“Summer lovin’ had me a blast, Summer lovin’ happened so fast” – be careful before you belt out those first words. Although dating in the summer should be carefree and fun, sometimes sticky situations arise. Just imagine meeting a gorgeous guy on the beach and then finding out he used to date your roomie, or picture having a fling with your best friend’s brother only to still be daydreaming about your ex. College girls just like you share their sticky summer dating situations. Dr. Carole Lieberman, psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets, tells us what’s good and bad about each situation, and most importantly, what to do about it.
The Situation: You’re secretly hooking up and hanging out with an old high school friend
Rachelle*, a New York University student says, “Over the summer, I’ve started hanging out again with a friend from high school who has since broken up with his high school girlfriend, but it’s super sticky since we are friends with a lot of the same people and no one knows we have started hooking up/hanging out ... It’d be weird if they did know since we were all so close in high school.”
Pros: The first good thing about this situation for Rachelle and other collegiettes™ facing a similar dating dilemma is that you can conveniently hook up with this guy without having to deal with the whole long-distance thing. And since he went to high school with you and is in your same friend group, you know about his past – there are no dirty little secrets lurking under his handsome self. Dr. Lieberman says, “It can feel warm, comfortable and nostalgic to hook up with an old high school friend.”
Cons: Notice the phrase, “has since broken up with his high school girlfriend.” I’m not sure how much time has elapsed since said breakup, but if it has only been a few weeks or even a few months, proceed with caution. Since you haven’t told your friends the two of you are hooking up/hanging out, they may get mad when the secret is finally out. According to Dr. Lieberman, “The danger lies in falling for him and confusing nostalgia for love.”
What To Do: It seems as though the secretive aspect of this relationship is really getting to you, but if you like the guy, you should continue seeing him. You should both tell your friends you are hooking up (remember the old saying, “secrets don’t make friends”). If the guy and his ex have been broken up for a while, it shouldn’t be a problem to anyone. Who knows? There may even be another romance brewing in your circle of friends.
The Situation: You’re having a fling with your best friend’s boyfriend’s brother
Brittany*, an Oakland University student says, “I once talked to and hooked up with my best friend’s boyfriend’s brother for a few months in the summer. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made because it obviously never lasted past summer, and once summer was over, I still saw him all the time because my best friend was dating his brother. It was beyond awkward, and it still is!”
Pros: This is actually a great situation (while it lasts). You don’t have to choose between your best friend and your boy-toy because they will most likely be friends. It’s a plus for the guys, too, because they can spend time with each other and with their girls. Dr. Lieberman says this situation is positive because, “He could be the love of your life.” (Don’t we all hope).
Cons: As Brittany says, when summer came to a close and her little fling was over, “It was beyond awkward, and it still is.” This situation can turn sour for you if things end with you and the brother but your best friend is still happily dating her man. Be prepared for frequent encounters with the brother – friendly or fake. Also consider what Dr. Lieberman says, “This can get really messy if you start sharing secrets with him about your best friend, and he tells his brother, and the brother breaks up with her. Then you've lost a best friend and this new fling, too.”
What To Do: Make sure you reserve alone time for you and your guy as well as girl time with your BFF, and do not talk about either person behind their backs. This shows that you value each relationship on its own even if the situation was different and your love interest didn’t happen to be your best friend’s boyfriend’s brother.
The Situation: You’re dating a guy who used to talk to one of your close friends AND daydreaming about your ex
Tina*, a University of Michigan student says, “After breaking up with Chris* (we were on and off for about 5 years,), I kind of felt like I was having a midlife crisis, and I was incredibly lonely. I met Jake* at a bar one night, and we kind of flirted, but he was completely rude to me. Jake used to have a thing with my friend, so I knew him from before, but we never really talked until this night. Even though my friend and Jake ended things a month prior, my friend still liked Jake. About a month went by, and somehow Jake got my number. One thing led to another, and we hooked up. Then we hooked up again. I didn’t take it too seriously, but I felt bad about my friend who still had a thing for Jake. Of course, I procrastinated telling her, but she found out from someone else and told me it was her or him. I obviously picked her, but maybe I shouldn’t have. She told me my friends hated me; she told me I didn't think of anyone but myself. She never once asked if I was happy. I realized our friendship wasn't as deep as I thought it was. Jake and I still see each other, but I’m leaving for a job out of state in a month, and we agreed it’ll be over (but on good terms) once I leave. I’m completely okay with leaving what we have, even though it is kind of bittersweet. Jake even told me he loves me – twice. I don't really feel the same since I’m still kind of in love with Chris, or I think I am, anyways. Jake also asked me to be his “girlfriend,” aka with a title and that stupid Facebook official deal. I said no to this because anything that starts with “relation” and ends with “ship” scares me sh*tless.”
Pros: Although this is quite the sticky situation, sometimes it takes circumstances like this to find out who your true friends are. Spending time away from your ex and with a new guy may be the best thing for you. If you truly feel like you are having a midlife crisis, a new guy like Jake can keep you company and replace your loneliness with comfort and love. Dr. Lieberman says, “The guy could be cool and fun and a good distraction from the heartbreak you’re still feeling.”
Cons: Besides losing some of your friends over a guy (it happens to the best of us), you have to ask yourself if you really do like this new guy or if you are simply using him to get over your ex. This could come back to bite you when the summer fling is over and you are left right back where you started – lonely and still in love with your ex.
What To Do: You have to do what’s best for you in the long run. If it means staying with the new guy and keeping things casual until you leave for your job, that’s fine. If it means getting back with your ex (if he’s up for it), that’s fine, too. Just don’t lead anyone on – that will just make this situation much stickier and painful.
