I Need Some Help…New Territory.

Okay blog readers…I need some help. I’m on new ground and have no idea what terminology I am supposed to be using in my life.

For starters, last week Jerry (If you missed the blog post, I am dating a guy named Jerry. You can read about it HERE) and I went to two graduation parties. One was for my family…one was for his family. The events were on the same day.

We went to the graduation party of my side of the family first. I introduced Jerry to my brother and said, “This is my boyfriend Jerry.” After thinking about what I said, that seemed so weird. When I think of the word boyfriend, that sounds like I’m 16 and flighty. If you haven’t guessed it, I’m pretty serious about Jerry, and the word “boyfriend” seems so trivial and not a good fit.

I talked about this with Jerry as we made the 90 minute drive from my party to his party.

Jerry thought the term “significant other” sounded better. I do think it sounds better. But somehow I didn’t know if that was the word I really wanted. We discussed the word “partner” but didn’t know if we liked that.

Later I was talking to my daughter Kalissa and her husband Craig. Craig said “When I talk to anyone about Jerry, I can him your suitor.” Hmm. That was okay but sounds a little old-fashioned. Then I asked well what does that make me, the female. Apparently, the female word is suitress. Hmm.

We tried out the word “friend”. That sounded too simple.

Then Kalissa was saying that she knew a guy in the nursing home and he called the woman he dated his “Lady Friend”. Hmmm. So what would that make Jerry to me, “my Guy Friend:? UGH. That sounds a little weird.

Well…I’m not sure what a good word would be for people who are adults who are dating…(I actually don’t love the word dating either)

So blog readers…can you help me decided what I should refer to Jerry as? My suitor, my boyfriend, my significant other?? Is there a better term than “dating” or “seeing someone”?

While I was talking to Kalissa I also asked her what is the term for a husband who has passed away. For the life of me I couldn’t come up with what to refer to Kramer as…not my first husband because we didn’t divorce, not my husband because I’m with Jerry now…After some frustration, we remembered the word late…he is my late husband. I don’t love the word “late husband” but I can live with that one and the term is pretty universal.

Oh my word. This terminology is messing with me.

Any help you can give me to guide me through the terminology of dating and being widowed would greatly be appreciated. Please leave a comment and let me know your suggestion to guide me through this maze.

I’d like a more serious word than “dating”.
I’d like to know what to call Jerry besides “boyfriend” and what he should call me.
I’d like to know a good word on how to address my husband who has passed away still giving him dignity in my life but also acknowledging Jerry.

Whew…what a mess. This is all new territory for me.

110 thoughts on “I Need Some Help…New Territory.”

    1. Maybe if you just say ‘this is my guy, Jerry’ and he says ‘this is my gal, Jo’? I dunno but at this stage in life, I don’t think I’d be calling anyone my boyfriend..sounds like high school/college. And late husband is exactly how I’d refer to mine..he’s been gone 12 years yet it feels like forever.

      1. Beryl in Owatonna

        I would say this is my friend, Jerry…he can say the same about you…my friend, Jo. I have never been married, I’m 81.. this how I would introduce someone. That’s all that needs to be said. Kramer is your late husband, most of your friends know that. Enjoy each other! I’m happy for you!

    2. How about your “Plus 1?” I agree we are a little past “boyfriend,” and partner seems more permanent. Or just “Friend” Jerry.
      Folks who know you will understand, and thise who don’t, don’t need to know!

    1. I like Gentleman
      Or Gentleman friend. Lady friend
      I also think ‘my guy’ ‘my gal’ is would work well.
      Maybe some day he can be your POSSLQ.
      There was a poem for that in the early 80’s, lol

  1. Karen Stewart

    My sister is in the same situation that you are. I’m never sure how to refer to Jack when talking about them. You’re right, boyfriend just doesn’t sound right. I’m anxious to see the suggestions.

  2. This is interesting! I guess it depends on the length and depth of the relationship. My adult children called the people they were dating boyfriend/girlfriend. They didn’t move on to significant other until they had moved in together. Partner came even later until they were married. What a quandary.

