I got a form the other day that asked me for the names of two emergency contacts. The blanks were followed by boxes labeled spouse, relative, colleague, and friend. First I listed my husband. Then I listed my girlfriend, and I thought, "What box do I check?" I know, I could've just checked friend and moved on, but how would you feel if the person with whom you are in a romantic, committed relationship referred to you as a "friend"? My guess is that you'd be none too thrilled.
In theory, my girlfriend wouldn't care. But in reality, I think it would sting. In fact, I know it would sting. "What is she implying?" she would think. "Is she embarrassed? Not as invested as I? Hiding from me or herself or the person she's filling out that form for?"
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None of the above, I'd have to say.
Just add it the frustration pile, I suppose. Who are you if you don't have a name? And, further, who are you if your name doesn't truly fit? Like jeans that either hang too far or cling too tight, you just don't feel like yourself. The language of relationships is important.
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