I’ve tried referring to Rose as my wife occasionally, but it feels…off. Granted, we’re not married, but mostly because we can’t be, legally. Calling her my “partner” makes me feel like we’re incorporating a business. “Girlfriend” is what we usually use, but it seems inadequate in light of the 12 years we’ve been together. I want to use “wife” in a normal, casual way; but “wife” means both more and less for us than it would for your traditional heterosexual setup.

Laurel Hechanova has articulated the calculus over what word to use in ways that I’ve attempted to but never really completed or bothered to record. Trying to run this calculus on the fly is difficult. Do read. Words mean things.