The F Word (Love & Latkes)


Slight break from wedding planning talk for one small post to discuss something that’s bothered me ever since I got engaged. After that night, suddenly, Oren went from being my boyfriend (a nice, simple, easy title) to my fiance.

Now, there’s obviously nothing wrong with Oren becoming my fiancé — I was thrilled that he wanted that title and could not be more excited that we were engaged.

But, ever since, I’ve felt so weird calling him that. Whenever I say “my fiance” I feel as though I’m bragging in a very snobby way. In fact, sometimes I still consciously call him my boyfriend just to avoid using the word. Other times, I refer to him as Oren to complete strangers who have no idea who this Oren person is. Also, I don’t think I’ll feel this way when I call him my husband, so, what gives?

I’m not alone in these feelings. Our editor who’s engaged says the same and refers to her fiance and “her man” to avoid the word. Also, the awesome Ellie Kemper wrote a hilarious article earlier this year explaining her distaste for the word and saying she would refer to her fiance as “gloob.”

I think it’s high time we come up with a new word. One of my bridesmaids used to refer to her fiance as her “husband-elect,” which I’m a fan of.

Let’s start a campaign now to come up with an improved way to refer to the guy you’re about the marry, who is no longer your boyfriend and not yet your husband.

Thoughts? Should fiancé be replaced? What’s the best replacement word? Gloob? Husband-elect? Something even better?

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  • Sam
    09/14/12 at 02:32

    I went with ‘Beyonce’
    Not a single lady coz he did put a ring on it….

  • Chica
    09/14/12 at 06:42

    Totally using it.

  • 09/14/12 at 02:35

    Agreed! I still say boyfriend… and I’ve had friends and co-workers correct me. It leaves a distaste in my mouth. I am a fan of husband-elect though :)

  • ehm
    09/14/12 at 02:40

    well, there’s always the old-fashioned term of betrothed I have always liked.

  • Kelly
    09/14/12 at 02:54

    I love betrothed! It’s just ridiculous enough.

  • Erikka
    09/26/12 at 10:58

    I got engaged about 3 weeks ago. My fiance and I still think the word is weird. I thought it was just me at first. I love him to pieces otherwise I wouldnt want to marry him. I just dont care for the wording though. I much rather use the word betrothed like above. Ive always been a old – fashioned girl anyway.

  • cesara
    09/14/12 at 02:42

    Honestly, if you think “fiance” sounds snobby I don’t know that “husband-elect” is going to be a great alternative. Personally, I find this article to be a bit silly. You talk about wanting a way to refer to your significant other that is somewhere between “boyfriend” and “husband” but you just don’t like the word that already exists? Even if we did start referring to them by a different term, eventually that term would start to sound just as snobbish and as uppity as you think “fiance” sounds. The issue isn’t that the word itself is snobbish, its that what it represents is easily interpreted as snobbish by many people who aren’t in the same situation, whether they are already married or single, your excitement of getting married is always going to be greater than their excitement for you, and it should! But that time of engagement is a very exciting time in a couples relationship and its very easy to be jealous of that when you witness others experiencing it. The idea is that “fiance” doesn’t simply replace the term “boyfriend”. Boyfriend defines them as your significant other, your “current partner”. “Fiance” not only establishes that but more importantly denotes them as the person you plan on spending your life with. And that’s a big deal!

    I say, embrace calling him your fiance! This is a very specific time in your relationship that you will never have with him again, and you should be proud to refer to him as the man you are going to marry!

  • Melissa
    09/14/12 at 04:05

    I totally agree with you, Cesara!! You said everything I was thinking!
    I do sometimes feel like I’m being pretentous saying “fiancé ,” but only because I feel like it implies, “my relationship is better than yours.” However I only have 11 days left to call him my fiancé, so I’m going to live it up! I love my fiancé! ;)

  • Amanda
    09/14/12 at 03:11

    I, too, sometimes feel silly saying “fiance”, but I like it better than saying boyfriend because Stephen is more than just a boyfriend now. I actually get a little insulted when people call him my boyfriend. For example, right after we got engaged I took on a new job and my manager will still refer to Stephen as my boyfriend. I’m not sure if it is because she has never been engaged, but I found myself correcting her after a while. When she first met Stephen she said “Oh! Your Amanda’s boyfriend!” and he said, “…Fiance. yes.”

    I prefer the word fiance over boyfriend and he is not my husband yet, so I can’t call him that. He’s my husband-to-be. My step-above-a-boyfriend. And now that we’ve moved in together, I feel more comfortable using the word fiance. I do think calling him Beyonce would be funny though..he did put a ring on it.

