Labels are tricky and ever-evolving. I was involved with a couple. The the wife eventually wanted me out. I was away from them for a year when they separated. The male and I are reforming our relationship. Given his instability as he grapples with the divorce process, the grief we both experienced when the wife ended it, we had a hard time deciding how to define ourselves. Bf and gf? Nope. Too far too fast. Friends. It is what I use because the former doesn't yet seem appropriate. However, friend doesn't cover the depth of our mutual experiences. I finally got so tired of trying to fit our relationship into a societal mold, none of which is quite right, that I quit worrying about it.
I call him my friend. When more explanation is warranted, then I elaborate.