So what do you call the person with whom you live as man and wife when you're not, well, man and wife?
Partner? But that leaves us unclear as to whether the aim of the partnership is business or pleasure.
Girlfriend and boyfriend look increasingly silly as people decline into the vale of years.
Co-habitee is ridiculous, and lodger annoys just everyone.
I've heard fella, but that's awkwardly casual, and anyway it has no female equivalent. You can use friend as long as you do something significant with your eyebrows when you say it, but even then it only really works for gay couples.
Lover does nothing to assure anyone of the exclusiveness of the relationship.
I think we need something new. Or, actually, something old.
I think we should all go with the really rather lovely leman.
It's usually pronounced like the fruit - but, unlike friend, there's absolutely no implication that you are one.
Word To Use Today: leman. This word was leofman in the 13th century, from leof, dear, plus man, which meant person.