In speaking directly to a person of any gender, what might the identifier be for them in terms of their relationship?

For example, "wife" would describe a person who is the female in a married relationship (generally); but is there a good word to use to describe the same, but for any relationship and either partner, other than "person in a relationship"?

  • Please provide more context. Mar 7, 2013 at 19:05

5 Answers 5


The adjective Attached

married, engaged, or associated in an exclusive sexual relationship ⇒ "it's no good dancing with her, she's already attached" (Collins dictionary)

(I would prefer to use "romantic" rather than "sexual" in the definition.)

I don't hear this one too often anymore, but, from what I remember, it was fairly common forty years ago. Now we would just say either "married" or "seeing someone".

  • 4
    Since you and I share a name, I'll add my comment to your answer: spoken for is also used for this.
    – Jim
    Mar 7, 2013 at 20:25
  • Why do you divide all relationships into these two kinds,"married" and "seeing someone"? What about who is not married and is not seeing someone? It is interesting for me as a cultural aspect. Mar 8, 2013 at 7:44
  • You're right. I should have said "all romantic relationships". Mar 8, 2013 at 8:24
  • This one word sums it up the best I've found, thanks!
    – trisweb
    Mar 8, 2013 at 19:00

"She's in a "committed" relationship is generally understood without disclosing the gender of the partner or the type of relationship or living arrangement.


A very similar question has come up before.

I suggested partner, which satifies the requirements of not specifying a person’s sex or the nature of the relationship — except that it is a committed partnership of some kind.

  • How can you recognize which kind of partnership it is? Because It is used in business too or am I wrong? Mar 8, 2013 at 7:39
  • 1
    Context, context, context. But yes, there can be an ambiguity when one's business partner is of the opposite sex (or even the same sex). However that's usually solved by using the term business partner. And then there's life partner or significant other or any of the terms at the linked question.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 8, 2013 at 7:43

The usual gender-neutral terms to use are

  • Spouse, for a married couple
  • Partner, for an intimately committed couple

If the person is into Mathematics you could call them a tuple-roomie.

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