The Situation: You’re dating a guy you met at your summer job/internship
Christine*, a Central Michigan University student says, “I met a guy while working at a hospital this summer. We’ve always been kind of flirty during our shifts, and then, finally, one day he asked me out. It’s only been a few weeks, but so far, so good. I just hope he likes me as much as I like him and isn’t just using me.”
Pros: The two of you can exchange flirtatious looks and inside jokes at work. It’s thrilling to know that while you’re at work you have to keep your relationship professional, but then afterwards you can go out and be romantic. Dr. Lieberman says this is a good summer dating situation because, “You both share the same interests and enjoy working on the same challenges together.”
Cons: Your relationship could cause harm to your job and vice versa. Let’s say you get a promotion and your guy doesn’t. I’m willing to bet things will no longer be A-Okay in your romantic relationship. There’s also the chance work is the only thing you two have in common – and you can’t keep a relationship going with that. Dr. Lieberman says, “This temporary situation may obscure the fact that in other ways you are not compatible.”
What To Do: Spend time together outside of work and try not to let your conversations steer in the direction of patients or promotions. If there’s still a connection, voila! Also, try not to let your co-workers know that you two are romantically involved because dating on the job is frowned upon in many business settings.
The Situation: You’re going out with a guy your aunt set you up with
Courtnee*, a Michigan State University student says, “Last summer my aunt set me up with a guy named Ron* who works with her. He is a year older than me, but we go to the same college. At first I was hesitant, but then I decided I had nothing to lose, so I agreed to go on a date with Ron. Besides the normal first date awkwardness, things went pretty well. Ron was a nice guy and took me on a lovely date (minus the part where we went bowling, and my friends coincidentally showed up and bowled in the lane right next to us). Then he asked me on date #2. Again, I said yes, but there were no sparks. Ron, on the other hand, felt some sparks fly. I needed to end things before I dragged this guy along. So the next time he asked to hang out, I said the words guys never want to hear: sure but just as friends. That was the last time I heard from Ron, and according to my aunt, he barely spoke to her at work the next week.”
Pros: You get to meet a new guy and go on fun dates – what collegiette™ doesn’t love that? And your aunt gets to play matchmaker. The more you date, the more you learn what you like and what you don’t like when it comes to guys. Although Ron was super nice, you simply weren’t attracted to him, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The good thing? “You make your aunt happy for having tried, and you have a new experience,” Dr. Lieberman says.
Cons: Anytime you let someone play matchmaker, you have to consider the possibility that you may not like the guy. This situation is ultra sticky because work and relatives are involved. May I suggest keeping your work life, love life and family life separate? Otherwise, you may end up in the same situation as Courtnee, Ron and Courtnee’s aunt. This could be bad because as Dr. Lieberman says, “The guy gets angry at your aunt because you don’t return his attraction, and he makes life miserable for her at work.”
What To Do: The best solution is probably to find your own dates from now on or at least be okay with telling the guy things just aren’t working. Whatever you do and no matter who is involved in the set-up, do not settle.
The Situation: You’re dating a guy you met while studying abroad
Amy*, a University of Michigan student says, “I just got back from Spain and met the most adorable guy my first week there. Carlos* took me on the cutest dates and helped me with my Spanish. It was fun and romantic and spontaneous – just like you see in the movies! Carlos said he hopes to see me again, but I’m sure that won’t happen. Now, I can’t stop thinking about him and am afraid I won’t meet anyone here in the U.S. that I like as much as Carlos.”
Pros: Being in a foreign country and dating an awesome guy pretty much guarantees a great time. When you return to the U.S., you can share all of the steamy details with your BFFs. “Foreign love affairs are fabulously romantic and provide memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life,” Dr. Lieberman says.
Cons: As Amy says, you will probably never see the guy again. Dr. Lieberman points out the reality of an overseas love affair: “When it’s time to go home, you’ll leave your heart with him and long for this romance that may never be recaptured.”
What To Do: Enjoy the romance while it lasts but don’t have false expectations when you arrive back in the U.S. Unless you plan to fly to Spain every week, your relationship probably won’t last. Chances are, he’ll meet another girl studying abroad the next month and treat her just like he treated you. So get out there and find yourself a new Carlos – no crying allowed.
The Situation: You’re having a fling with someone you meet on summer vacation
Molly*, a Grand Valley State University student says, “I traveled to the Bahamas with my best friend and her family last month and had a fling with a guy named Eric*. We stayed up all night and kissed under the stars. It was the perfect summer fling – until it was time to leave, and I had to say goodbye to Eric.”
Pros: You meet a new guy and get to spend time together in a beach setting. Having a fling with someone you meet on vacation is like a mini escape from reality. Dr. Lieberman says, “Summer flings are carefree and fun, and all the better if you are on vacation.”
Cons: It’s a summer fling, so it will end eventually; since it’s taking place on vacation, it will end sooner than later. The mystery of this new guy could be just as sketchy as it is sexy – you just met the guy, so you essentially know nothing about him. Dr. Lieberman says, “You won't be able to get to know the guy very well, and he could be hiding all sorts of secrets – like an STD, a girlfriend or a wife.”
What To Do: Since you won’t get to know any guy too well, you should choose the guy wisely and only do what you’re comfortable with. If you’re on a family vacation, you have to be ultra careful. Just imagine if mom or dad walked in on you smooching a stranger … (It actually happened to me!)
Now that you collegiettes™ know the pros and cons of each sticky summer dating situation, you can approach the dating scene with knowledge and expert advice. I hope your summers are full of new experiences, new guys and new dating situations. Just be careful what you get yourself into because some dating situations are more trouble than they’re worth. If you’ve ever been in a sticky summer dating situation, tell us all about it below!
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons
Dr. Carole Lieberman, psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets[http://www.badgirlsbook.com/]