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Semantics in Relationships

Updated on September 20, 2009
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 Perhaps we can call this a rant rather than an article.  But it has been on my mind a long time and writing has long been a vent for frustrations. 


It starts with my rather patchy social history.  No, lets go farther back.  It starts with me being an only child.  I coveted my friends' siblings.  I coveted before I knew the word, and I went to Catholic school, so I learned that particular word early.  I watched as they squabbled and bickered, and all out brawled, and misted over a romatic golden shroud over it imagining it all to be code for this is happiness, and you aren't part of it. 

Once I entered into the natural disaster called social life, I faltered and stumbled my way through garnishing a few friends along the way.  Those few friends were spectacular.  Still are, over a decade later, some of the best people I know.  With my incredible desire to have the closeness of siblings and my incredible insecurities on the social scene, I saw, I see, my friends as family.  In fact, I have come to believe that friends are the most important relationships I can have. 

Then BAM enter boys.  Okay, its not like I didn't notice boys in high school.  Believe me, I noticed boys.  I imagined fairy tale romances, and as I got older, lustful getaways.  I just never got to live out the fairy tales or getaways.  The very few dates I did have in high school were more like pity set-ups by friends with their brothers, or friends in general.  In the early years of college, I had a few quasi-relationships.  And much more lusting.  Not just lusting of the physical kind, but the covetous kind of lusting for relationships I'd never had.  I stil dreamt of fairy tale relationships and lustful getaways.  The BAM came much later, the BAM came from falling in love.  After, by the way, I stopped believing in the fairy tale love I dreamt of.

So lets step back again.  My parents have been hopelessly in love with eachother for their entire marraige.  They are as vocal and affectionate about loving me as they are about loving each other.  Every time we leave, every time we say good bye, every phone conversation is punctuated with "I love you" and a kiss. Despite knowing with certainty they love eachother, I stopped believing that it was out there, at least for me.  Despite the comfortable sharing of feelings in my family, I also don't necessarily share my feelings indiscrimintely with very many people.

So when I fell in love with a man who wasn't strictly speaking my boyfriend, things got sticky.  He is my closest friend, my partner, and more.  But not my boyfriend.  So here is my problem, my unending frustration.  What word is available for us?

According to the origin of the word friend relates directly to love.  In foreign countries, the words for friends are usually reserved for the most intimite of friendships.  But here we have such a casual flippance of the word, everyone's everyone elses BFF. I have absolutely no desire to become a girlfriend, for him to be my boyfriend, since, I said, friends are the most important relationship a person can have.  To become "girlfirend" seems like a demotion.  To call him my friend seems like a euphamism.  Lover seems either tacky or dramatic. And partner sounds like business or that I'm gay.  Which doesn't really bother me, except it doesn't seem right to use a word that isn't the right word. 

Love is such a complicated emotion that is attached to all the parts of our past.  How we love is often learnt, but sometimes its just part of what we are.  Yet our vocabulary is so limited and structured when it comes to it.  What words do we have?  What words do I have?


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