Critique partners are like boyfriends. Seriously. It's just like dating, but harder. Here are the stages of a critique partner relationship:
Love at first sight:
At first, you meet over a common goal: finding a critique partner. Then, it's all about gushing over your shared interest--writing.
The honeymoon period:
Now totally enamored you madly bombard him/her with emails, trying to figure out if you're a good fit for each other. This turns into attaching huge files from your WIP and staying up late at night to critique your partner's work. Once the swoosh sounds, sitting and biting one's nails while trying to decide whether or not to open and read the email received is an internal struggle. I mean, you did just send your heart and soul to this person. Praying to whatever God that your new love thinks you are the next Hemmingway is tremendously important.
The new normal:
When the newness of the partnership begins to wear off, the emails taper off. What may have been a weekly correspondence, now occurs only once every two weeks. And then what you do receive is significantly less than normal. Soon, you may stop receiving return emails altogether.
Breaking up is hard to do:
When this happens, you might begin to feel resentful and even be temped to send an email begging for them to pay attention to you, or read your latest set of words. Don't. Also, don't think that just because you want a CP means that you have to take abuse from someone. Working with a person who is rude or makes nasty comments in a critique of your writing is NOT necessary. You can break up with your CP at any time!
Not every break up needs to be nasty. Being professional and sane is always the road to take.
Happily ever after:
A true critique partner is someone who sticks with you, responds quickly to your pleas for help, and will tell you when there are not enough hours in the day to get to what you sent. But you need to remember, when you find that special writing partner, stick with them. Make a concerted effort and spend time cultivating this relationship. You get out what you put in.