How to Talk about Ex-Relationships (Exploring Language and Social Labeling)

I was driving in the city of Toronto with a friend the other day. He pointed out a street and said, "that is where my ex-wife use to live." I don't know why, but for some reason in my awareness that day, the term "ex-wife" felt slightly harsh. 

The English language can be funny, in several ways. Sometimes we can say certain things as a culture, without thinking of the hidden messages or origins of the terms or phrases.

I like to think of language as a form of "spell-casting."

Language shapes our realities and leads our lives as we know them. The fun part of it all is that the more intentional we can be with the language we use, the more closely our lives match suit. 

To me the act of adding an "x" feels like you are crossing something out - discarding or disregarding. Though this is is not true in all cases, adding that "ex" for "ex-wife" seems like an almost socially implied sad ending. In my friend's case, he still has a current friendship with his ex-wife; she is the mother of his child.

When speaking with my friend that the word seemed to stand out in a more negatively-lit way, he agreed that it did not feel current. Before this car ride, we had not considered the energetic tone of this social label, and it was interesting that he noticed that it didn't match the current energetic status of their relationship.

So if not "ex-wife," than what?

We thought about it...and came up with "Previous Partner." Ahhhhhh, that felt better!

This got me thinking about other terms of endearment and labels that we use in relationships.

When we refer to someone we are dating, we use the term "boyfriend" or "girlfriend." When you think about it...after high school, we aren't really dating boys or girls anymore. Aren't we adults?

Updating and upgrading what we call our significant others to match the uniqueness of our relationships and where we are at, empowers us to carry that energy within our relationship and throughout our lives. It may be time to stop dating "boys"? ;)

I like to call my partner my "Co-Adventurer." Even though we are married, I use this term of endearment to subliminally let others know (and the Universe) that this is my partner, and my life is a radical adventure with him. 

My friend who I was driving with, calls his current partner his "Cosmic Journey Partner." I have another friend that uses the term, "lover."

I love that – it's a very playful practice to use language in this kind of way!

I understand that words no not have inherent meaning, and that we are the ones that get to create the meaning behind words. I also understand that many may not consider or care what others think and may not feel the need to justify their private relations through language.

I can respect that, however one of my passions and purpose in life is to challenge the status quo. We are the creators and manifestors of our lives and we get to choose our own adventure. I truly believe that our unique adventures start with the language that we use. It affects us consciously, subconsciously and socially, there's no getting around that. 

The only question that remains is, do we want to use that to our advantage?

Have fun out there!

Posted on December 27, 2017 .