    1. I’ve been with mine for 6 years and call him partner (we’re in our 60s). I was also widowed and this relationship is different than my marriage.

  3. Significant other and partner make it sound like you’re living together. You could just introduce him as Jerry and people should be able to tell by how you interact with each other (hold hands, arm around each other, etc.)

  4. Cynthia from Nebraska

    Not an answer, but…
    My husband and I were in Urbandale today bringing items to the Antiques Roadshow (FYI, we’re keeping the day jobs). We were talking to one of the volunteers and at some point he said he was from…Cresco. And of course I knew where that was due to your blog! So we talked about that and he knew who the quilters were. He said it’s a REALLY SMALL town and he knew Sandra, too.

    1. Beryl in Owatonna

      I would say this is my friend, Jerry…he can say the same about you…my friend, Jo. I have never been married, I’m 81.. this how I would introduce someone. That’s all that needs to be said. Kramer is your late husband, most of your friends know that. Enjoy each other! I’m happy for you!

  5. I agree with Beth. Introduce him as Jerry, no need to put a label on it. But if you feel you must, Sherrill’s idea (my guy, Jerry) seems more like the kind of language a farm gal from Iowa would use. So many of the other suggestions are either too wordy or seem to old-fashioned or formal. Hope you find a solution that works for you.

    1. Am going with a man, have been for about two years. We were at his family reunion this past weekend and he introduced me as his “friend”. By the time it was over, everyone knew I was probably more than a friend and the family members embraced me like one of the family. I have introduced him as Gary Last name and let whoever form their opinion of what the relationship is.
      My deceased husband is what I have heard over the years.

  6. Ha ha, wow, I get all this. I do call the guy I’m dating my “boyfriend” or “guy friend”. Like you, it’s hard to come up with a better term! He’s the widower, so “late wife” is what I call her. And that’s a whole other story too, dating a widower. I find it challenging! Part of that’s him, part of that’s me. Ooh, life, it’s complicated!!

  7. My sweetheart?
    I’d go with “This is Jerry, the man I’m seeing/dating” or just ‘This is Jerry’. I wouldn’t use partner because that implies to me that you are living together and sharing finances (at least a little)

    1. Stephani in N. TX

      How about my “good friend” Jerry and leave further status up to those you greet. In a small circle of friends or a small town, they are likely to know already.

    2. I was friends with my husband since I was 11 years old so after I was widowed and started seeing him, i introduced him as ‘my friend xxx’. I use the terms ‘my deceased husband’ and ‘my late husband’.

  8. My Partner/significant other etc etc and I have been together for 27 years. It’s still confusing what to call him. Sometimes I just refer to him as my husband. I think just introducing him as Jerry is good. If someone wants more info they can ask. Side note: always hate it in obituaries when they call the deceased’s significant other “special friend”.

  9. Jo,
    He’s your fella! You’re his gal. You two are keeping company.
    I think it’s great! God bless you and Jerry and your family. ❤️

  10. Sherry Hawbecker

    How does “my main squeeze” feel to you? That has been a term of endearment in our family for generations.

  11. I would just go with introducing him as “Jerry” or “my friend, Jerry”. I don’t see why you need to explain anything further as those close to you will figure it out and those not close to you probably don’t or shouldn’t care. Kramer could be your “late” or “deceased” husband but I don’t see anything wrong with still calling him your husband unless you remarry for the same reasons above.

  12. My thought is to use “special friend.” It is simple, doesn’t specify male or female – just special. Or just friend. Nobody needs to know anything else about your relationship.

  13. Dorothy LeFevre

    I agree with Nancy. Introduce him as Jerry. Not everything needs a label. If someone wants to ask questions about your relationship just tell them you’ve been seeing each other.

  14. I agree that there need not be a label… “This is Jerry.” or companion is also nice if you need an adjective. Or steady companion.

