This is not your mother's generation. Welcome to monogamy with a twist: part-time lovers who are completely committed to one another, aren’t married, don’t live together, and don’t plan to do either now or in the future.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder? For many it certainly does, and it's changing the way they think about relationships. This new trend in coupling-- occasional companionship, hot sex and 100% commitment-- puts a new spin on the dating game.
The rules of the monogamy game have changed drastically. Many women are now consciously redefining exclusive relationships that are, emotional, sexual, committed and best of all, part-time. This new way of dating is not driven by rigid moral expectations of traditional marriage, rather by individual needs for both intimacy and independence.

The days of women desperately seeking marriage and re-marriage are downswing, with now more than 50% of women unmarried. It is clear that the social changes of the last half century have undoubtedly broken the old stereotypical ideas that single women are substandard or dysfunctional in some way. We now have an expanded array of choices that didn’t exist for women of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations. With more education, more earning power, and more access to divorce, many women are now embracing complete freedom of choice and opting to live alone, retain their independence and control of their lives, and yet still have the benefits of a commitment with a part-time partner.

Most of us were raised to buy into the beliefs that marriage and children were the “standard” roles for women. Many of us, including me, rushed into marriage and family life in our early twenties because it was the the thing to do. The social marriage and motherhood mandate dictated to many of us what we as women thought our lives were supposed to be. The thought of other options just never occurred.

 In the 40s and beyond, many women have that “been there done that” feeling and are craving a different lifestyle option. Exiting the roles of wife and mother either through divorce or the natural progression of children leaving the nest can be a great opportunity to create a new lifestyle that includes but is not limited to or centered around an intimate partnership.
There are many upsides to being in a part-time relationship. Great sex, great company, but perhaps best of all-- no socks to wash. And the downside? I'm still thinking.

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Alex Anderson
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