If they’re married, you can say husband or wife. If they’re engaged, there’s various spellings of fiance.
What about all those other situations?
Boyfriend and Girlfriend sound a bit adolescent. As do “young gentleman” and “young lady.”
We use partner a lot, but we’ve heard people complain that it often signals a non-heterosexual relationship or a couple that does not believe in marriage, and so it’s too focused to be used more generally. (We use it anyway, just not with people who complain about it.)
#1 is a big fan of significant other, or SO for short. She picked that up from her mom. But Debbie M suggests that she has many others in her life who play significant roles, “Highly significant other–in a good way”–isn’t quite right either, though.
Sometimes I’ll say, “your guy” if I can’t remember the guy’s name. (Shhh.) But it doesn’t seem to work so well in my mind if the significant other in question is female.
We don’t say, “your old man” or “your old lady” anymore. And with good reason! My grandma used to say beau. Does anybody say swain anymore?
Soulmate seems a bit personal. I figure people can make that determination about their own partners but probably not about other couples.
Mi mama sometimes says inamorato(a). What can I say, we’re a family of romantics. (Though with exes, it is always “former flame”. What can I say, we adore alliteration.)
Some other suggestions: helpmeet? life partner? partner in Romance? Most significant other? Best beloved?
How do you refer to someone’s romantic partner?