Troy died about 18 months ago very suddenly from a heart attack.  This forum has been a great help.

Now that the overwhelming grief has been replaced with different emotions I want to pose a question that I'm never sure how to deal with.

What do I call Troy when talking about him to someone who doesn't know him?  I'm especially talking about a situation where I'm explaining something Troy and I did together or maybe talking about the home we bought and remodeled.

Someone suggested "ex" which I thought was horrible because it insinuates we broke up.  

I find my self saying something stupid like "My partner at the time and I".  But again this just makes it sound like we broke up.  

Even after this long i still love talking about him so I wish there was a way to say it in a way that explains it clearly and allows the other person to ask questions about him.

How do others deal with this?

Views: 934

Replies to This Discussion

My late partner of 28+ years passed in 2012. As she had aortic dissection Type III, that was inoperable, diagnosed four years before her passing, we spent time talking about the future. As I have chronic pain due to a near fatal automobile accident that occurred in 1979, we became accustomed to talking about possible futures without one another. Although I was seven years older, she went first, dying of a heart attack. I remembered our conversations, and, for me, after a year of grieving, I met another woman who had also lost her partner, to suicide, way too young. So, the two of us, both retired, living within 10 minutes of one another, became friends & then we married [which hadn't been possible with my late partner]. I feel twice blessed & remain friends with my late partner's family. I still carry a wonderful document with me that was written by Conan Henry Scott-Holland [1884-1910] that I recommend to all people whose loved ones pass.

As Robert above writes: "...I don't think anything is right or wrong. The story IS what is important."

I often just call him "my late husband" when referring to him or talking about something that we had done together. For me, "late" is a simple way of telling people he died without going into a full explanation of his passing. Most people understand right away, and sometimes I just don't feel like going into details about something that is still painful even four years later.

Robert and Nancy seem far more eloquent that I. Personally i would and do call my deceased partner, "my late partner"just as Nancy did in her opening sentence. but as they  both have said nothing is wrong or write. Each person will call them whatever feels right. Hope this finds you  well! take care!


Though it's only been 3 weeks since he died, I've fallen into the grove of saying 'my late partner', 'my late spouse', or 'my late partner of 36 years'.  It feels like it's not me saying it.

I'm having a lot of trouble with the habit of saying 'we' about almost everything.  In most situations now, 'I' would be more appropriate, but 'we' still sounds more comfortable or perhaps comforting when referring to a past when Danie was still alive.

I suppose it really doesn't matter much...

Dear Michael,

It DOES matter much if you wish to keep happy memories of Danie alive!!! I call my partner of 53 years and spouse of 3 "my Frankie" or "my Love' to all family and friends since that is what I called him to his face while he lived and to all the others then and now. I only used my "late spouse" with strangers!

Steve F

Steve Levin:

There is nothing wrong with referring to him as your "deceased partner". If you were legally wed you can choose to use "deceased or late spouse" or "deceased or late husband; whichever makes you more comfortable. And nothing says you cannnot uise those terms if you were in a long-term reltionship but never formally/legally  married. The important thing to convey is that you are talking about someone you deeply loved and shared your life with who passed and whom you mourn.  Talking about your loved one keeps memories alive so talk about him al you can. I call my beloved my partner of 53 yearsAND my spouse of 3 years as we wed on out 50th anniversary when it becme legal to do so in New York State. My sincerest conmdolences on your loss.

Steve Feldman 

It's been over 2 years for me and it's still an odd thing to have to say - but I realized that you can't say "partner" as then you need to explain that he's deceased.  So it's easier to say late partner - after you're comfortable saying it, fewer and fewer will ask what happened.  If that's not comfortable "former partner" works but it felt less respectful for me.

Hello everyone,

I lost Larry last April 22, and have been learning how to do things alone, or that he always did since we divided chores according to our abilities and talents. I now have to go grocery shopping, and around the 2nd or 3rd trip, something happened that nearly undid me. I walk with a cane, and move rather slowly for fear of falling, not to mantion the unfamiliarity with the isles in the store. I was having a difficult time reaching for toilet tissue packs on the highest shelf, and ended up pulling a few packages down on myself. An elderly woman approached me asking if I was hurt, and I answered "Only my pride, mam - I'm still getting used to this cane and doing the whole grocery thing alone..." She glanced at my wedding ring, patted my hand and said "I understand perfectly, when did you lose your wife?" I froze inside - I hadn't been preparred for this , but took a breath and said "I lost my husband, Larry, in April." In a flash the look on her face went from compassion to disgust - she pulled her hand back, turned around, and walked briskly away. I felt so alone and awful at that moment I started to cry, but then thought no, I am not ashamed of Larry's and my love for one another, and I will not let anybody dismiss us as less married than they are!

I stood as tall as I could, resumed and finished shopping, and to this day say nicely but very clearly "my husband" to anyone who asks - I guess I feel I owe it to Larry to stand tall for both of us - and when met with icy glares or silence I just smile and go on my way.


Unfortunately the 21st century isn't always comfortable for folks, especially older ones such as the elderly woman you encountered.   I found it easier to accommodate them and simply let them think I had a wife - after all, no need for adding to your pain by encounters with people who don't accept our life choices.  You're just at the beginning of your transition - for example, you still wear your wedding ring.  Eventually it becomes something you keep in your jewelry box, or a special place but no longer on your finger.  It is still important but no longer relevant to who you are today.   Regarding items on tall shelves - get yourself one of those grabbers (they're $10-15 and work like a scissors) - I see a lot of people (young and old) with them these days because unless you're 6'+ most of those shelves are too high.   But back to thinking on life differently - why not try PeaPod?  Or your local grocery store may have its own service (a number of ours do) - they'll do the work for you.   And apologies for your loss, it's not easy and its even harder when you're gay; while yes, it does get better, is seems like it takes forever when it happens to you.

Thank you, Richard - I hear you, and hold on to that thought that with time I'll deal with things in a more even-handed way - I guess the thing that really set it all in motion for feeling a bit militant was the fact that I was in the hospital when Larry passed - he was going to come see me that day - and I couldn't actively be part of the planning of his memorial, so it was handled by his family. During the elegy given by some person who had never even met him, my name wasn't mentioned once. The few gay friends of ours who were present and one cousin of mine who was contacted said they were furious and saddened by the removal from his life of an "inconvenient" person. I suppose I'm still bitter about that, but that way lies maddness, so I listen to cooler heads who offer good advice - thanks for being one of those people for me today -

I have been calling him my late spouse...if it's someone I don't know. Otherwise it's just his name...Tony. We weren't legally married (15 years on) but it doesn't change a thing.

Of course, Tony would prefer to be called something random and inappropriate, like "former inmate".

I lost Frank a little over 2 years ago, I refer to him as "my Late partner Frank".

I'm sure that it pretty well explains the current situation.



Latest Conversations

Aaron Caldwell updated their profile
Nov 6
Aaron Caldwell posted a status
"Hoping to connect with other gay/lesbian members who have recently lost a spouse."
Nov 6
Aaron Caldwell is now a member of LegacyConnect
Nov 6
Heather Williamson is now a member of LegacyConnect
Oct 18

Community Guidelines

Please be respectful of others. For more information, read our Community Guidelines.

Follow Legacy

© 2023   Created by   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service