Can an Old Man be Called a Boyfriend?

Dear Doctor Becky,

I am 50 and I’ve been dating a 57-year-old man for two months who absolutely refuses to be introduced as my BOYfriend. Also, he dislikes the terms dating and going steady for people our age,  saying the terms are juvenile. My question is, are there terms along these same lines that are more appropriate for the “older folk?”


Not that old … yet.

Dear Not Old Yet,

Sounds like your beau has one of two problems … either he isn’t as committed to the relationship as you are or want him to be, and, therefore, cringes at the thought of being described as your boyfriend, OR  he truly believes there are a set of terms for the more mature set that describe dating and commitment.

If he falls into the first category, I urge you to not waste your time and to find a more suitable gentleman who cherishes you and feels lucky to have you in his life … and trust me, there are oodles out there who will.  You can tell who these guys are, because they will want to buy billboards and announce to the world via bullhorns and neon lights that they are your beau and yours alone. Most of these guys don’t care what term you use to describe your commitment, they just want you to use it. Life is truly too short to waste your time on a person who is not enthusiastic about you as his partner – don’t settle for less.

If he fall into the second category, then I wonder why words and terms are so important? Does it really matter if he is described as a boy or man friend?  If he embraces the relationship, then why not loosen up and accept a fun term such as BOYfriend or going steady?  Is it that he is nurturing a shallow sort of ego and cares about maintaining a suave and sophisticated public image?

In the end, if he wants to call his dedication to you a red three-sided horse’s hoof,  and refer to himself as your old man friend, paramour, Super Gramps, or Daddy-O, and what you’re doing together as going out, seeing each other, hanging out, or romantically involved, it’s less about the words than what the commitment is. I suggest you both sit down and come up with mutually acceptable words and phrasing and leave it at that.

Doctor Becky

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