    1. I have been trying to figure out what to call my late husband for 17 years…. It is confusing to others and uncomfortable for me when I refer to him by his name or say my husband….but that is what I have done. I have heard dearly departed and thought that was nice. I have had a couple boyfriends in the past 12 years and boyfriend seemed a little awkward. In the future if I date again I think I will use sweetheart. I am glad to hear of your happiness with your new relationship.

  15. I’m 10y older than you. I’d call him ‘my sweetie pie’. ;-) Hub would tell you I’m a goofball. But, Jerry is sweet to you and you, girl, are sweet on him!

    Kramer will always be your husband and I think you’re the only one who can decide how to reference him. I still have my hub but I’d say it depends on your audience. Those who know you know Kramer, so it seems a matter of defining the difference between Kramer and Jerry? “The kids Dad” doesn’t require additional discussion with strangers…..does that feel okay? Ask your kids? How do they speak of Dad, speak of Jerry ???

    I know I’m no help. Only more questions ;-)

  16. I thinking a simple “This is Jerry” is perfect. The look on your face probably tells the rest of the story. So happy for you, Jo!

    1. Being the no label person i am , I would just introduce him by his name and let others figure it out.

  17. you could use paramour, but that would indicate that you are uh sleeping together and that’s just TMI…. I’d just introduce him as “Jerry”, and if some other indicator of relationship is needed, tell them he’s a friend of your Daughters…. let them work it out.

  18. Call him Jerry. I think your friends and his will be able to tell what you two mean to each other by your interactions. Looks and actions say it all. The best to you and Jerry, makes my heart happy that you have that dear man in your life and that he has you too!!!!!

  19. Kris in Naperville

    You could introduce him as “my” Jerry… Hi, I’d like to introduce you to my Jerry.

    That seems to imply you are more than just acquaintances/friends… a bit more serious….

  20. Marianne Wells

    Maybe “new partner” or “companion” or “dear friend”? Interesting how we like to label people and how those terms have changed over the years.

    I agree with another commenter that folks just need to look at your face when you do introductions and they’ll know how special Jerry is to you.

    1. I would say “gentleman friend” who you are in a relationship with. Or just simply, as others said, your friend and let people figure out out. Unfortunately “late husband” is the most succinct term for Kramer.

  21. I think you could introduce him as your friend Jerry and let everyone figure it out from there. You could call him a special friend but that’s up to you. Kramer is your late husband or the kids’ dad or some other term if you’d be more comfortable. I’m so glad you and Jerry are enjoying each others company!

  22. Refer to Jerry as your friend and your first husband as either your late or first husband. There’s no need to assign a specific title. People will observe how you interact and figure it out.

  23. After dating for some time , I would introduce him as
    my ‘Special Friend’…He liked that , and referred me to his friends as such also ….

  24. This has been an interesting discussion. I am sure there is no right or wrong, just what you feel comfortable with. When you introduce Jerry, people will realize very quickly that you are keeping company.

  25. OK. I debated a lot about whether to chime in on this discussion or not. I decided to add to it from a totally different perspective. Why do you need to label Jerry??? You know who he is and what he means to you. Others will soon grasp who he is by the way you two interact with each other. Years ago everyone was either male or female. Now we have all kinds of designations. We all just need to accept each other and do our best to enjoy life. Besides the two of you will have some wonderful, fun moments to share as others stumble around as to who you are and what your relationship is. As long as the two of you know and love each other, the rest will eventually fall into place.

  26. At this point in life, my friends refer to their companions as gentleman friend, partner in crime, or just friend. Anyone that matters in your life will figure it out and those that don’t matter, won’t care.

    1. That is exactly what I was going to say! “My dear friend, Jerry” and “my late husband, Kramer.” I also like the previously suggested “fella” and “hunny” for informal situations.

  27. I ser nothing wrong with boyfriend as a title, however, if you don’t care for it it’s best to change to something different. He isn’t your man yet as you’re not living together or married, you’re spending time together. So you are seeing one another exclusively so how about companion as that’s what you are to one another at this point and hopefully for a long time!

  28. It’s good you are talking to each other about these things. I like just using your names. The rest speaks for itself.

