He was not her ‘husband’; they weren't married.
‘Partner’ sounded business-like, but ‘life partner’ was so New Age.
‘Better half’ was hardly flattering, and ‘boyfriend’ was obsolete, given their mature years.
‘Beau’ couldn't be said with a straight face.
‘Lover’ just seemed embarrassingly frank.
She’d wondered at this obligation to categorise their relationship to strangers. Was it really anyone’s business what they were to each other?
He’d countered traditionally it was polite to explain a connection. Couldn't they agree on ‘partner’ and be done with it?
She breathed in.
"My beloved," she concluded.