You’ll never forget when you first saw him – at the beach, at the pool, walking around your hometown… He’s what you were looking for or what you were trying to avoid (if you, like us, aren’t a fan of goodbyes). He’s been your constant companion and the source of your denial about the impending school year. Your girls would argue that he’s the ‘Danny’ to your ‘Sandy’ à la “Grease.” Who is he? Your summer fling, of course!
It’s a bittersweet relationship. At first, it seemed like an awesome idea to start up a romance when the whole summer was yours for the taking. Summer is about enjoying a break from the typical semester life and kicking back a little, right? But as summer went on and the two of you got closer, you were reminded of the all-too-true fact: come August or September, your relationship would face inevitable change. You have to make a decision: do you stay together or call it quits?
At this point, you may be weighing the pros and cons and have a general idea about what you’d like to happen with the relationship. Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one with a stake in the decision. You may be wondering if what’s running through your mind is similar to what’s running through his. Does he want to see where your relationship goes? Does he even have the time once school starts? What would he expect of you if you continued on with your relationship? All are valid questions to ask, and if you’re searching for some answers, you’re in luck: Her Campus talked to 14 guys around the country about their thoughts on making a summer fling last into fall!
The Big Factors
Here are the top three things to consider when prolonging your summer fling according to guys:
How often you and your sweetie are able to see each other is obviously affected by how far away you are from each other. You’re in Cali and he’s in The Big Apple? You might find that the distance is too great to make your relationship worth it (or even make it work). About 15 percent of guys said distance was their biggest factor. Jacob, a sophomore from the University of Iowa, learned this from experience: “My ex-girlfriend and I had a good relationship, but ultimately we were going to different schools (that were far apart) and we still had three years of school left. A few months or even a year of long distances would’ve been worthy of consideration… But there was no way I’d do that for three years.”
Dylan, a junior from Wichita State University, said that he’d think about distance before the relationship got to be serious: “If we were too far apart, I wouldn’t allow myself to become too attached to begin with.”
Almost 50 percent of the guys we talked to said that ‘seriousness,’ or how much potential they saw in the relationship, was the most important factor in deciding whether or not to stay together. “Ultimately it depends on what you're looking for,” says Cliff, a senior from Arizona State University, “If you are hoping for a real long-term relationship and you see that your summer fling has potential to turn into that, you shouldn't let the other factors get in the way.”
If you and your guy are both involved in a ton of organizations or working part-time jobs, you may want to ask yourselves if you even have the time to maintain a relationship (especially if distance is involved and you’d want to communicate regularly). Twenty-five percent of guys, including Ben, a senior from the University of Missouri, said that time commitment would be the biggest factor in their decision. “I’m way too busy for a girlfriend during the semester,” said Ben. “I don’t want a relationship to be a top priority in my life right now so I don’t see myself devoting time out of my day each day for that. I’d rather wait until I’ve graduated [to be in a relationship].”
If It’s Not Worth It… End It (Gracefully)
You and your summer love may decide that these factors (and more) are too much of a burden to make a relationship worthwhile. However, it can be awkward/sad to end a relationship when you’ve been enjoying it. So, how do you end things? Completely cut it off or keep in touch? The guys say:
“Assuming I was able to avoid getting too attached knowing we’d be apart in the fall, I’d love to stay friends.” – Dylan, junior, Wichita State University
“I would hope to at least be on good terms. Obviously it's hard to plan out whether or not you'll keep in touch/stay friends but the best thing to do is be open-minded, don't try to force it, and if it's going to happen it'll work itself out in the future.” – Cliff, senior, Arizona State University
“I would keep in touch and stay friends but keep it at a healthy minimum. Too much contact would probably just make one, or both, of us miss each other more, and that would just make the situation more difficult.” – Jacob, sophomore, University of Iowa
If It Is Worth It… What Next?
