6 Ways to Tell if Your Summer Fling Should Survive the Fall
Will they costar in your apple-picking Instas? These questions will reveal the answer.
Let's say you're at the tail end of a summer fling, and as the seasons change, you're wondering whether to make your partner your fall cuff (my Fellow Kids tell me that this is a real term for a Person You Date in Late Autumn and Early Winter). You had fun, sure, but is this person worth keeping around when the rooftop bars are closed, the beach trips are but memories, and the two of you might have to actually, you know, talk? Here are some questions to ask yourself, along with should-you-stay-or-should-you-go insight from sex therapist Vanessa Marin and relationships coach Effy Blue.
- Can the conversation hold a candle to the sexual chemistry?Helpful chronicler of the human condition Urban Dictionarydefines a "summer fling" as "a sexual adventure free of hassles, commitments or drama, timed for the summer only." If you're looking for more than a sexual adventure, ask yourself whether you'd continue hanging out with your fling if the possibility of hooking up were off the table. If this sounds boring — who knew, it turns out you would actually rather have a conversation about your cable bill with an automated customer service rep than talk with your boo — seriously dating them likely would too.
- Are you two on the same page about the relationship?You're on the fence about commitment. Bae, on the other hand, wants to take up permanent residence on the same couch as you 'til spring. Hello, conflict. Even if you agree to continue dating, if your partner wants more from you than you are willing or able to provide, it's important to identify that early and figure out if you can compromise. Otherwise that aforementioned couch is going to start feeling a lot more like jail than "that place you sometimes have sex after a bottle of wine and an episode ofStranger Things."
- Even if there aren't fireworks, do you think that there could be in the future?"I know this sounds incredibly trite," Marin tells Cosmopolitan.com, "but I do believe that Tinder has made people far more antsy in relationships than ever before. I think a lot of people are willing to walk away quickly if a relationship doesn't feel 100 percent right, 100 percent of the time." If you're in a new relationship, Marin recommends that you ask yourself not whether it feels 100 percent right but whether you sense the potential for growth. "Of course there are times when you just know that you don't have chemistry with a person," she says. "But if you can feel even a little bit of potential, it's worth giving it a bit more time to blossom." My best relationships have been with people about whom I once said, "Datethem? Never!" followed by "We're just casual" followed by "It's our [insert number]-year anniversary," so I can personally attest to this one.
4. What is your biggest fear about breaking up? If you're not sold on continuing to date your summer fling but hesitate to walk away, think about where that hesitation is coming from: Are you afraid of hurting that person? Are you afraid of being alone? Or will you miss spending time with them?
"Unfortunately, we consciously or subconsciously internalize our society's mandate to couple up, buying into that whole idea that singles are lonely and isolated," Blue tells Cosmopolitan.com. "This causes a lot of fear around not only being single and therefore unwanted, but also having to explain and often defend yourself to those around you. For some people, the fear is so severe that staying in a relationship passed its expiration date seems is a better option."
Fear of hurting our partners can also keep us in relationships that aren't serving us, she says: "When we hear the voice telling us to leave, we may ignore it trying to avoid either hurting the other person or seeming like a 'bitch.'" While they can be hard to distinguish, fear of being alone or fear of hurting someone are different from desire to stay.
5. How does this relationship fit into your dating pattern? According to Marin, when you're contemplating a breakup of some kind, it can be helpful to look back on your approach to past relationships. "Historically, have you tended to walk out on relationships at the first sign of conflict?" she says. "Have you tended to stay in dead-end relationships for way too long? If you're not sure about your tendencies, think about the advice your friends have given you during past relationships." (How much advice does it take to convince a woman she's "emotionally guarded" and "conflict-averse"? If I find out, I'll let you know!)
6. Bonus question: Are they going to gripe about starring in or taking your autumn Instagrams? Everyone knows that fall is for cute shit: Pumpkin shopping. Hay rides. Decorative gourds. If your fling is the type to bemoan the kinds of activities and excursions that are essential to both the season and your personal brand, reconsider their place in your circle of intimates — and get yourself a bae who can appreciate some apple-picking.