A good article was brought to my attention this morning that encapsulates similar thoughts that I have had when referring to a significant other.
I have been referring to my significant others as partners since my early twenties. Like the author of the article, the term boyfriend and girlfriend seems too casual and without getting married the alternatives are rather sparse. A good point is also made in the article about how using the term partner removes the ability to make assumptions about the relationship. Is your partner male or female, hetero-, homo- or bisexual, poly or monogamous?
As most significant other terms, girlfriend, wife, husband, boyfriend, also come with a gender bias that is prevalent in human society, I appreciate the way partner reduces this. I have been asked on more than one occasion if I am gay based on my use of the word. I usually reply, truthfully, that I am bisexual, which further disguises the gender of my partner. It is also useful in poly situations. While I do have a primary partner, the one I share a home with, it negates the sense of a hierarchy within my personal relationships. As I have said before, I don't love one of my partners more than the other, I love them in different ways and for different reasons. One I can live with and share my life, they meet the vast majority of my needs and I consider them a life partner. Another partner is my balance. They are not in my life as often and they don't need to be, this reflects the nature of our dynamics but doesn't lessen the depth of our feelings or intensity of our interaction.
I think it may have been a topic of discussion for the crew that moved my mother's furniture across the country. One of my partners supervised the loading of the furniture at one end, while the other supervised the unloading of furniture at our house, a few hundred miles away. :)
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!