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I am looking for something more desirable than partner or amore in Italian. Of course amore is nice but it translates to love, but to say more indirect, is there anything else?

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Maybe an expressions closer to "significant other" might be "la mia metà" (literally "my [other] half") or the variations "la mia metà migliore" ("my better half") and "la mia dolce metà" ("my sweet/lovely [other] half"). Those expressions are most commonly used to refer to the husband/wife but they are used also by unmarried couples, sometimes (but not necessarily) with a slightly humorous or ironic intent.

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  • These expressions are very nice, but personally I only ever heard them jokingly or in old films.
    – DaG
    Dec 6 '21 at 9:05
  • Hi @DaG. I agree those expression might sound a bit old-fashioned (although not so much old-fashioned to sound odd) but, on other hand, the problem with using "compagna/o" (or "ragazza/o" or "fidanzata/o") is that the aim of "significant other" is not to infer anything about the marital status nor the gender identity while "compagna/o" an other similar expressions are not gender neutral.
    – secan
    Dec 6 '21 at 9:17
  • I see your point, secan. I find it hopeless, at present, to achieve gender-neutrality in Italian. Even if one were to mention their SO as la mia metà, the problem is back as soon as they mention their job, or use an adjective or a pronoun, some verbal forms (è andata/o) and so on. Then again, if I talk about my SO, I know which gender they are or prefer to be considered.
    – DaG
    Dec 6 '21 at 15:37
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What one considers to be “nice” or “desirable” is of course highly subjective, but I find compagna/o the most usual and neutral-sounding word for a “significant other” (with whom one is not married). Other options include ragazza/o (more like “girlfriend/boyfriend”), which is most suitable for younger people, and fidanzata/o, literally meaning “betrothed”, but since few people get actually engaged, it's sometimes used for one's partner (and occasionally as an euphemism for a lover or some not-too-significant other).

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    I would say that ragazza/o is too informal and fidanzato/a has the implication that the partnership is serious (that "significant other" does not have). All things considered I think compagna/o is the best choice here.
    – Denis Nardin
    Dec 4 '21 at 22:57
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    @DenisNardin: I believe that all those connotations can vary quite a lot. From my experience, compagna/o almost means “de facto spouse”, while fidanzata/o can even refer, jokingly, to occasional partners. For fidanzato both Treccani and Zingarelli speak of a rapporto/relazione amorosa not necessarily connected with an actual engagement.
    – DaG
    Dec 5 '21 at 8:56
  • What about "la mia metà"? Dec 5 '21 at 14:50

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