversation seems to inevitably shift to weddings. I actually call him my best friend a lot because, well, that’s what he is.

    I love that you overheard him calling you his wife! That’ beyond sweet. :)

  7. Member
    marylizbeth 180 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:11 pm

    Love this post! I do it sometimes too. I agree, it makes me feel excited/sneaky.

  8. Member
    estrella 40 posts, Newbee @ 12:18 pm

    I have trouble getting the word fiance out – it just sounds really old-fashioned and … sorta affected? Like I’m bragging about the wedding? Not sure why I feel this way.

    But boyfriend seems weird, too. Especially when people then find out that we’re engaged. I’ve used partner, but people don’t quite seem to get that here.

    It does feel like skipping ahead in a book!!

  9. Member
    rofmandr 23 posts, Newbee @ 12:21 pm

    I always feel uncomfortable using the word fiance. I like hearing other people say it, I think it’s cute, but whenever I use it, it just feels like I’m trying to be fancy-shmansy. I like boyfriend, but it doesn’t quite describe him properly. I use the word “sambo” – it means something similar to a common-law husband (or wife, since it’s a unisex word). Technically it’s a live-in boyfriend without the negative connotations and with all of the legal rights as a spouse. It works for us, and in Sweden, where we’re living, a lot of times being a sambo is farthest people go.

    But we’ve been practicing calling each other husband and wife. It always makes me giggle, even if it’s just the two of us.

  10. Member
    soon2bS 606 posts, Busy bee @ 12:23 pm

    Both FI & I are guilty of doing this. We’re both getting married for the 2nd time, and since we have 3 kiddos between us, it’s odd to say “this is my fiance”, because people then ask about our divorces, etc. Just so much easier to say husband/wife & avoid all the questions.

  11. Member
    Paperbuttons 44 posts, Newbee @ 12:28 pm

    Ah! I am right there with you, there’s something about “fiance” that feels sorta… I dunno… braggy? I feel awkward saying it, even though it’s the right word. Mr. Paperbuttons likes to say it, but I think that might be because there’s a different reaction to a man talking about his fiancee than a gushing, giggling girl talking about hers. People’s eyes don’t glaze over and the word “groomzilla” doesn’t involuntarily flash across the room.
    I’ll be happy when I get to call him “husband.”

  12. Member
    kjwinter 209 posts, Helper bee @ 12:33 pm

    i was on the phone with our cable company’s customer service and told them they were speaking to MRS. Boyfriend. My man was sitting right there and almost died. HA!

  13. Member
    DollyLava 181 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:44 pm

    Every time I say fiance, someone says “ooohh” like I’m trying to be fancy. For people that know us and know we are getting married, I say boyfriend. For others, I say husband. On the boards, I usually say “my guy”.

  14. Member
    MissHelen 2440 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:00 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of “fiance”. I can’t say why exactly…it’s like my brother and his aversion to the word “smoothie” <— makes him shudder.
    I prefer to say “my intended”. I like the sound and it conveys a much more personal message.

  15. Member
    tea 2414 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:31 pm

    @Rosanna: i call my nephew duck. lol

  16. Member
    libra5979 173 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:33 pm

    We “practice” using “husband” and “wife”, too. I even had to re-apply for my loyalty card at the pet supply place a couple months ago, and practiced by putting my new last name on it. The FI was with me when the cashier called me Mrs. HisLastName, and he loved it.

  17. Member
    QuarterNote 40 posts, Newbee @ 1:43 pm

    Someone called my fiance my husband the other day…I was incredibly giddy over it; it definitely put a smile on my face!

  18. Member
    bohemianbailie 980 posts, Busy bee @ 1:45 pm

    This was the sweetest story!!!! When its just me and him I say husband because I love the way it sounds and he will do it back. He thinks fiancee is weird though because he is Swedish and in Sweden there are seperate words for male and female engaged people.

