Turning That Summer Fling Into the Real Thing [Diary of the Undateable]

Days and hemlines are getting longer, a surefire sign that summer is officially dunzo. I can’t speak for everyone, but it was a pretty good one – any break from back-to-back classes, long internship hours and longer hours of homework makes for good stuff. But summer love, like summertime laziness, is slowly starting to melt away, too…or so I’ve heard. That hot summer Stats TA is too busy to talk, or that beachside boo might better suited for the boardwalk. But what happens when your feelings extend past the fling? Or when your summer nights happened to be special in addition to steamy? Whatever the case may be, there’s no reason to get rid of him just yet. If he’s interesting enough, fun enough and cute enough, why not experiment and see if the spark transitions into the fall? If we take our summer dresses, tops and cutoffs into the next season, can’t we apply the same logic to our crushes?

Morgan Rose, author of On Becoming NaughtABimbeaux: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Prince Without Ever Kissing Another Frog, thinks that we can have our babes and date them, too. On Becoming NaughtABimbeaux is a guidebook to shameless self-love, discovery and dating without damaging your morals and budding confidence in the process. The book, complete with a lined notes section in the back, arrived right on time for me. This summer, I discovered that despite my searching, settling and casual complaining, I am NOT ready for a boyfriend. Sure, a boo would be nice…but I can’t give my all to someone when I barely even know myself. Rose’s guide is slowly changing that. Every chapter includes relatable anecdotes, inspirational quotes, suggested reads and Journey Journaling,. I recommend the 240-page read to anyone who’s contemplating the step before The Next Step. On Becoming NaughtABimbeaux is definitely a book that I’ll keep on my nightstand year-round…but Rose graciously answered a couple of questions about seasonal love. Luckily, our flings don’t have to be flung away just yet.

What are some patterns of a summer fling to take away and leave behind once the season ends and fall begins?

In contrast to developing a deep connection, a summer fling tends towards the superficial.  Conversations don’t require sharing the secrets of your soul, and interactions can be more flirtatious than serious. If truly a fling, both parties understand this is just for the “magic of the moment,” with no strings attached. What your “playfulness” can offer after summer ends is bringing the joy of spontaneity into your more serious relationships.

Is there a preferred timeframe for transforming a summer fling into something more?

We are talking love, and love rarely follows something as predictable as a time frame. If there is true potential for moving a summer fling towards a lasting relationship, it will reveal itself as a mutual and increasing sense of emotional intimacy over the summer. Again, the keywords are mutual and increasing, as in he shows as much interest in being with you as you do with him.

What are some surefire signs of a summer fling versus a real relationship?

Knowing you will likely share a few weeks together rather than a lifetime, enjoy the magic of the moments while remembering to keep your heart saved for the real thing. Summer flings are, by their very nature, bound by time and space.  So, plan on intensity to fast track the relationship. It is important to remember that passion under pressure can complicate future potential for evolving your summer fling into the real thing, as the man you deserve may interpret your rush to the bedroom as your typical pattern with men. Best to be very clear with yourself what kind of message you want to give to any man, summer fling or not.

If someone meets their fling/soulmate out of their home state (or out of the country!), is it best to leave it behind?

A wise woman knows that, unlike Hollywood’s best chick flicks, finding your soulmate takes time, testing and tenacity. If your summer fling holds the promise of growing into true love, distance should not stand in your way as you both decide to take your relationship to a deeper level.

What are some ways to make an out-of-state summer fling prevail?

Given that he shares the same feelings as you, maintaining communication is key. Texting may keep you connected…however for love to deepen, plan on talking in real time and for a long time, as in Skyping past your bedtime.

How can a college student juggle a summer relationship with the beginning of a probably-hectic school year?

You need to choose and then commit to your first priority. If being in a relationship is more important than a high GPA, you have your answer. Same goes for your choice to invest in your education, and future career and independence, and save true love for later.

What are some ideal expectations to have in mind for a summer to all-season relationship? 

If you both are deciding to take the relationship forward, the superficiality of the fling needs to shift to deepening conversations about each other.  Does he share your core values? What are his politics, his religious beliefs, his commitment to career and having a future family? How does he handle money matters? Is he patient and kind to women, children and strangers? What is his relationship with his family members? What is his history with significant others?  Learning these answers is how you begin to build the foundation for your future.  After all, if you want to walk hand in hand through life, it’s best if you are both walking in the same direction.

When she’s not watching for Blue Ivy sightings or doing some serious Facebook creeping, Khalea moonlights as a print/online journalism major at the REAL HU, Howard University. Follow her on Twitter at @letsbeKHAlear, or feel free to Twatch. Whatever works for you.

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