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Why No One Wants To Use The Word ‘Fiancé’

Our generation is constantly coming up with new ways or redefining romance: from dating apps to polyamorous relationships, young people are turning the age-old rules of love on their head.

And with marriage now a more inclusive institution than it has ever been, it makes sense that young people are changing the labels and archaic language that surrounds it.

Engaged 25-to-34 year olds are increasingly shunning the word "fiancé" (and "fiancée") in favour of the more unassuming "partner", according to Tina Reading, editor of Ultimate Wedding Magazine.

“People don’t like labels any more,” she said. “The word ‘fiancé’ makes a statement and underlines something," The Times reported.

Many people think "fiancé" sounds pretentious, whereas "partner" sounds more laid back and inclusive of people embarking on same-sex marriages, said Rachel Southwood, managing director at Wedding Ideas magazine.

“In a world where it’s OK to have a same-sex partner, ‘partner’ implies it could be male or female — it’s just cooler to be ambiguous,” added Southwood. “Fiancé just sounds a bit pompous, arrogant or posh.”

Anecdotally, we know couples who found it cringeworthy introducing their other half as their "fiancé" but had no qualms using the words "husband" or "wife" once they were married. Could it be the French pronunciation? Or the feeling that it's just "too hetero" (as one editor recently described it)?

Cassia Skurecki, a photo producer who is engaged, compared the word fiancé to "when you go into a restaurant and can’t quite pronounce something on the menu. It’s awkward and foreign and you always hesitate to say it with fear of sounding like you are trying too hard to make sure it sounds authentic,” she told the New York Times.

Others say the word invites unwanted questions about the proposal and the specifics of the wedding. People have written whole essays about their aversion to the word, and a poll by BuzzFeed confirmed "partner" to be the preferred alternative.

Thankfully the "fiancée" quandary is only short-lived for most of us. We might even miss the term when we're stuck with being labelled "husband" or "wife" for years.