Back in my single days, I had an unspoken Saturday night routine with one of my paramours: We’d go out to dinner, get drinks, maybe go see some music, I’d sleep over, he’d cook breakfast, and then I would head home, not to see him again until the next Saturday. He was in a demanding grad school course, and I had my undergrad classes plus an internship. Both of our schedules were too insane to carve out anything more than Saturday nights, and it was perfect.
“It’s amazing!” I crowed to my friends. “It’s like one day a week, I have a boyfriend, and the other six I’m single.” It was eating my cake and having it, too: I could spend Monday through Friday with my friends and my schoolwork and come Saturday night, I’d still have a familiar face to complain about my boss to, and then kiss. And sometimes, after he fell asleep, I’d slip out and meet my friends at a party.
A new UK dating site called PartTimeLove.uk has tapped into the appeal of this “low-maintenance relationship” by bridging the gap between “full-time” love affairs and cold one-night-stands. Founder Helen Croydon explains the appeal: “I value my independence but must that mean that I’m confined to meaningless flings? I’d love to share some magical chemistry with someone but I’m not keen on merging my whole life with theirs.” The site markets itself to busy young professionals, single parents, divorcees, and frequent travelers.
A site like Part Time Love would do amazingly in New York, where the universal excuse for everything is “I’m so busy.” As in: I really want to start going to yoga again, but I’m just so busy. I’ve been meaning to check out that new exhibit at MoMA, but work is so crazy right now. I’d love to come to dinner, but I’m going to a gallery opening that night, then getting drinks, then seeing a friend’s band. It never ends, and it’s hard to imagine a relationship fitting into that whirlwind schedule, especially when starting up a serious relationship tends to mean you disappear from the world for six months, all your friends and plans forgotten in a haze of oxytocin.
But with Part Time Love, you could make an agreement only to meet on Mondays and Wednesdays and not worry that your new part-time significant other is going to feel neglected, or that your friends are going to forget you’re alive. Plus, you’ll never have to clear out closet space for those winter coats they apparently can’t keep at their own apartment. It’s truly the best of both worlds.