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A life partner is a romantic or otherwise very close friend for life. The partners can be of the same or opposite sexes, married or unmarried, and celibate, monogamous or polyamorous.
In most Western countries, unmarried life partners who live together have the same or similar legal rights to married couples. One exception is the United States, where such couples can enter into legal agreements, such as cohabitation agreements, deeds, and wills.
Same-sex life partners with platonic relationships are a common theme in serious and popular literature. Fictional examples of extremely close same-sex friends or partners who spend considerable time together on and off the job include Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Laurel and Hardy, Batman and Robin, Abbott and Costello, Bert and Ernie, and Jay and Silent Bob.