There was a time, maybe 10 to 20 years ago, when it was common for single moms to refer to the father of their baby as "my fiance." It happened so often that we used to laugh about it, knowing that many of these "fiances" would never walk down the aisle together. I think that single moms called them that as a way of lessening the perceived stigma of single parenthood. It wasn't so bad to be unmarried and pregnant if you were planning on marrying the father.
Lately, though, it strikes me that I don't hear moms use the fiance word much anymore. The fathers of the babies are referred to as simply the "father of my baby", or sometimes as "my boyfriend". Once in awhile a father is referred to as "my husband", but with more than 90% of our babies born to single moms, that doesn't happen much. I wonder if the less frequent use of the fiance term indicates a differing perception of single parenthood. Certainly nationwide the percentage of babies born out of wedlock - that seems like such a quaint term, doesn't it - is increasing. Is it no longer as great a stigma as it used to be? Or am I reading too much into not hearing the fiance word?
I remember a social worker telling me that when she heard a single mother refer to the father of her baby as her fiance, she would always ask, "Oh, when is the wedding date?" knowing there would likely be none. Too cruel, too cruel.