Relationships

How to turn a summer fling into the real thing

iStockphoto.com Author: Canadian Living Credits: iStockphoto.com

Relationships

How to turn a summer fling into the real thing

Connecting with someone new in the summer can be as easy as bonding over a shared favourite burger joint or witnessing the same beautiful sunset. But, as the days get shorter and gelato season comes to a close, there are a few tried-and-true techniques to help your relationship evolve beyond summer-fling status.

We spoke with a few lucky couples who took their summer hookups to the next level, and they were happy to share their insider tips on how you can too.

1. Meet the parents
The desire to get to know aspects of your crush's personality beyond what you see once a week on the beach or baseball field indicates that you two have long-term potential. One surefire way of giving your fling some staying power is to expand your introductions and get to know who you may end up spending Thanksgiving with.

"I met my current girlfriend in an intramural summer softball league. We would banter a bit during warm-ups and she had a good sense of humour when I mocked her batting stance. I would say that I knew it was going to be more than a summer thing when her family flew in for a visit halfway through the summer and I actually wanted to meet them and see what she was like in a different light." -- Mike, 35, Toronto

2. Find other things in common
Although one summer activity (be it a summer job or sports league) has brought you together, try to find broader common ground. Share likes, dislikes, secret obsessions, hobbies and hidden talents.

"I met my husband when we were both working at a call centre in New Brunswick one summer -- not exactly an inspiring setting for romance. I looked forward to every break and every lunch hour to get the chance to talk with him. At first we bonded over how much we hated our jobs but, as we got to know one another, we discovered a mutual love of outdoor music festivals, Canadian indie bands and travel. I knew we were going to last more than the summer when we quit our jobs at the same time to drive to Montreal for the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival." -- Kelly, 33, Moncton, N.B.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover two more ways to turn your summer fling into a more serious partnership on page 2. 3. Stay balanced
No doubt summer is the sexiest season, and all those girls in short skirts and guys with their collars popped could cloud anyone's judgment, but success rates for long-term love are lower when the physical-emotional balance is out of whack.

"I think you know you want it to be more than just a short-term thing when it's not just about the physical aspect. Chemistry is important, but the best relationship I ever had started when she was a summer temp and I was a new hire in the same office. We spent a lot of time stealthily flirting via email all day. It was almost like we dated via correspondence, and keeping that initial distance was great for getting to know one another on an intellectual level first." -- Steven, 34, Ottawa

4. Do something out of context
Take your fling out of the natural habitat you share to see if the spark burns bright or fades away. Will that passionate temperament you love to see on the soccer field be as endearing when his patience is tested at a crowded street festival or behind the wheel stuck in traffic on your first road trip? Try getting out of your summer comfort zone to really see if you're a complementary couple.

"My friend has a cottage on a small lake just outside of town where we spent long weekends every summer. I would always look forward to seeing one guy in particular on those weekends. He asked me out for dinner when we were back in the city, but I was afraid that our connection only existed when we were cuddling by the evening campfire. It turned out that we had an even better time in the real world, so much so that we were married beside that lake seven years ago this year." -- Andrea, 39, Ottawa

Summer is a great time to begin a relationship, and finding other common interests, spending quality time together in and out of doors, and experiencing coupledom outside of your usual day-to-day activities are great steps for taking your relationship from casual to exclusive come fall.

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How to turn a summer fling into the real thing

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