Here’s How To Figure Out If Your Summer Fling Is Something More

When August starts winding down, you inevitably lament the demise of your beach days, start fantasizing about trading your sandals for suede booties, and embrace pumpkin spice everything. And if you started seeing someone new, one question inevitably arises But if the warmer months brought you a much needed seasonal tryst, one question will inevitably arise: Do you need to end your summer fling? After all, the word fling implies a short-lived rendezvous. So now that you’ve had your fun, is it time to bid your fling farewell, or try to turn this romance in to a full-fledged relationship?

Many people go the latter route. In fact, Yelp rep Hannah Cheesman told Elite Daily that a whopping 73 percent of millennials who engaged in a summer fling were able to transition into a real relationship. The problem is, many people enter flings carelessly, without any kind of honest and upfront conversation about where it’s heading. A fling truly epitomizes the carefree nature of summer — it’s spontaneous, it’s uncomplicated, and very often, that means there are no strings attached. Still, the more time you spend with your fling, the greater the chance that one (or both) of you might catch some feelings. And then what? It’s no surprise that 52 percent of singles surveyed in Yelp’s poll said they felt blindsided when they realized their fling was just that and nothing more.

So, how do you know when it’s time to pull the plug? Experts say these are some clear signs you should end your summer fling.

You want different things.
Kate Daigneault/Stocksy

All healthy, successful relationships have one thing in common: open communication. In an ideal world, you would have had an honest conversation about what you both wanted out of this fling from the start. Sometimes, though, you may try to skip right over that part. After all, if it’s just a fling, why do you need to have a serious convo, right?

It’s never too late to bring up the subject. The best way to determine whether you and your fling are on the same page is to simply ask them outright where they were hoping your connection was headed. If you’ve been dreaming of a long-term relationship with this person and they’re admitting they just wanted something casual, then it’s probably time to think about winding this fling down. Conversely, if you don’t see a future with this person and they seem to, it’s likely time to open up the line of communication about how this fling will end.

Sure, these conversations can be intimidating. But here’s the thing: If your fling freaks at a simple discussion about your status, why would you want to explore a relationship with them? If you’re feeling timid about bringing up the subject, consider looking for non-verbal cues that you want different things. For example, a fling that never spends one-on-one time getting to know you, avoids introducing you to their inner circle, or never talks about you when discussing future plans may be viewing this as a short-term thing.

According to relationship expert and author Susan Winter, it’s important to internally reflect on whether you actually want to continue the romance yourself. “Perhaps the allure was the fact that it was always meant to be transient,” she explains. “No matter how you cut it, your interest in your summer fling has faded.”

You’re facing a LDR — and dreading it.
Jennifer Brister/Stocksy

Since summer is a time when many people are on vacation, it’s pretty common for at least one person in a summer fling to be visiting from out of town. Maybe they’re heading back to college next month, or on a business trip. Regardless, if one or both of you is inevitably heading somewhere else at summer’s end, it’s time to consider whether you’re open to a long distance relationship.

If you feel like you’ve developed a strong connection with someone and you genuinely can see a future with them, maybe an LDR is something you’d be open to. However, if the very thought of long-distance Facetime sessions, phone sex, and flying back and forth makes you cringe, then it may be time to think about a break-up.

The best way to evaluate whether an LDR is a viable option (if you want one, of course) is to directly discuss it with your fling. Long distance relationships can certainly work, but only if both people are fully on board and invested. After all, the distance creates some unique challenges for both partners, so you’ll want to assess whether your bond feels strong enough to survive. If one or both of you is turned off by the idea, then you’ll know that this fling simply isn’t meant to last beyond the season.

You're just in it for the sex.
Phil Chester Photography/Stocksy

It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself about the motivation for this fling. If phenomenal sex is the main perk you’re getting out of it, then it may be a good idea to let the fling fizzle out at summer’s end. The fact is, a serious relationship requires a whole lot more than some chemistry between the sheets — from compromising on differences in opinion and embracing each other’s shortcomings to supporting each other emotionally. If sex is the only thing holding this fling together, then it may not be able to weather all of those challenges.

“Chemistry comes out of passion, desire, intrigue, and sometimes even escapism,” says Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and the podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak. “To know where you stand, ask yourself where your desire is coming from. If you’re desiring a night together, a moment together, a summer together, or a buddy with limited benefits, then this relationship should be celebrated as a flash in the pan aka a fling. But if what you’re desiring is a life together, made up of many small moments and big decisions, and that life is something you talk about which looks the same and sounds the same, then this fling might be worth settling into and exploring.”

Remember: Love and lust are two different things — and the two can often get confused in the early stages of infatuation. No matter how many orgasms you’ve had with your fling, if you’re really only meeting up with them to hook up, then you probably aren’t invested in the idea of a future with them.

You don’t have that much in common.
Guille Faingold/Stocksy

Take some time to think realistically about your compatibility with this person. Do you share some core values and goals? Do you have any hobbies in common? If you don’t know the answer, that’s probably a sign that it’s a somewhat surface-level fling. And if you can’t seem to find any overlap between you and your fling’s outlooks and passions, then you may want to take a step back and consider ending things.

“When it comes right down to it, your connection was founded on timing and location,” explains Winter. “You were both in the same vicinity and both available for the summer.”

Of course, you don’t have to be one of those #twinning couples who do everything from hit the gym to watch football games together — it’s totally fine (and actually advisable) to have your own individual interests. However, having just a few things in common will help you to bond on a deeper level.

As for the best way to figure out whether you should break up with your fling, Trescott suggests starting with your gut feeling.

“Often we intellectualize our relationships, wanting them to be more or less romantic and meaningful than they are," she says.

The point is, a summer fling can evolve for any number of reasons, but not all of them are meant to turn into serious relationships.

“As challenging as it may be, try and celebrate your fling for all it gave you,” says Trescott. “Maybe it was companionship on a Sunday or extraordinary late night sex. Maybe it was causality after getting out of a relationship that was too much. Maybe it was confidence, carelessness, or simply a glimpse into what you are and are not ready for. It can be any of these things or none of them at all. The point is time shared is time worth celebrating.”

Once you’ve decided to end your fling, Winter advises being direct yet gentle with your breakup — after all, you don’t know how deeply their feelings run for you.

“Make sure they know what they meant to you and, that even if it was short, it was something,” adds Trescott. “Having appreciation and grace on your way out will help you both heal faster and it won’t burn the bridge that you may want to be there next summer. Remember, sincerity is a superpower even in the summertime when everyone’s supposed to be carefree and just having fun.”

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a summer fling — and hopefully, you got exactly what you were looking for out of it. Just because you don't see a future with your fling doesn't mean it wasn't worth your while. In fact, the lessons you learned from this fling may very well benefit you in other relationships down the line. At the very least, it will be a whirlwind romance you can look back on fondly for exactly what it was: some thrilling, throw-your-hands-up, totally breezy fun.

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