What does "Significant Other" mean in Wheel of Life?

Someone asked me to rank my level of satisfaction with each area of my life by specifying a number between 0 to 10. So more "Significant Other" means more what ?

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  • 3
    Other in this expression is used as a noun, not an adjective. Your significant other is the most important (significant) other person in your life. In the West today, when non-formalized relationships have become socially acceptable, you often find companies extending benefits to "significant others" and urging employees to bring "significant others" to company parties, where once they would have spoken only of "spouses". Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 20:51
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    @StoneyB Very good. I got it.
    – Omid
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 21:19
  • 5
    For the avoidance of doubt, An invitation for you to bring your "significant other" is an invitation to your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend. It would normally be inappropriate to bring your children (even grown up children), other family members, or non-romantically engaged friend to such events unless that has been conveyed separately.
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 22:33
  • Sometimes people say S.O. for short.
    – user230
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 17:40

3 Answers 3


"Significant other" refers to the person you are in a serious relationship with. In other words, your spouse, fiance(e) or serious boyfriend or girlfriend.

Edit: After reviewing the edited question, my answer remains the same. Basically, it is asking you how satisfied are you with the person you are currently in a relationship with.

  • I edited the question. Could you review it and check if your answer is still the same ?
    – Omid
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 20:09
  • @Omid - I didn't see the question before the edit, but are you perhaps confused about rating it "more significant"? "Significant other" is a set phrase, so a higher rating means you are happier with your "significant other", not that they are more significant. If I haven't understood your confusion, just ignore this comment!
    – nxx
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 20:45
  • @nxx What Stoney said in a comment solved my confusion. Thanks.
    – Omid
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 21:20
  • so why isn't it saying husband / wife for example - it says significant other / romance . does this have something to do with todays strange misguided PCness ? [Because a gay couple would not have a wife] or am i on the wrong trail here
    – clockw0rk
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 15:07
  • 1
    @clockw0rk Not really PCness, just a more generic term. You may not be married yet but have a long term-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or may be engaged and have a fiancé/fiancée.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 17:03

The question, as it is currently written, is asking you to evaluate how satisfied you are with your “Significant Other” or the “Romance” in your life. If you are not in a special relationship with someone else (usually thought of as someone with whom you are particularly intimate), then you might evaluate how satisfied you are with that fact. For example, if you were single and painfully lonely all the time you would record a low score for this sector, and if you had several relationships that are individually fulfilling or fulfilling in the aggregate you might score your satisfaction rather high even though you would not say that you have a “Significant Other” per se.

Elsewhere, like in the tool on this page, that sector is named “Partner, Love, Relationship”, synonyms which may assist your interpretation of the question.

online wheel
Wheel of Life tool on mindtools.com

Below this tool, however, the authors there suggest that you try making your own labels. The idea behind creating this wheel for yourself is that it allows you to see your levels of satisfaction across the areas of your life that are important to you personally. From that same page:

Start by brainstorming the 6 to 8 dimensions of your life that are important for you. Different approaches to this are:

  • The roles you play in life, for example: husband/wife, father/mother, manager, colleague, team member, sports player, community leader, or friend.

  • Areas of life that are important to you, for example: artistic expression, positive attitude, career, education, family, friends, financial freedom, physical challenge, pleasure, or public service.

From mindtools.com article, emphasis mine

For many people, the cultivation of a special relationship with someone else is a driving goal that is a source of satisfaction when it has been achieved and is maintained. This might be a means of starting or expanding a family, it might stem from a desire for some specific type of intimacy or a desire for specific types of support, some combination of these, or just about anything! How you interpret the question is ultimately up to you.


Significant Other is a gender– and sexual-orientation–neutral way to refer to your husband, wife, fiancé, fiancée, boyfriend, or girlfriend; that is, anyone with whom you are in a committed, monogamous romantic relationship.

(for the edit) the question is basically asking how satisfied you are with your romantic relationships; the category "Significant Other/Romance" is intended to include all of your romantic activities, whether you're in a committed relationship with a "significant other", still in the 'exploratory' stages of looking for a partner, or not in a relationship at all.

  • I edited the question. Could you review it and check if your answer is still the same ?
    – Omid
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 20:02
  • It's also neutral of marital status. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:53

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