Last summer, after months of politely declining an invitation to drinks, I haphazardly agreed to spend a day with someone at their parents' beach house. We swam, read on the beach, ate seafood with our hands, and rode by the coast on an old moped. The day soon became a series of quick trips — weekends stepping out of reality to pier jump into the ocean and kiss in an outdoor shower. The entire situation felt like a rom-com, and yet, I couldn't help but wonder if I was ready to have a summer fling. Although I was living for my sexy beach movie moment, I would be lying if I said I didn't worry a little bit about where this love affair was headed.
Was I clear about my expectations from this relationship? Was I communicating my needs honestly? Would our weekend romps look different when the leaves changed color? Would they even exist at all?Tan lines and salty kisses aside, keeping things easy-breezy isn't always easy on the heart, no matter the season.
I asked three relationship experts how you can tell if you're ready to have a summer fling, and what they said is super enlightening.
1. You're focused on the now.
Sometimes I feel like I wait all year for the summer. It seems like half the time, I slip on ice just waiting for the day that having my bathing suit on counts as wearing a shirt. Although it's in my nature to always be looking for the next best thing, when it comes to summer flings, the key can be living in the now.
"Be very present. Try not to think too far into the future, enjoy what you have together today," licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson tells Elite Daily. "You're ready to have a good time with someone special but you are not worried about a long-term commitment."
If you're looking for a long-term relationship or you're not super comfortable living in the moment, a summer fling may not be super fulfilling for you. But if you're looking for some fun in the sun and living for today, embracing the present can be a great way to start a summer fling.
2. You're ready for an adventure.
Perhaps the biggest draw to having a summer fling is the prospect of spontaneity and fun. You're trying new food spots, meeting different people, and waking up each morning ready to see where the sunny day is going to take you. According to the experts, if you're ready for an adventure, you may be ready for a summer fling.
"Be open and excited to become intimate with a new person. Be ready for an adventure!" life coach Nina Rubin tells Elite Daily. "A fling is all about enjoying the moment and liking the person you’re with right now rather than pressuring the relationship and squeezing something ends out of it. It’s best to avoid thinking it will turn into something bigger."
Of course, summer fling or no summer fling, direct communication and being clear about your expectations can be super important. Adventure means trying the new tapas place, not suppressing your feelings or doing anything you're not comfortable with!
3. You're not focused on the outcome.
Summer flings often heat up pretty quickly and in turn, stay hot throughout the course of the summer. Unlike other forms of dating, a "summer fling" doesn't necessarily have to lead to anything more serious. When it comes to emotional connection, experts say that summer flings are somewhere on the spectrum: Flings often include more feelings and a deeper connection than say, a one-night stand, but aren't guaranteed to evolve into serious relationships.
"A fling is a 'mini relationship.' It can last anywhere from several weeks, to several months," NYC relationship expert Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "This is a romantic detour. Enter with the mindset of 'showing up' as your complete self while removing 'conditions' of outcome."
As Winter shares, you may know you're ready for a fling if you're not worried about where the fling is going. Of course, there's nothing wrong with wanting more clarity, structure, or even commitment from your relationships. If it's important to you to know exactly what you're doing or where you're going, that's totally OK.
If the heat is turning up this summer in more ways than one, you may be embarking on a totally romantic summer fling. If you're looking to live in the moment and have a super sexy summer, a fling may be the perfect way to spend your sunny days. If you're worried you're not ready for something casual, talk to your boo about your needs and set intentions in your relationship. You deserve to have the type of connection that feels right for you — all year round.