  19. Member
    beth1125 328 posts, Helper bee @ 1:56 pm

    daaawwww! That’s so cute :-) I know what you mean about not really knowing what to call them. I think the whoe fiance/fiancee thing is weird bc no one really ever does it for that often. I mean, you can have a “boyfriend” for years and years and a husband for even more years but people rarely stay a fiance(e) for long!

  20. Member
    fudge88 58 posts, Worker bee @ 2:24 pm

    That is the greatest story. So cute! My heart would have melted too.
    We have struggled with the “labels” for the past few years that we have been living together. There doesn’t seem to be a good choice. I wonder if other languages has a way to describe have a good way to describe a long-term unmarried relationship?

  21. Member
    KKW 34 posts, Newbee @ 2:48 pm

    That is an adorable story and I love that picture of the 2 of you!

    I am also uncomfortable with fiance in general and stick mostly with boyfriend. I have definitely also used the word husband on occasion!

  22. Member
    jmc 882 posts, Busy bee @ 2:58 pm

    I totally agree. I always felt like anyone older than a 10th grader was too old to say “boyfriend/girlfriend.” And here I am, getting married over 30. I didn’t like “fiance” either because I felt like it sounded like, “Ask me about my wedding!” You’re lucky that “partner” works in NZ. I tried that once and it didn’t sound quite right.

  23. Member
    bluestuff 254 posts, Helper bee @ 3:28 pm

    That is incredibly sweet! I haven’t called him my “husband” to anyone else, but I definitely blush when someone else refers to him as my husband. And he’s just told me that he’s tired of calling me “fiancee” and can’t wait to call me his “wife.” Grin. :)

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Laura, Guest @ 4:04 pm

    I don’t think partner sounds formal – I think it’s a great way to describe it! :) but I think partner has a different sound to it in Australia and new Zealand compared to north America.

  25. Member
    missvintage 571 posts, Busy bee @ 5:13 pm

    I do the same thing! but I also call him my partner.

  26. Member
    maureen9004 2465 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:19 pm

    We didn’t call each other anything while we were engaged or dated. Fiance and boyfriend/girlfriend sounded odd to us as well. We used our names (“Hi Bill.. I’d like to introduce you to Maureen”) or the “he” “she” thing. We use a husband and wife now that we’re married :)

  27. Member
    labrat 468 posts, Helper bee @ 5:47 pm

    We usually just say “sweetheart” or “hunny” but our 94yr old neighbor from the old apartment always refers to future hubby as my “husband” and me as his “wife”… We find it awfully cute of her. =)

  28. Member
    krissybee 3921 posts, Honey bee @ 6:11 pm

    awww, how cute is he??!! we call each other fiancee/fiance…. it was weird to not call each other girlfriend/boyfriend but after a year of being engaged the awkwardness is gone. We laugh about calling each other “husband” and “wife”… it sounds weird to me!! ha! i’m sure that will pass soon after we are married though. (i hope!)

  29. msgiraffe Member
    msgiraffe 4248 posts, Honey bee @ 6:16 pm

    That’ such a sweet story and I’m totally with you, the ‘f’ word never really fit with us either. Sometimes I just call FI my person.

  30. Member
    NC Girl 109 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:37 pm

    Awww… this reminds me of the line from ‘Emma’… “Now I need not call you Mr. Knightley. I may call you *my* Mr. Knightley.”

  31. Member
    ddw 9008 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 8:04 pm

    I started calling J ‘fiance’ way before we were engaged, in exactly the same way! It just felt too … insignificant to call him my boyfriend.

  32. hotwings Member
    hotwings 2200 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:35 pm

    aww.. that’s so cute. Mr. HW calls me fiance. I introduce him as fiance, but I still like to call him boyfriend and novio. It still sounds nice to me. I can’t wait to use hubby though.

  33. Member
    ktisthatbees 1686 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:59 pm

    I certainly don’t see anything wrong with calling him husband at this point ( I mean he will be soon anyways right?). that is supercute that he does it too, I think we as women sometimes forget that guys can worry and fret about this stuff too, they just don’t verbalize it!

