Boyfriend of 18 months introduced me as his "friend"?

I've been dating an older man (I'm 41, he's 57) for 18 months. We're in love, have talked about some future plans together, spend every weekend together. I met the parents, brothers, friends - even ex-wife and her family - long ago and it's all good. He's referred to me as his girlfriend a zillion times (heck - a few weeks ago he referred to me when speaking to a stranger as his wife!) and all the guys he works with, etc. know me to be his girlfriend/significant other.

So I was surprised (and not that thrilled, to be honest) when last weekend we encountered a former neighbour of his at the grocery store and my guy said to the neighbour, "Jim", "This is my friend Nora". I guess I must have given my man a surprised look because he hastily added, "Well, more than a friend" and then, shortly after, made a joke about how his hair had gone white because "he's dating a redhead" (me). After "Jim" took his leave of us, I gently asked my boyfriend, "Did you really just introduce me as your "friend"?". He said yes, but noted he'd added the part about "more than a friend". When he saw that I wasn't happy, he said that, at his age, to introduce me as his "girlfriend" sounds like we're in highschool and that someone hearing his introduction would "automatically realize" that we were a couple (and, although he didn't articulate this, since we're not engaged or married, no other term - like fiance or wife - would apply - although that didn't stop him a week ago!).

I'm curious as to what others - particularly men - think of this. Again, I was very surprised because there's no "maybe he doesn't see you as his girlfriend" thing going on here...but I don't think it's automatic that a man introducing a woman as a friend is really conveying "girlfriend" at all. After all, how would such a man introduce a platonic female friend then? Is there any reason for me to be concerned here?

All thoughts welcome.
By 9 years ago :: Dating
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