Summer love isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. We see it in the movies and read about it in cheesy novels, but are summer flings really worth it? Even the hottest of summertime love affairs feel rushed and usually end with someone getting hurt by September. We can’t all have a love story written by Nicholas Sparks, so who’s to say that we should waste this summer on love (even if there are no strings attached)?
We asked relationship expert, psychologist and author Dr. Carole Lieberman to weigh in on why having a summer fling may not be right for you.
1. You don’t like being tied down
During summer break, being tied down could end up holding you back. “Summer, even if you have a job or other responsibilities, is more carefree than the school year,” Lieberman says. “Being single allows you to meet more people and make more spontaneous plans. You don't have to feel tied down to a relationship.”
2. You put your social life first
Another downfall to a summer fling is the possibility of it negatively affecting your friendships.
“I spent a lot of time with [my summer fling] and canceled plans with my friends whenever he called me,” says Olivia, a junior at Michigan State University. “I let him control my summer, which I definitely regret. Not only was there hurt when things ended, but there was also hurt between my friends and I because I blew them off all the time.”
It’s easy to ditch your girlfriends for a new romance, but remember that they’ll be the ones who’ll support you if your fling doesn’t end well!
3. You love summer love stories (a little too much)
Movies like The Last Song or even Grease can influence our expectations about finding love during the summer season. According to Lieberman, “these films and books romanticize the idea of summer flings and make you believe that yours will be as thrilling.”
Summer romance movies try to tell us what summer love should be, which means we can’t help but have high expectations for our own flings—which they may not be able to meet. Instead of obsessing over having a perfect summer romance, save yourself the impending letdown and focus on other ways to make your summer great.
4. You’re worried about getting attached
There seems to be an expiration date on relationships that begin when school gets out. “Summer flings don't usually last, because when summer ends, one or both of you go back to a different life often separated by geography, lifestyle and goals,” Lieberman says. “The joy of a summer fling comes from it being a lighthearted interlude and escape from your regular life.” However, it’s normal to get attached to someone you develop feelings for.
Kelsey*, a senior at Bowling Green State University, has experienced this firsthand. “He decided not to continue our fling because he was going off to school,” she says of a past summer fling. “So, yes, distance was the main reason, but it was really just an excuse for not wanting to commit. I saw it coming, but that didn't make it hurt less.”
5. You don’t like feeling rushed
If you’re looking for a relationship, don’t rely on summer romance to find The One. As Lieberman says, “summer flings can be a great way to experience someone new who is ‘not your type’ and who introduces you to some exciting experiences, but there can be a downside if you rush into things and are not careful. Girls feel pressured to find summer love because they want to have something exciting.”
Don’t go looking for summer love if it’s for the wrong reasons. These seasonal flings seem to be stuck on fast-forward, so don’t feel pressured to find a special someone to spend the summer with. When the clock runs out, it’s just a matter of time before one or both of you end up trying to mend a broken heart.
There are other ways to have an exciting summer, so don’t feel bad about not wanting a summer love! Whether you’re spending the summer working, taking classes, interning at your dream company or just hanging out with your friends and family, there’s no need to have a summer fling if you’re already having an amazing time. Focus on yourself and just have fun this summer. Summer flings aren’t for everyone!