If you have ever been in a long-term relationship — and I mean a really, really long-term relationship — but have never gotten married, then you understand the need for new language insofar as cohabitating opposite-sex adults are concerned.

You’re too old to be calling someone boyfriend but, since common-law marriage is only recognized in nine states, the word husband carries no legal weight. Lover? Too personal. Long-time companion? A little geriatric. Partner? Begs same-sex or opposite-sex clarification. POSSLQ? Really? Spousal equivalent? Sounds like a sugar substitute. “He’s my spousal equivalent. All the great taste of a husband, but only half the commitment.”

No, language has simply not kept up with the times we live in when it comes to human relationships. Computer technology? We’re all over that. There’s a word for things that haven’t existed five minutes ago. There’s a texting dictionary too. So LOL is now part of all of our collective consciousness.

Right about now, you are probably asking yourself something along the lines of “What does this have to do with the state of multicultural marketing as we know it?”

Find out at Ad Age.

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