  • 09/14/12 at 03:14

    We should probably at least update the term to the times and I may not be the one to have a say here since I’m a babyboomer :) but I’ll throw these out there anyway.

    Thinking of web 2.0 and your hubby ‘to be’, what about Oren your 2.0 be? :-/
    Or how about the ‘Promise 1′ and give him a cool avatar?

    It’s funny how Italians (lovers par excellence) use the word fiance’ or ‘fidanzata/o’ much more nonchalantly to mean girlfriend or boyfriend and thus, the road to the wedding day takes a good 10 years on average to travel down!

  • Wasp
    09/14/12 at 03:22

    Agree with Cesara. Is “wife-elect” acceptable then? I’m the first one to say that I don’t like tags, but fiancee (yeah…I’m a guy!) was one that I happily embraced, so too did my bride of 20 years the term fiance.

  • Rachel
    09/14/12 at 03:39

    I am married now, but both my husband and I hated the term fiance too. It just sounds weird (snobbish or not, it is a funny sounding word). It was not that we were ashamed to be engaged—definitely the opposite! It’s just a funny word. And I think a lot of people think it is funny. Husband-elect is okay, but wife-elect just sounds funny. I used to always say “my future husband,” but that gets long after a while :) I’m not sure what the solution is, but I completely agree with the problem!

  • ashley
    09/14/12 at 03:55

    Really cant stand Fiance – feels like I’m trying to be to uppity, we landed on “manfred” he is more thany my boyfriend so he is my man-friend hence manfred… worked!

  • 09/14/12 at 04:04

    My new husband and I dated for almost seven years before we got engaged. Around year 5 when we started living together, the term “boyfriend” did not seem appropriate. He was so much more than that. Boyfriends are dispensible. I knew he was my one and my soul was already married to him.

    I was thrilled to (finally) be able to openly refer to him as my fiance. It’s a term that more accurately reflected my feelings and my intentions about our relationship. I also like the fact that is a term that is used for both members of the relationship, like spouse as opposed to husband or wife. Marriage is an equal partnership. I think fiance is a good term, it just sounds snooty because of the accent mark! ;-)

  • Valentine
    09/14/12 at 04:19

    You think ‘husband-elect’ sounds less snobby than ‘fiance’? I think it’s only as snobby or awkwards as you make it… but that’s just my opinion :)

  • Bri
    09/14/12 at 04:49

    I think the reason people find the word fiance to be snobbish is its French origin. I didn’t like using it when I was engaged and I also feel a little silly ordering sauvignon blanc at a restaurant.

  • Lorrilee
    09/14/12 at 05:12

    I think husband elect sounds silly. And I have never thought someone calling there future husband her fiancée was snobbish! That is who they are. I think if my future husband had a hard time calling me his fiancée I would wonder why he had a hard time with the title. I would wonder if he was having second thoughts. So be proud to call him your fiancée it means you are secure in your relationship!

  • Valentina M.
    09/14/12 at 05:52

    Upon reading this artice, I consulted my trusty thesaurus for some alternative words for “fiancée”. Some of the ones I came across that I think would work:

    “my betrothed, future husband, husband-to-be, my intended, prospective husband, beau, suitor, bridegroom, courter, inamorato, infatuate, paramour, significant other, solicitor, steady, suitor, suppliant, swain, courter, courtesan, intended, prospective spouse…etc”

    I personally think fiancee is special and works just fine, but I think it’s a personal choice and you two should choose what works for you both!”

  • Samantha Roberts
    09/14/12 at 07:52

    Valentina — OMG I love how you came up with a thesaurus! I love the phrases “my intended” and “Suitor” reminds me of old times. Thank you for that :)

  • Missy Gebhardt
    09/16/12 at 02:50

    I agree with a lot of you. Fiance is not snobbish. It has been around for many, many years. It defines what he is. You say fiance and others immediately know that you are engaged to be married. I can’t see anything wrong with that. I’m proud of it and very, very happy to have found the one worthy of the title!

  • 09/19/12 at 11:13

    […] few days ago I read a post about the word fiancé on The Knot. The writer of the post doesn’t like it. Neither do I. It sounds outdated and a bit […]

  • Booga
    05/11/13 at 01:24

    Well i have been engaged for 2 years and at first i was super thrilled to say fiance however as time has passed and we still don’t have a date, i have referred to him as my boyfriend, husband(although not yet true), and my dude or man saying fiance makes people want to get in my business that makes me uncomfortable because of not having plans when i strongly feel that we should. However i really like beau so thanks for that.

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