Flings can be emotionally thrilling rollercoaster rides. And, as fleeting as they can be, sometimes they can teach you a lot about sex, relationships and even love.
By Amanda Mtuli
Let’s be honest; we’ve all been there – picnics at the park, dinner, one too many drinks at the club and getting carried away with all the feelings. But, before you get swept off your feet, take a moment to establish whether this is a fling or the real thing. Because, if you don’t, you could end up with hurt feelings.
Fun and games
Asanda Masiza*, a 28-year-old junior accountant, had a two-week romantic encounter with a guy she met while on holiday. “When I met Trevor*, I was taken by his good looks; the man was sexy. He introduced himself, and we went out for drinks at the hotel later that night. He mostly talked about himself, and I was too taken by his physical appearance to notice that he hadn’t asked me anything about myself,” says Asanda. They continued to see each other throughout her vacation, and promised to stay in touch, but the day before she left, Trevor disappeared. “I was disappointed because throughout our courtship everything seemed to point to something more than just a fling,” she says. A romance which includes physical attraction, getting along with each other’s friends, a mutual desire to be in a monogamous relationship and shared interests is what everyone wants. With all of this in mind, how do you determine if the person you are with is just a fling or a long-term love?
Have you met his friends?
You have been seeing your partner for a while, but they are yet to introduce you to their family and friends. “When you meet someone that you feel deeply connected to, you want to flaunt them to your clique for their input and evaluation. It is like a rite of passage i.e. getting the thumbs up (or not) from the people whose opinions we value,” Shelley Lewin, a Cape Town relationship coach and counsellor says. If there is a delay in family introductions, it might be that your companion wants to draw their own conclusions about you without being influenced positively or negatively by others. Not everyone wants external opinions until they have made up their own mind. Although, ff it hasn’t happened naturally within two months, then you might want to consider an exit plan.
Out of sight, out of mind
Every time you’re together you’re all over each other; holding hands, being affectionate etc. But, when you’re apart the communication dwindles. “To be fair, busy people usually know how to compartmentalize their lives. They are focused and present with the task at hand which means that when you are not there, they are probably paying attention to something else. It’s only worth your concern if you know there are no busy schedules and careers demanding their attention. If the gaps between your visits are getting longer and there is little or no effort being made after work hours, it might be a case of out of sight, out of mind rather than absence makes the heart grow fonder,” Shelly says.
Where to from here
It is important to discuss your dating expectations early on. “Not everyone is looking for a lifetime partner. Some people are happy with recreational dating and seek relationships based only on fun and pleasure. There is no right or wrong, it’s just a matter of preference. It becomes an issue when you assume that the expectations of others are the same as yours. If your love interest is also looking for a long-term partner, introduce future-based conversations and pay attention to the responses. If someone is serious about you, they will be relaxed and pleased you raised it. If they are back-pedalling with a variety of excuses, then you will know where you stand,” Shelly cautions.
Signs that he’s stringing you along
- He talks mostly about his ex; what she did and never what he did to contribute to the breakup.
- Flirts with other women in front of you.
- He makes arrangements to meet up and then stands you up.
- Goes missing in action for days, then suddenly sends you flirty text messages.
- He never takes you on a proper date or his place, and always insists on meeting you at yours.
Find love that will last
“In my 13 years of coaching people who are looking for love, I’ve found that women are always lowering their standards. If you want more, ask yourself what your values are and then do the following,” says Theo Malherbe, director and founder of The Only Social Club – an exclusive dating service that offers professional matchmaking for South African professionals.
- Make a wish list; we all want to be flirted with and validated.
- Once you have figured out your list, be upfront with the person.
- Define your boundaries.
- Learn to say no.
- Know what your intentions are.
- Work through the relationship together, once you both have decided that you’re officially dating.