  29. I’d like to introduce you to my best friend ,Jerry.Or you could say”my very best friend,Jerry” If someone asks for more information, you could say we are dating (as it is the word used these days) , or “just like I just told you, we are best friends.
    My late husband, my children”s father

  30. Barbara Firesheets

    I like the term Companion. It can be used to refer to you as well as Jerry. You spend time together, attend functions together, and enjoy each other’s company and companionship. We know a couple who dine out and go places together but maintain their own households and it works for them. If you want a chuckle to break the ice, you could always introduce him as “my hot date, Jerry. —

  31. “This is my special friend Jerry” People will get it. There is nothing wrong with boyfriend/girlfriend no matter the age. It’s a descriptor word not gender/age related.

  32. Just find (and use) a term that’s comfortable to both of you. I wouldn’t concern myself how it sounds to others. By now, most have heard you both have someone new in your life.

  33. I’d just say “Jerry”, or “my friend Jerry” – no further explanation needed!
    When I was dating my now-husband of 40 years, I introduced him as my friend. After my first marriage ended in a rather bitter divorce, I had no thoughts of getting married again and figured we’d just be friends – I guess I was wrong! LOL!

  34. I think good friend, Jerry implies that he is more than a friend. Partner or significant other to me means your living together. I like late husband or deceased husband, that tells me he passed away and you didn’t divorce.

  35. I think that boyfriend or friend is fine for Jerry. I think late husband or my first love for Kramer. There is no necessity to define the relationship- but when I hear significant other or partner, I think living together and/or sleeping together and that is nobody’s business.

  36. Beryl in Owatonna

    I would say this is my friend, Jerry…he can say the same about you…my friend, Jo. I have never been married, I’m 81.. this how I would introduce someone. That’s all that needs to be said. Kramer is your late husband, most of your friends know that. Enjoy each other! I’m happy for you!


    I like companion, but I also really like beau which is a lovely old fashion term which makes it perfectly evident that you are dating and works for any age.

  38. Shirley from Calmar

    I would just use “Jerry” or “my friend, Jerry”. Those that “need” to know more, probably already know or will ask you. If they don’t “need” more, you can reiterate “friend” tell them as little or as much as you wish. Those that think they know everything or want to know more, whisper between themselves. Stay away from that bunch. Someone else will hopefully put them in their place.
    I stumble on what to say for my husband. I generally refer to him by name. Again, those that need to know, know already. If it is a group of mixed friends, I fall back to late husband. Remember your best advice and “be you”.

  39. Not sure what to call your late husband other than late husband but as for Jerry, what do you think of “love interest” or “sweetheart” or “my beau”?

  40. Lace Faerie aka Karen L

    My auntie calls her gentleman her Beau and referred to her son’s live-in girlfriend as his Lady Love until they married.

  41. Carolyn in Illinois

    I’m 76 and in my circle of friends, we still say boyfriend or girlfriend . I guess that’s what we grew up with. As others have said, just introduce him as my friend, or maybe special friend. Everyone will pick up on it soon enough.

  42. I have a friend who refers to her long-time boyfriend as “my gentleman friend.” I like it because it makes the situation clear. And “my late husband” is just fine.

  43. Your English professor reader feels obligated to point out how engaging the discussion becomes as you ask about words, or what we call labels. Words are mighty powerful.
    I’m voting for the suggestion to preface Jerry’s name with “my.” That is simple, subtle, and strong. Call him “my Jerry.” Say “I’d like you to meet my Jerry.” The absence of other terms will give poignancy to the implied relationship without suggesting immature or inappropriate ideas.

  44. I’ve always admired the way a friend of mine introduced us to her now husband and thought if I was in the same situation I would handle it like her. She just introduced him as “this is my friend Pat. We all knew he was a boy and we knew he was more than just an every day friend. I’m so happy you and Jerry have found each other.

  45. I used “gentleman friend” with a wink and a smile. Also “my great friend” or “my friend” as a substitute. Any more than that is too much information. No one needs to know your situation-ship but the two of you. Also, your dear husband will always be “my late husband” and you are his “widow.” You and Jerry are “seeing each other,” and not “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” who are “dating.” And remember, too, that you are not one of the “girls” — it’s time to refer to yourself as a woman, so we can hear you roar.

