I don't have a permanent/regular partner (would really really like a practice partner but am still searching...) and I don't compete or show, but I know many DF members do compete. I've done a quick search (for "competitions AND partner") to see if there are any relevant threads, but it's kinda difficult to tell any of them are relevant without knowing what exactly you want to know...
Perhaps if you explain what your predicament is in a bit more detail and post it to the General Dance Discussion forum, you might get better response?
i had a partner who is a terrific dancer - my teacher wanted to use us when he & his wife were double booked. unfortunately she became attracted to me but i couldn't reciprocate due to differences in spiritual convictions (otherwise i would have been on her like white on rice). we ended the partnership & we now have minimal contact & it's kinds awkward. she was in my AT class tonight. we said 'hi' during rotation and that was it.
a lot of what edie says in her website makes sense. in general, if it's a professional/platonic partnership, you're probably better off keeping your conversations and relationship in general pretty professional - especially if you're seeing someone else. i'm sure the fact that i hung out a lot with my partner outside of lessons & practice contributed to the current situation.
I don't have a regular partner either, JazzE. It's the bane of most of us single dancers, gosh darnit!!
That said, I do enjoy the freedom to dance with anybody, simply because one of the aims of learning to dance is to be able to dance with anybody, a skill I'm developing as a result of not dancing exclusively or almost exclusively with one person.
Of course, it also means you can't really practice by yourself, expecially AT, which is such a partner oriented dance. You definitely need a partner to practice the whole leaning stance and things like awareness of being lead into a gancho and the like.
I guess what I'm talking about is more about trusting your partner. Getting involved with serious dancing and needing to know your partner isn't full of it is a necessity. It's like acting, some people know how to fluff their feathers but can't back it up in the end. Has anyone had any problems or warnings with this?