More of a vocab question. I'm in an open polyamorous relationship where I have a polyam romantic partner and a friend-with-benefits. Do you know of any more concise terms for these different kinds of partners? It doesn't feel right to me to use hierarchical terms since this is a non-hierarchical relationship and I'm not actually dating my FWB, and all of the other terms I know of are demeaning and specifically associated with cheating.
It’s both frustrating and freeing that certain types of relationships don’t have an existing label or “box” that society has provided us to slot it neatly into. In the kink scene, a lot of people use “play partner” to refer to someone they have sex or other bdsm play with. Just like if someone said “my business partner,” you’d understand that the main thing they do together is collaborate on business, and that what they enjoy and respect about each other is how their skills and interests in business converge. So you can totally call them your “[whatever word works here] partner” as a way of clarifying that word. I’ve also heard a lot of non-monogamous people reclaiming the term “paramour.”
You could also completely make up a new term, one that feels right, and not-demeaning, and works for the two of you. What does this person want to be called? How do they experience your relationship? Also, think about the purpose of this word. Is it more important to have a word to use between each other, or something you can use to refer to the relationship when talking to other people? If it’s more to capture the reality of how you relate to each other, you can get really creative and intimate about it. But if you want a convenient way to conversationally mention this relationship, it’s okay to use “friend” or “my guy” or something kind of vague.