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What is a word for a person you live with but are not married to? I do not mean a room mate, but rather someone you are romantically involved with. From what I understand, spouse is someone you are married to and boyfriend/girlfriend does not state that you live together.

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live-in partner? –  ShreevatsaR Nov 10 '11 at 3:19
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I think plain old partner implies cohabitee far more strongly than significant other. –  FumbleFingers Nov 10 '11 at 13:53
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7 Answers 7

"Partner" conveys a romantic relationship and does not specify gender. It doesn't necessarily mean that you live together, but it's the way to bet. Note that employers that extend certain benefits to same-sex partners use the word "partner" but generally require cohabitation.

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+1 I think partner (short, much of the time, for domestic partner) is the best option here. –  onomatomaniak Nov 10 '11 at 19:05
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"Who's that?" "Oh, she's my partner." "What, are you running a law firm together?" –  jprete Nov 10 '11 at 21:42
    
@jprete, context will always be a problem -- I could, at the same time, have a law partner, a study partner, and a workout partner, so this problem isn't specific to romantic partners. –  Monica Cellio Nov 10 '11 at 22:12
    
Absent any overriding business context, if you introduce a person of the same sex as your "partner," many people will assume a sexual relationship. –  Robusto Jul 2 '12 at 16:00
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@tchrist: Not necessarily. Opposite genders usually refer to boyfriend or girlfriend (as do gays and lesbians). But "partner" is a special category usually understood to be for gays who do not yet enjoy the right to marry. –  Robusto Jul 3 '12 at 2:52
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"Common-law [husband|wife|spouse]" implies a understanding that a state of marriage exists but that you have not bothered getting official sanction.

Unmarried people living together are sometimes said to be "cohabitating", which suggests "cohabitant", though I've only heard that phase used once and it admits a misunderstanding that it merely means sharing a dwelling.

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Note, most jurisdictions often necessitate cohabitating for a certain amount of time (usually a few years) for a common-law marriage to have legal standing. Of course there’s nothing stopping people from using it informally. –  Synetech Jul 2 '12 at 15:44
    
"Cohabitant" is a dictionary definition of the word OP is looking for: thefreedictionary.com/cohabitant = To live together in a sexual relationship, especially when not legally married. –  Rasmus Larsen Jun 17 at 8:56
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A possible term for this is significant other. This is defined as:

A person, such as a spouse or lover, with whom one shares a long-term sexual relationship.

This is a word I often hear used to described a long-term partner with whom a person lives.

The phrase live-in girlfriend or boyfriend is sometimes used. Domestic partner also describes the situation, but in recent years it has come to refer to homosexual partnerships more often than heterosexual ones.

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Thank you. I am however looking for a less formal word. But I suppose such a word does not exist, and boyfriend/girlfriend/partner is used instead. In Sweden (ie swedish) there is a word (sambo) commonly used for theese scenarios. –  David W. Nov 9 '11 at 23:16
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I don't think significant other is too formal. I hear it in conversation all the time, especially among middle-aged persons. –  Brendon Nov 9 '11 at 23:17
    
Does it imply that you're living together though? –  David W. Nov 9 '11 at 23:21
    
@DavidW. Not necessarily, but if someone said that to me I would assume they were living together unless told otherwise. –  Brendon Nov 9 '11 at 23:22
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The (United States) Census Bureau originated a phrase which became quite popular circa 1990 or so: POSSLQ, pronounced "possle-cue". It stands for Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters.

Such a bureaucratic, unromantic phrase... and yet I recall that my POSSLQ and I got a kick out of calling each other that. Good times.

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Looking back at the original question, I realize that the OP is asking about romantic relationships - not necessarily heterosexual - and that POSSLQ explicitly specifies heterosexual relationships, not necessarily romantic. So, probably NOT what the OP was looking for. Still, a fun word. –  MT_Head Nov 10 '11 at 2:05
    
Additionally, a number of years ago I had a female roommate who was simply a roommate. Evidently she was a POSSLQ, but was not a romantic partner. Of course had the government chosen POSSSQ (person of the opposite sex sharing sleeping quarters), then the distinction might be useful. I really will have to fire off an email to the Census Bureau... :-) –  Fraser Orr Jul 2 '12 at 20:11
    
@FraserOrr - "Come and knock on our door..." –  MT_Head Jul 2 '12 at 21:16
    
Even though POSSLQ is heterosexual-specific, it's still a useful answer to this question since many people these days use "partner" only for same-sex couples. –  alcas Jul 3 '12 at 0:50
    
@alcas - But unfortunately it (POSSLQ) does not specify that the persons are romantically or sexually involved, which is what the OP was asking for. (I know - it's my own answer, and I'm putting it down...) A boyfriend/girlfriend who are "living in sin" can use this term to refer to their arrangement, but it leaves their actual sleeping arrangements ambiguous. (AHA! They could use this term when talking to their parents, to avoid unpleasantness!) –  MT_Head Jul 3 '12 at 1:15
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Here in Australia at least, this would be referred to as a de facto partner, de facto being a Latin expression meaning 'by fact'. That is, a partnership for all intents and purposes but not a marriage by law. This term is used commonly in government regulations concerning taxation and social security as it implies cohabitation, sharing of financial responsibilities and so on.

Having said that, de facto would rarely be used by someone to describe their partner, it being more of a legal term.

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Ugh, legalese. Same goes for "common-law". –  Andrew Vit Nov 10 '11 at 11:45
    
It's in common use within Australia so I'm not sure de-facto is quite as bad as "common-law". –  lzcd Nov 10 '11 at 23:21
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Informally, mate.

Somewhat more formally, consort.

My MW Unabridged associates both words with marriage, but I doubt that conversational usage would be so binding.

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One possible word is paramour.

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I fixed your spelling and added a link. –  JSBձոգչ Jul 2 '12 at 15:46
    
I disagree that living with your lover makes your love illicit. –  Matt Эллен Jul 3 '12 at 11:17
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protected by RegDwigнt Jul 2 '12 at 15:39

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