  34. trailmix Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 9:18 pm

    Cutest story ever about Mr Veg!!! I feel the same way, saying “fiance” does make me feel like I’m fishing for questions about the wedding, haha…Sometimes I just say boyfriend to avoid it but mostly just call him by name…

  35. Member
    blueeyedgirl11 3 posts, Wannabee @ 9:21 pm

    We are EXACTLY the same. Fiancé just sounds too foreign sometimes. We’re from Australia and have also definitely taken advantage of the ‘partner’ label. Not too long until we actually tie the knot and call each other husband/wife, which sounds weird right now!

  36. Member
    roux 1469 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:38 pm

    I’m Australian and we call each other partner, but we aren’t engaged yet. It’s really common here, boyfriend sounds so high school, lol. Even married people sometimes say partner rather than husband/wife.

  37. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 10:51 pm

    I get you on the ‘too many questions’ part! We both used ‘husband/wife’ too prior to marriage with random ppl 😛

  38. Member
    redbullfanatic 489 posts, Helper bee @ 11:08 pm

    Ooooh we feel the exact same way! I feel like I should talk with a British accent when I say fiance or something. I stick with “the boyfriend” but all my friends call him my husband or me his wife and have already taken the liberty of changing my last name to his on cards, invites etc. It’s cool :)

  39. Guest Icon Guest
    cata, Guest @ 12:24 am

    That is so sweet!!!!!

  40. Member
    eileen marie 1644 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:42 am

    Awww. I used to say husband occasionally to “simplify” things before we were engaged-more like wishful thinking. Husband is much easier. I never liked fiance (reminds me of Seinfeld-“Maybe the dingo ate your baby.”) We kinda just said bf & gf occasionally peppered with FI. I only say husband if the person doesn’t know him. Plus, now we can buy cards that say “To my huband/wife…”

  41. Member
    littlemissmoo 3006 posts, Sugar bee @ 7:30 am

    I just worked with a woman who always called Mr Moo “Miss Moo’s husband”. I never corrected her, it made me smile every time :)

  42. Member
    sapphirebride 1748 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:51 am

    I was pretty excited to be able to call my boyfriend my fiance. It’s not the easiest word to have roll off of the tongue but it’s an improvement in the eighth-grade dance department. I agree though, that husband will flow much more easily.

  43. Member
    CuppinKeix 231 posts, Helper bee @ 3:30 pm

    I do feel a little bit snobbish calling him ‘fiance’ sometimes, but once I introduce him to someone as my fiance, if the person refers to them as my boyfriend, I get a bit upset- one woman I work with calls him my boyfriend all the time, even though I’ve made sure to say fiance around her several times! :/

  44. Member
    AmberWaves 326 posts, Helper bee @ 10:03 am

    For me it’s whatever comes out first. I don’t tend to refer to the fiance as my husband, but if someone else does I don’t correct them. :)

  45. Member
    alivoo01 2625 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:11 pm

    Awwww…. my FI and I call each other husband/wife also occasionally depending on the situation. We’re in route to get married so why not right? Love it!

  46. Guest Icon Guest
    Kay, Guest @ 2:47 pm

    We are both pretty informal, and so fiance sounds funny to us as well. I started referring to him as “the dude I’m getting hitched to”, since it made people laugh, which is more my style.

  47. argyle Member
    argyle 2519 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:51 am

    That is too sweet. We use fiance/e occasionally.

  48. Member
    dominodeer 88 posts, Worker bee @ 10:01 pm

    My boyfriend bought a new car last Xmas. Before he bought it we talked at length about it. When we finally went to the dealership, the salesman shook my hand and said “so is this Mrs P? You shpuld be thankful to her for letting you buy this car,” to my boyfriend. My bf just laughed and said, ” not yet but will soon be hopefully, and yes i am very thankful.”

    Me? I just melted. He always blushes when someone calls me his wife or ask, ” y’all married?”

    We are engaged but i still refer to him as my boyfriend. Old habits die hard!

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