Mon 17 Aug, 2015 09:53 pm
This is a word of many meanings, but now I keep seeing it as a reference to someone one has had sex with a person once or twice or a bit more.
Sort of a description grab, to me, but is the word changing in meaning?
I have never used to mean "someone one has had sex with... once or twice".
I have always used "partner" to refer to an ongoing long-term, monogamous relationship (when used in the context of a romantic relationship). I think the word evolved as a way to have a single word that could be use for both heterosexual and homosexual stable relationships.
To me"partner" always refers to something long-term and stable.
Me too, but I'm not clear that the word is always taken that way presently. I suppose I should supply quotes, and may, but not now, I'm being lazy. A few a2k posters got me going.
On second thought... I have seen the question "How many sexual partners have you had?" If I were asked that question, I think I would count one night stands in this number. Then again, I like to listen to Dan Savage's stuff. He uses generally uses the word "partner" to refer to a committed relationship.
Maybe it depends on context.
Made me smile, for my own reasons.
Anyway, I get it, now that you you mention it, that the word partner can be used in different ways.
Its evolving. Language is alive.
C'mon, we all know it's LOVE when someone whose name you don't know stares at you once or twice and then brushes past you in a too-narrow hallway on their way to the buffet. Asking advice about talking to that stranger is called a love problem all the time around here.
It's the evolution of language, yes, but it's also to a large extent the cheapening of language. It is wishful thinking, writ large.
Sleep with someone once or twice? Suddenly they are your partner*, a term that used to imply sharing bills and an apartment or at least a dresser drawer in someone's living space. Glance at someone a few times, and feel attracted to them? Suddenly that's love, a term that used to imply exceptionally close feelings, often (though not necessarily) exclusive ones, which were the hallmark of a major change in one's life. I am speaking of romantic love, of course, and not the feelings one has for parents, siblings, etc.
Either way, it's kind of disturbing, but this is a bit like the coopting of what used to be radically hyperbolic terms like 'amazing' and 'incredible' and 'epic' to describe what have turned out to be rather ordinary things. As a result, we end up coining neologisms that are even more stupendous as the linguistics arms race continues to try to describe really good ranch dressing in terms that differ from those used to describe the discovery of life on another planet.
I am loathe to give up on the romantic word 'love', to relegate it to the dustbin of superseded words. What do we replace it with, to indicate the feeling that knocks you on your ear and most people only experience a few times, for real, in their lives?
* Note I am talking about the term 'partner', without adornments, as opposed to 'sex partner', which I agree is a perfectly good usage for someone you've had sex with at least once, possibly even a million times.
Good summary of my thoughts on the matter..
What I like about the term "partner" is that it is egalitarian and reciprocal. You can love someone who doesn't love you, or you can be head over heals in love with someone who only loves you a little. Love is often unbalanced and sometimes unrequited.
The term "partner" means a mutual commitment to make a relationship work in some way that we both agree it should work (as each relationship differs as the two participants agree). There is no one way partnership and no unrequited partnership. If you are my partner, then I am your partner by definition.
The term "love" is a perfectly good word too, I wouldn't want to have a relationship without either of these words.