There is a stigma about summer flings –that it forces us to mentally shut down the thought of turning Mr. Summer into Mr. Long Term Partner. The summer fling – it’s hot, it’s thrilling, and it’s inevitable. It’s also free of drama, hassles, commitment.
What is it about summer flings that make them so much fun? Being in the “vacation mindset” allows you to take things lightly and see things from a positive perspective. It’s been ingrained in our minds that summer flings are commitment free, and we enter them without any expectation.
Maybe you see each other every other weekend and have never had “the talk” about how to define your relationship. Because of the lack of rules and expectations, the summer fling is easy, stress free, and generally a blast. Summertime puts people in a carefree mode – maybe you put your goals of a long-term relationship and planning a family on hold.
Think about it – you and your “fling mate” have the best time together – there’s no arguing, you’re wildly attracted to each other and seem to be on the same page about everything. Gasp! Imagine that a new relationship can be FUN and stress free!?! Why wouldn’t we want to explore if this fling can be extended into the cold months rapidly approaching? Truthfully, is it impossible to shift your summer fling into a long-term thing?
Chances are if you met Miss Fling 2012 over Memorial Day, you’ve been seeing each other for a couple of months, maybe every weekend, you are now contemplating the fate of your fling. We know from our experience working with single people for years, that most consider the idea of seeing this person longer than just summer weekends, believe it or not. We’re all adults here – why can’t we just be open with your fling and see if (s)he feels the same way?
Now you’re looking at your fling in a different light, but before you call the local U-Haul store, let’s define steps you can take to make the fling last longer. First, open communication is key. Be open with your fling and share how you feel about him/her. Since there are no strings attached (technically) to this person right now, you have no reason NOT to be upfront about your feelings. In fact, in ANY relationship, it is very important to be straightforward about your feelings.
Also, set your expectations correctly and don’t set yourself up for failure. Put yourself out there, but don’t be surprised if (s)he isn’t interested in an exclusive relationship. After all, this is “just a fling” – for now. One more thing on that note: is (s)he really out of your league? Be honest. Is this someone you really like or is this Mr(s). Right Now? We all love a great weekend in Palm Springs but don’t jump into bed with someone you’ve been admiring for three consecutive summers.
One other factor to consider when longing for your fling to become your partner is geographic distance. Sure, we can convert your fling to a boyfriend pretty easily if you have so much in common, similar values, chemistry, etc. However, you throw distance into the mix; we might have a bigger barrier. Long distance relationships can definitely work – we’ve seen it firsthand. That said, a new relationship that is labeled as a “fling” to start might be harder to convert to a relationship if there is a four-hour drive between the two of you getting to know each other.
Another factor to recognize, which I always take into consideration in writing this advice column, is maturity. Sorry, you less mature “kids” out there may have a more difficult time taking the summer fling more seriously than just a hook up. Us “mature kids” can understand and see potential with those we have a connection with, regardless of the season.
Being on vacation, you typically have little to no worry in the world. You certainly could have put your goal of having a LTR on the back burner for the summer. (Are you all of a sudden commitment-phobic?) Why not give your summer fling an “extended” chance? Don’t regret ending the “fling” just because that’s how your friends wanted to label it.
You may be surprised how many relationships form that started as summer hook ups. Sure, this being a more social time of the year, you may want to keep your “options open” and remain uncommitted. However, the mindset you have going into this summer fling is perhaps one you want to adopt for the beginning of all relationships.
Being carefree and nonjudgmental is something that many look for in a long-term relationship. In my experience in working with singles, I know that the less pressure you put on a new relationship the better the outcome. So, why not push the fling into the fall? Taking this approach may allow you to focus on what you really want in a partner, and less defining the label of the relationship. Let the relationship develop naturally.
Meghann Novinskie and Kim Rosenberg