Why You Can Learn As Much From A Casual Fling As You Can A Relationship

by Sheena Sharma

For one reason or another, I always find myself in a fling. I’m not the “relationship girl"; I’m the “fling girl.”

I don’t definitively know why things always work out this way, but I’ve theorized that the following is probably true: I haven’t met the right person yet, and I’m still working on both loving and being the best version of myself. (In an attempt to be as diplomatic as can be, I’ve decided to fault both men and myself for why I’m not the “relationship girl”).

I pride myself on having become sort of a fling master. In fact, I prefer flings to relationships; they require half the effort and doubly improve your quality of life.

It wouldn’t even be too much of a stretch to say that the modern fling may be giving the modern relationship a run for its money.

It seems that everywhere I look, people are flinging (pun intended) left and right in hopes of finding exactly what they want. Second best doesn’t cut it anymore. We refuse to settle down until we’ve found the absolute best.

Regardless, whether we’ve had one fling or 50, we’ve all taken a trip down Fling Lane. There’s the vacation fling. The same-city fling. The hometown fling.

People who have never tried casual flings often trivialize them. No matter where or when they've happened (or with whom), flings have taught us some of our most crucial life lessons.

Moreover, being the perpetual fling girl doesn’t mean you're “worth” any less than the relationship girl -- that is, as long as you enter the fling, and stick around in it, for the right reasons.

We learn just as much from casual flings as we do from serious relationships.

Everybody deserves respect.

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of equating hooking up with settling for being treated like dirt.

Hear me out: Just because you find someone you deem unworthy of your love doesn’t mean he’s allowed to deem you unworthy of respect.

Respect is a basic human right -- NOT a privilege -- and if you're not getting it from someone, you need to move on. If you find yourself flinging with someone who doesn’t treat you respectfully, cut the cord.

You can’t get what you want without being yourself.

Trusting your instincts is crucial to reaching your goals. But listening to your instincts is paramount in romantic relationships.

It’s easier to be forward about what we need when we’re in an established relationship; when flinging, we seldom suppress our desires out of fear that we’ll “lose” the person.

But a fling is just that: a fling. A fling's short-lived status shouldn't dictate our ability to express our preferences.

We’ve got to be comfortable with our wants and needs -- and even more comfortable with vocalizing them -- in order to fully enjoy the perks.

You learn how to be in control of your feelings.

Casual love lives breed hyper-awareness. We succumb to a deep level of emotional comfort in relationships, leading us to feel things more strongly. "Angry" isn’t just "angry"; it's "infuriated." "Sad" can quickly become "depressed."

In a fling, we're able to control our emotions instead of letting our emotions control us.

When flings end, higher standards move in.

Exposure to different kinds of men helps us mold our standards. In flings, we learn not only what we're attracted to but also how we want to be treated.

A fizzling fling isn't very different from the ending of a relationship. Both make us learn, recover and aim higher.

We don’t give ourselves enough credit; we're more resilient than we think.

Flings teach you how to balance your regular life and your love life.

Often in relationships -- especially at the start -- we lose sight of ourselves. But being prone to identity loss in romance doesn’t make us weaker people; it just makes us human.

When we're young, we're still cultivating our identities. A relationship can seem like a huge commitment.

But because flings are about fun -- not true love -- we spend less time on them and are less likely to define ourselves by them.

We learn the most about a man in the little things that he does.

Of all the takeaways, this one is my favorite. Loud gestures are not what give away a man’s character; we learn the most about who he is from his (seemingly) insignificant tendencies.

Regardless of whether or not he’s wining and dining you, time with him is time well-spent; we're still able to pick up on the depth of his integrity.

Just because you’re not officially dating your fling doesn’t mean you don’t learn to recognize which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.

Don’t ever feel shame for being the “fling girl"; I'm one, and I see myself as a bit of a late bloomer. You’re still learning and growing just as much as your coupled-up friends are.

The One will appear eventually. Until he does, fling away.