As a Single woman, I love my freedom and independence. After a long, busy week, give me a good glass of wine, my remote control and my dogs and I’m in heaven! Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love meeting new people and dating. However, sometimes being in a full-time relationship can be demanding. So when I discovered the website, parttimelove.net, that takes a new and different approach to dating, I wanted to know more. Helen Croydon , founder of the site, tells why she started the site and why part-time love can be a good thing.
S&LF: What is the premise behind your new dating website, “Part Time Love”?
Part Time Love: It’s for independent minded people who want to find a genuine romance with trust, honesty, respect, continuity and that magical spark, but who don’t have time for the typical 5-day-a-week relationship (who does these days?). Maybe they travel with work, maybe they are career-focused, maybe they are a single parent. We seem to have an all-or-nothing approach to relationships. The demands of a ‘proper’ modern relationship require you to holiday together, turn up to social functions together and one day, move in together. The only alternative is empty no-strings-attached flings where you’re expected to be cold-hearted and it’s cool not to get their number after you’ve hooked up. I wanted to set up a site for people like me, who value emotional connection and are open to love, but are non-demanding.
S&LF: At what point in your life did you decide that the conforms of a traditional relationship were not for you?
Part Time Love: When I split with a boyfriend of three years at age 29 (I am now 36). I expected to feel sad, but when he left, I felt nothing but relief. We had lived together and I always felt burdened with the demands of that – domestic niggles, the fact that I sleep badly when sharing a bed. He wanted to do everything together and would sulk if I went out with friends more than him. When he left, I thrived. I filled my life with new friends, hobbies, upped my fitness. I threw myself into dating and I loved the variety of it. I didn’t want to get serious with anyone. I used to joke with friends that I don’t do boyfriends, I have lovers. Before that, like everyone else, I presumed I’d get married, have kids, share a home with my partner. But suddenly I realized that I DO have a choice. We don’t have to follow the fairytale if we don’t want to. I’d always thought we did.
SL&F: Do you believe people can allow themselves to be truly vulnerable in a part-time relationship?
Part Time Love: Why do you have to be vulnerable to have a fulfilling relationship? That very question suggests that most of us believe love has to be all-consuming or it isn’t real love. You can still have deep emotional closeness and share your fears and desires with your lover without them watching you eat your cornflakes every morning. I’m proposing that we relate to our romantic partners with the same forgiving attitude as we do with our close friends. I have several friends with whom I show my vulnerabilities. They know me intimately as I do them, but I don’t see some of them from one month to the next. I don’t believe vulnerability and emotional closeness is dependent on the number of hours you spend with them.
SL&F: You mentioned before that adapting to a partner domestically is “realistic on the fairy tale”. Explain.
Part Time Love: I can’t remember the exact context, but I think I may have been making the followig point: It’s currently a huge jump to adapt from being single to being half a couple. Individuality and independence are championed in our culture. We go through our early adult life building friendships, choosing our career, broadening our horizons with travel, all in pursuit of self-development. We fill our schedule as full and varied life as we can. Then suddenly, we meet someone and we are expected to make four nights a week for them, get into a new routine, adapt our sleeping patterns. We don’t give enough credence to what a big deal that is. No wonder there are so many so-called “commitment phobes” with the demands of a modern relationship.
S&LF: What is the difference between a “part-time love” and a healthy relationship in which both individuals have their own obligations and personal time?
Part Time Love: There aren’t the same obligations and demands in a part time relationship as there are in the universally accepted model of coupledom. It isn’t taken as a given that you’ll attend a wedding together, for instance. In a part-time relationship, you don’t have to put on a united front because that’s what society tells you commitment is. Everyone will define their part-time relationship in their own way, but for me, it would mean keeping separate homes and having an understanding that sometimes your work, a friend or a hobby does come before them. Admit that to your partner in a conventional relationship and there would likely be a tantrum.
S&LF: Do you believe people can find lasting love through a part-time relationship?
Part Time Love: I think that is the only way in a modern society, which is kitted out for independence, strives for increased convenience and encourages us to reinvent ourselves and self-discover. I think our relationship models have to also accommodate for the fact that we are now living in the age of the individual.
About Helen Croydon
Helen Croydon is a best-selling author, journalist and broadcaster. She’s best known for her immersive journalism, investigations and opinion pieces on modern relationships, woman’s issues and health.
Her latest book Screw the Fairytale: A Modern Guide to Love and Sex was published this month by John Blake Publishing.