Is it a real thing, or just another summer fling?
HOW can you tell if what you think is a blossoming relationship is not a holiday fling on the other person's part? Let our love doctor Gabrielle Morrissey help you out.
QUESTION: How can I tell if what I think is a blossoming relationship is not a holiday fling on his part?
I met a great guy at a party but it's the holidays and he's mentioned that a few times.
I feel like he's giving me mixed messages.
On the one hand he's very attentive and we're seeing each other regularly - a few times a week - but on the other hand he's always dropping hints (if that's what they are or am I over analysing?) about needing to travel over the holidays and all the commitments he has to visiting his family and seeing old friends.
If it was a relationship wouldn't he want to invite me along? Or is it too soon?
How do I know if this is a relationship that is going somewhere, or if it's just a summer fling?
ANSWER: This is a question that can be asked any time of year, except yes, during the summer, and during the holidays especially, there is a tendency for the dating scene to be a bit casual - footloose and fancy free, if you will.
That doesn't mean however that people don't meet, fall in love and make commitments to one another during the summer holidays. Many a holiday romance has grown into something serious and lasting.
So how can you tell? You can analyse every word and nuance, but the most direct way is to ask of course.
If you've only been dating a few weeks, pressuring with "where is this going, can I spend the holidays with your family" may not only be premature, but it may actually spell the ending of what could be a promising relationship.
Take a deep breath and ask yourself: how important is it that I have the answer to the question, "where is this going?" right now?
Can I wait longer and see how things develop before I ask the question?
If you can wait, enjoy the thrill of being with someone new.
Those first weeks and months of dating someone are charged with biochemicals that make you feel fantastic.
And it's even better to be enjoying feeling sexy and loved up during the relaxing summer holiday weeks.
If you don't have to spoil it with an impatient, pressured conversation about "are we committed to each other, can I meet your family now?", then hold off. Usually, feelings make themselves known in good time.
You'll be able to hear him say how much he cares for you, or loves you, when he's ready.
If you're worried about wasting your time, because you in fact want to settle down, and have little to no interest in a fling - summertime or anytime - then open your eyes and ears and pay attention.
Often mixed messages are only mixed because they are filtered through what we hope they might be saying and feeling.
Does he touch and snuggle with you any old time, regardless of sex?
Does he mind public displays of affection or is he happy to let the world know he is with you?
Does he listen to you and remember things you've told him, little and big? Does he remember things you've mentioned about what you like and don't like, what's going on in your life and then integrate them into your dating life?
The summer holidays can often go either way for relationships: they can be a time of being super casual and enjoying the gorgeous sun and heat, or they can be a time of serious solidification of status - people get engaged, they go home to meet the parents, they travel together and test the relationship outside of their comfort zones.
If you've only just met a month before, and you're not sure if it will be short or long term, pay attention to reciprocity as you're dating.
A relationship that is going somewhere experiences increasing intensity and reciprocity, which is when date by date one person shares a bit more of themselves and the other person then does too, until intimacy builds, trust is created, and a bond forms to make you feel close, connected and eventually committed.
If you're still hearing mixed messages from him, ask him if he'll kiss you at midnight on New Year's Eve - and many more midnights after that, and see what he says.