The other day at MPOW a colleague referred to the man she's in a relationship with as her "significant other". This colleague is a week younger than I, and it got me thinking: what term do you use when you're over 30 and "boyfriend" starts to sound a little like you're clinging on to your rapidly disappearing youth?
My paternal grandfather died in 1973 and his wife (aka my grandmother) died nearly 30 years later; during that interval she had two "gentleman friends", a term I don't believe anyone outside the Greatest Generation could use with a straight face. "Partner" sounds either as though this is a homosexual relationship or a legal/medical
relationship (a friend of mine had a life partner and a medical partner with the same name). "Lover" is a bit, well, TMI and implies that sex is the central focus of the relationship. "Companion"? Are we in Jane Eyre or some Trollope novel?
If it's a romantic relationship, POSSLQ is out (but thanks to the Census Bureau for a great acronym!). Equally, "roommate" doesn't cover that type of relationship and "fiance" might be pushing things. "Soul mate" sounds a little too Age of Aquarius.
So I'm stumped. Ideas?