  46. Diane in Nebraska

    Well we have all kinds of advice here, makes me chuckle. I am a bit of a rebel and spunky so I would introduce him as Jerry, my friend with benefits. Watching people’s reactions is
    Priceless! Don’t overthink things labels are too constricting. You are friends enjoying each other’s company. Have fun I am happy for you both!

  47. I agree with Ray. This is my friend Jerry. I’d like for you to meet my friend Jerry.
    Enough said, don’t know why your late husband has to be mentioned. No disrespect to him but this is your new life! Live it like there’s now tomorrow and who cares, you are not doing anything wrong so stop feeling guilty. Not many people get a “second chance” at happiness, live it. Blessings to you and “him”.

  48. What Beryl in Owatana said is what sounds the best to me. He is “your friend” and no more explanation is needed as they will put two and two together. Your friends all know that Kramer has passed away so there should be no need to explain. Good luck with whatever you decide on! And contrast for having “a friend’ in your life!!

  49. Karen Hamilton

    I’ve been in your shoes. I was widowed in 2015 at age 53. I started dating a man, we eventually moved in together. We aren’t together anymore (which is neither here nor there). I too, felt like a high schooler when using the term boyfriend. My son introduced him to someone as my partner. That seemed to be the word I liked the best. My son and his girlfriend use the word partner and it works for them.

  50. Given how much time he’s cut into your quilting & needlework time, what about calling him your distraction? KIDDING!!

    Seriously, as others said, I’d refer to Jerry by name or Friend, and let others figure out the relationship. Significant Other or Partner seems to imply living together, or at least marriage has been discussed. At least I don’ t think things have gotten that far between the 2 of you…yet.

    1. You could say my favorite distraction when you needed a playful cheery term paired with a big smile or wink.

  51. Instead of dating, say you’re in a relationship. My friend Jerry has my preference with my Jerry as a close second.

  52. I skimmed a few of these comments and I agree with “close friend.” Or “good friend.” Anybody who knows you well enough knows your relationship. And those who don’t can ask if they are bold enough! And some of the terms sound like you’re living together.

  53. My very dear friend is 70, a widow for many years, and has been “dating” a man for two years. She is very proper LOL and calls him her GF (for Gentleman Friend). They have no intention of marrying due to the laws of their home state regarding wills and property distribution and whatnot, as they both have children and grandchildren. Once the initial awkwardness passes, it doesn’t really matter. When she is with friends who have already been formally introduced, she just says “My Jack” instead of anything else.

  54. Carolyn Sands

    How about ‘this is my special friend, Jerry’. I think you’re putting yourself under a lot of pressure. Just say what feels right to you.

  55. Oh! so many opinions. Since you and Jerry have had the discussion and are comfortable with how to introduce one another, the biggest decision has been made. As your relationship moves forward you will become more comfortable with other terms of endearment until he truly becomes your Hunny. Kramer will always be ‘My Kramer’.


  56. How about this is my Jerry or my sweet Jerry. The my indicates more than a friend and the sweet indicates he’s special too you. That’s all anyone needs to know! For Kramer late husband is enough and let’s folks know all they need to know. Just enjoy each other and don’t worry about what others think. As long as you, Jerry and the kids are happy it will show through your actions.

  57. Diane Masschaele

    I like “ my friend Jerry”! Keep it simple. I always refer to my late husband as “ my late husband”!
    You are the best Jo and I’m very happy you and Jerry have found each other. ♥️

  58. Marlene Clausen

    It tickled me to see the reply “my guy, Jerry.” I thought, just call him “My Guy” like the song! As in, “Let me introduce you to Jerry, My Guy.” It would be a bit much to add, “we’re auditioning to be life partners.” Yeah, just stay with “Jerry.” Anyone who knows you will know what you are saying. For anyone else, it really isn’t their business and do not have a “need to know.”

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