Perhaps you're reaching the end of your summer fling and now the seasons are changing. So it's time to decide whether or not you want to continue dating your partner into the Fall and beyond. You may have had fun together and perhaps there were moments of amazing passion, but do you really want them around once the trips to the beach have to come to an end, and you have to see each other in your everyday routine life?

Here, you'll find some questions you should ask yourself to gain some helpful insight into whether you should stay in your relationship, or go your separate ways.

1. Is it all sexual chemistry, or can you have a conversation too? The Urban Dictionary describes a summer fling as a sexual adventure which is free of commitment, hassles or drama, that endures through the summer season only. So if you want more in your relationship than just an ongoing sexual adventure, you should consider if you would want to continue hanging around with your summer fling, if casual hooking up is no longer an option. Think about it this way: if you think that discussing your phone bill with a customer services representative would be no more boring or unstimulating than chatting with your partner, the chances are that seriously dating your fling would be meaningless in your life path.

2. Are you both of the same mind-set when it comes to what your relationship means to each of you, or is one of you more into the idea of taking it to the next level than the other? Perhaps you aren't sure whether you want this commitment, while your fling is ready to snuggle up with you on your couch until springtime. Or perhaps you are the one who relishes the idea of waking up to this other person each day, while s/he would rather run a million miles away from you. In either case, this can’t work out and conflict is bound to ensue. Should you choose to carry on dating and either you or your partner are looking for more than the other can provide, it may be best to walk away now and avoid heartbreak. Don’t lead your fling on if you are uncomfortable about the notion of commitment with this person down the track, and if it is you who is experiencing unrequited love, you must take courage and let your fling go. You can find some inspiration in this article about mending your heart and moving on, but don’t fall into the trap of hoping and believing that your fling will miraculously fall in love with you and be unable to let you go. If either of you have doubts now, that couch will become a prison rather than a cosy place to spend time together.

3. Maybe there aren't fireworks now, but is it possible they could be ignited one day? With so many online dating sites available, people too often walk away quickly should a relationship not seem completely “perfect”, believing that they can readily find another person with the perception that there are so many options available. This is a dangerous concept, as anyone in a new relationship should not ask themselves if everything seems perfect 100% of the time. Rather, the issue is whether or not there is potential for the relationship to grow into something meaningful and special. While there are times that it is simply obvious that there is no chemistry between you (and most likely could never be), if even a small amount of chemistry and potential is there, it is always worth giving the relationship a chance to blossom. Sometimes, the best relationships grow from an unlikely beginning, and it is in fact quite common for couples to celebrate many happy years together after wondering about whether they could ever have kept dating in the first place. So don’t go expecting or looking for perfection now. If you are the type to break things off the first time conflict rears its ugly head, you might benefit from reading my article here on the myths of what a healthy relationship is. Who knows, if there is anything meaningful in your summer fling now, it could potentially turn into many anniversaries ahead to be celebrated, with many beautiful and romantic anniversary gifts to be exchanged.

4. Do you have fears about breaking up? If you're not sure if you want to continue dating your fling but are also hesitating to break it off, work out where your hesitation stems from. Is it fear of hurting your partner? Do you fear being alone?

The fear of causing pain for your partner may keep you in a relationship that isn't working out. Even if we recognize the signs that tell us we should walk away, we often ignore that nagging voice to avoid causing pain to the other partner. In this instance, you can learn some tips about how to gracefully end a relationship in this article to make it easier for yourself and your fling.

All too often, people also have a subconscious or even conscious need to be part of a couple, and buy into the idea that being single is lonely and isolating. This makes them afraid of being single as they worry this will make them appear undesirable, and they might worry about having to explain and even defend themselves to others. This fear can be so deep that they stay in relationships that have long passed their expiry date. Indeed, some people remain in very bad relationships due to fear of being alone, rather than walking away. If this is you, then you might want to find out more about why you get involved in bad relationships here, and what you can do about it to find a relationship you truly deserve.

However, and more importantly, are you worried about missing the time you have spent with this person? Did they touch you in a way that cannot be easily substituted by the company of another person? Is there an actual connection between the two of you? In this instance, the decision to remain together in order to explore the potential of this relationship, is the right one. 

In conclusion

A summer fling needs to have some substance to be taken to the next level, and the decision about whether or not to go ahead needs to consider your mutual feelings for one another, and be void of any fears that lead you to become attached to just anyone for the wrong reasons. From a more light-hearted perspective, ask yourself this question: Will your partner moan about being in your selfies and Instagram posts during the Fall? Everyone knows Fall is the time of year for cuteness and carefree fun with your loved one – shopping for pumpkins, taking hay rides, decorating gourds... If your partner is going to whinge about joining in with all of the activities that are a big part of this season, maybe you need to reconsider whether they should be invited into your intimate circle, and perhaps trade them in for someone who would love to go apple-picking instead!

I would love to hear your comments or answer any questions you might have about this post.

Yours sincerely,   

Dr. Carissa Coulston, Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hons), MPsychol(Clinical), PhD, MAPS