If you decide that you want to give your relationship a shot, be aware that you and your guy may have different ideas about what actually constitutes said ‘relationship.’ You’ll want to discuss this with each other beforehand. How often do you want to see each other (whether you’re at the same school or not)? What are your expectations of each other in the relationship? This will be easy to discuss if you’re at the same school. But, if you’re not, that’s when things get tricky.
How to Communicate
We asked guys to rank their preferred mode of communication if they were to continue on with a summer fling. Here are the top five in order of most preferred to least:
- In-person visits: 36 percent
- Skyping: 28 percent
- Phone calls: 18 percent
- Texting: 17 percent
- Letters/mail: 1 percent
Jacob explans, “You can’t beat face-to-face communication. It’s hands down the best way to keep in touch. I would make an effort to try and visit each other and if you can’t, Skype is the next best thing.” Guess you’d better get ready to smile for the camera, collegiettes!
How Often to Communicate
How often would guys want to communicate throughout the week? All guys surveyed would want to communicate at least once a day, but how much they want to communicate during the day varies. About 75 percent of guys would want to communicate a little bit everyday (with texting throughout part of the day or a short phone call).
“I would hate to talk so much that I’d feel bored or uninterested, but it’s nice to connect everyday.” – Dylan, junior, Wichita State University
“I don’t think anyone’s life is interesting enough to be constantly texting about it everyday. I’d rather have some space for some of the day, accumulate things to talk about, and then text a little or a talk at night. It wouldn’t always have to be short but I wouldn’t want to feel pressured to talk for hours each night, either.” – Ben, senior, University of Missouri
About one-fourth of guys would want to communicate more, with texting throughout the entire day or a longer phone call at night.
“Communication is … important [in] any relationship, especially in one as difficult as a long-distance relationship. Obviously there will be times where there's no time to talk, in which case both parties will have to be patient, but long-distance relationships require effort from both sides to keep in touch.” – Cliff, senior, Arizona State University
If You’re Both Busy
The act of communication itself isn’t difficult in this day and age – but making time for it can be. If busyness was a factor in you’re decision, you’ll have to plan for it ahead of time or end up living the reality that Jacob fears: “I wouldn’t ever want to be in a situation where my girlfriend would say that she wanted to Skype later that day so I’d make time for her and wait until she could, only to be blown off because she was too busy.”
How to deal: Be patient with each other and set goals for how much time you’d like each other to devote to the relationship. Obviously, life will get in the way of these goals sometimes. But having a general guideline will hold you both accountable when you may be slacking in the relationship.
Worries, Worries, Worries
No relationship is without some tough times. You and your guy may have some apprehensions about making your summer relationship last into the fall, but the difficulties don’t end once you’ve made the decision to continue dating. What do guys think they’d worry about the most if they were in this kind of relationship? About 40 percent of guys said time commitment (as discussed earlier) was their number one worry. But, about 25 percent of guys said this would worry them even more: temptation.
Whether he’s worried about someone tempting you to hook up or being tempted himself, there’s no doubt that you and your guy may run into these kinds of troubles whilst in the ‘party culture’ of college. Jacob, a sophomore from the University of Iowa, thinks atmosphere could greatly determine what choices each person makes: “When alcohol and partying is involved, I’d be worried for both of our sakes (when it comes to temptation). You’d both have to be really committed to the relationship. I’d have a hard time not being kind of concerned if I knew she was going out to bars or parties a lot without me ever being there with her.”
How to deal: establish trust. If you and your guy can’t trust each other, then temptation will only be one of your many worries in the relationship. And if either of you find yourself in a sticky situation, be honest and upfront. For example, if you have a guy friend that got too close when your other friend was being shutter-happy with her camera, just explain the whole situation and don’t try to hide it. It will only seem like you’re lying about something.
Every summer fling situation is different. Just because these guys feel a certain way about how they’d like a relationship to go doesn’t mean that your guy will feel the same. You may have to do some of the detective work yourself and figure out what he’s thinking! Hopefully, hearing from these guys will give you a starting point in your summer fling decision.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation before, we’d love to hear how you and your guy dealt with it in the comment box below!