When it comes to finding love, flings are necessary. They're just a part of growing up; they're a rite of passage. In fact, if you haven't been in one, I'd say that's weird.
But I have been in one too many flings, my friends, and "one too many" is a thing. My teens and 20s have been fling-filled, but there was one in which I poured my heart and soul to try and turn it into something more. It was my most emotionally challenging, and it was my very last.
I realized how much I was wasting my time and energy on this person and ultimately swore I'd never try it again. Since then, I've stuck to my guns. And though my love life has been pretty boring, I will say, at least I have my power back. And that's a good feeling.
I believe everyone has a certain fling quota. For some women, one fling is enough to help them get their heads on straight. For other women (like myself), we have to get burned again and again, and just one last time until we finally figure out the what the hell the deal is with these things.
Regardless of what your fling quota is, you learn a lot. Let me tell you all what I learned from the very last fling I ever had:
1. Real Love > No Love > Fling.
Listen to me: Life is really fucking boring when you're horny all the time and have no one to love. But take it from someone who's had a real relationship, been in many flings and is now all alone: Being bored is a horrible excuse to start up a fling, especially if you're a sensitive person. You won't come out the other end a survivor.
Try to hold out for the real thing because, although it takes a while to happen, it's glorious when it does.
2. Casual sex hardly compares to love sex.
Love sex, coined by my fellow writer friend, Zara, is when you and your partner's bodies are in sync with one another because you've grown comfortable with each other. And because there's that level of comfort and trust there, you can pretty much do anything you want without feeling judged or awkward.
It's easy to go from fling to relationship. It's not easy to go from relationship to fling.
3. And once you have love sex, it'll spoil you.
When there's love there, it's hard to do the dirty when there isn't love there. When you're in love with someone, there are no barriers between the two of you, but when it comes to a hookup, you're kind of just having sex while tip-toeing around the elephant in the room.
And no, I'm not talking about his penis. I'm talking about the likelihood that one of you probably has feelings for the other.
4. You can't change a man's mind once it's already made up.
No matter how nice you are, how long you stick around, how good you are at sexing him to sleep, you can't change his mind. I used to sex mine to sleep so good that he fell asleep into a 12-hour post-sex coma. I even cooked for him sometimes, but none of that was enough to get him to stay.
One day, he left and didn't look back. But I wondered why I gave so much of myself to someone who wasn't willing to give all of himself to me.
5. You deserve more.
One night in a taxi, my ex-hookup buddy drunkenly turned to me and said, "You deserve more than this." And then it all hit me at once: I did deserve more.
It's sad it took him saying that to make me realize the truth of it, but I'm thankful he said it. I will never forget those words. Those words are a guiding force in my life and the kinds of relationships I choose to be involved in now.
6. Someone always gets hurt.
If it isn't you, it's him. If it isn't him, it's you. Someone will always develop feelings, and then the fling feels less like a fling and more like a competition. Whoever shows less humanity is the winner.
7. Pretending not to care is more painful than showing you care.
At first, pretending not to care makes you feel powerful, strong, bigger. But then, you learn pretending not to care is detrimental to him, but mostly to you.
You aren't doing anyone any favors by not speaking your truth. You're just making the blow that will inevitably happen much worse than it needs to be.
8. Flings will always suck the life out of you.
You'll find yourself thinking about the potential of the fling when you're at work, with your family, with your friends. You won't be able to live in the present because you're too focused on this person who could be The One for you, if only he were a little more something, or that you could be The One for him, if only you were a little more something.
And the rest of the significant relationships in your life will suffer because of that one insignificant relationship.
9. And they always end the same way.
MAKE NO MISTAKE OF THIS. There is no one fling that will break the camel's back. I mean, yeah, there's always that one you hear of: A friend of a friend of a friend actually turned her hookup into a long-term boyfriend. But that situation is a one-in-a-million kind of thing, and I can bet money on the fact that it won't happen to you.
These things always end the same way: The guy loses interest in the girl, the girl tries to get the dynamic back to the way it was in the beginning, when the guy would've swam an ocean just to get to her.
But he won't. And that's when it's time to let go.