A guy’s perspective by guest columnist Barry Cooke
The line “Summer fling, don’t mean a thing” from the immortal musical Grease leaves little room for doubt that even our parents and grandparents were well aware of how a steaming holiday romance could switch faster than a sunny day in Seattle. Summer love is, in fact, timeless. However, summer being the season of short-shorts and long bronzed legs, it seems all too easy to blame the guy if the bubble finally bursts. But is it really that simple?
Like anything else, if we want to stop something from dying then it helps to understand a bit about how it came to be. So, why do summer flings happen?
1) Well for starters, the sun. Sunshine makes us happier (melatonin, serotonin, barbeques). Fact. Plus, we’re all outside meeting one another. Let’s not even mention lazy-tangerine sunsets…
2) Stickin’ it to the Man. Lack of work/school/regular routine makes everything – and everyone – shine with an inviting, libertine gloss.
3) Potential. We can all fall in love with potential.
4) More freedom from social norms. Even if you aren’t on holiday, summer vibes loosen those social constraints as easily as a couple of mojitos – meaning that you might end up talking to that stranger you wouldn’t usually look twice at.
The general rule seems to be that this breed of love is the outdoors type. So is it, by its very nature, destined to crumple and deflate as soon as you drag it behind those closed winter doors? After being born in the exciting, carefree atmosphere of those drawn-out summer days, is it perhaps too hard to translate holiday fling “relationship contexts” into the claustrophobic, routine-driven winter months?
A common perspective on both sides of the gender-divide is that summer flings are just that; a transitory beast and a celebration of the sun, warmth, freedom and light. They just aren’t supposed to lead to being walked down the aisle. It’s (probably) a statistical fact that many summer flings are between two people, one – or both – of whom are already dating someone else.
But let’s get to the heart of the matter here. How does a sun-tanned romance turn into an evergreen bond? Here’s my recipe for cooking up a long-term love out of even the skimpiest of summer ingredients:
1) Adapt. Adapt. Adapt. Do I have to say it again? That summer fling has to learn what real life and relationships are all about – ‘cause it’s not all skinny-dipping and tapas. That means you both have to be flexible: chances are, your summer hottie won’t be your typical ‘type’ so you both need to cut some slack and maybe step out of your comfort zones a little.
2) Share and share alike. Get to know each other’s real lives, friends and maybe even family. Talk to each other and build a connection based on something other than sun and Sangría.
3) Get on a level. Near the end of the summer, realistically discuss your expectations and what each other want. A “real” relationship just isn’t going to be as exciting or intense but it can be more fulfilling. But is such a thing even possible, or desirable, for both parties? Is distance involved? Is everyone happy with physical distance, Skype calls and weekend breaks?
Finally, DO NOT push any of the above. If it’s not meant to be, it’s just not meant to be. Celebrate what it was and move on. Don’t be upset or get irate, just be happy that you got to experience it in the first place, take what you’ve learnt and go find your future.
This article was written by Barry Cooke. Barry is a respected SEO and usability consultant who has been working in search and social media for over 15 years in a number of markets from online dating to finance and travel.