It is some time since I have noticed that Canadian women- I mean the intellectual, middle-class, earning-as much-or -more-than-their-husbands, generally “strong” sort, refer to their husbands as “partners”.

-My partner said this…

-Oh- that was my partner…

-My partner is an artist…

At first, this confused me. For me, the word “partner” has strong business connotations, and the notion of applying it to matrimonial life freaked me. “My partner and I have two children.” What???!!!

Then I realised that it was a matter of principle. These nice, honourable, hard-working women would rather be caught dead than pronounce the word “husband”. Or “boyfriend”. ‘Husband” is too patriarchal, too oppressive, too old-fashioned. “Boyfriend` is too girly, too non-serious, too ridiculous for a middle-aged, educated, female professional wearing little make-up, expensive organic moisturizer and classic gray clothes.

Which leaves a deep gap in your knowledge base of that person: So are you married to your “partner” or not? You know, actually married? Or are you just living together? I’d really like to know. I need to categorize you as “married” or “not married” in my mind. There’s a void about you, madame partner. The marital status box is left un-ticked.

Men, as usual, are less subtle. No nonsense about about partners. The women don`t have husbands, but the men definitely have wives. I have never heard any man, no matter how highly educated, refer to his `partner` when he is talking about the woman in his lfe.

A wife is a wife is a wife.



  1. I know plenty of men who say partner to describe women they are married to.

    It’s no big deal, really, just simple respect for the love of their life, that’s all.

    sorry, mate, but a partner is a partner is a partner.

  2. thenewcomer

    I stand corrected, mate. Actually, I received an (office) e-mail from a guy who referred to “myself and my partner”. So I should amend that to:
    a wife is sometimes a partner, sometimes a wife…

    But yes, it is a big deal. A HUGE deal in fact. That was the whole point of this post.

  3. سالاد خرچنگ

    Come on really it’s not that big a deal! Why should we care what some retarded people call their retarded partners?! (see, I use “partner” too, cause it’s much more classy n modern than the horrible words “husband” n “wife” which remind me of the prison of committment)
    I also use the word “hubby” when I’m in the mood of making fun of the whole concept.

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