A partner, you say?
The other day I called a fellow and a woman answered his phone; she introduced herself as his partner. In this situation she could have been a business partner, in a personal relationship with him or been a “partner in crime”; which is just a kind of business partner, I guess.
I understand that saying, “on-and-off again common law spouse,” is quite a mouthful and maybe reveals too much information to some guy calling the house, but sometimes partner is too ambiguous.
I’m not being a crank!