Men's Life Today: More Than Friends
Play Your Summer Romance Into Overtime
By Dr. Belisa Vranich
Even if you’ve never done a karaoke duet to the Grease song “Summer Lovin’,” you know how the lyrics wind down:
Sandy: “It turned colder – that’s where it ends”
Danny: “So I told her we’d still be friends … ”
Well, we don’t have to tell you that by the end of the movie, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta return to being more than just friends! Autumn didn’t kill their summer romance, so why should it squash yours?
Sure, there are hurdles to extending a summer romance. But if you start planning now, you might be able to morph your bikini babe into your snow bunny.
Problem: She lives far away.
During the summer, you worked in the same company, camp or beach resort, so the fact that her year-round home is two hours and $26 in gas away wasn’t a problem. Now it is.
Solution: Line up your calendars. A bit of good, old-fashioned planning can fairly divvy up long weekends and holidays. (Doing this while you’re still relaxed and have sand in your shorts is easier than trying to read her mind later.)
Problem: Long-distance love interests return.
Your girl comes back from her summer internship (darn -- you’d conveniently forgotten all about her!), or worse, her former love interest comes back from his sports-training camp. And his nickname is Skull Crusher.
Solution: Make a pact to give yourselves a week, then talk about the status of the other love interests. Maybe hers will get deployed and yours will decide she didn’t like you anymore anyway. OK, things will probably be more complicated than that. But take a few days, then talk honestly to assess the situation and see how you feel.
Problem: Real life replaces summer.
Reality comes crashing down: The semester starts, or your boss is complaining about end-of-year goals, and all too soon you have to plan holiday gifts. Ah! What happened to your happy summer problems like whether to get rainbow or chocolate sprinkles?
Solution: Start to negotiate real life again, and you’ll see if your relationship has any depth. Sure, you’ll yearn for July, but now you’ll be slapped out of being summer-happy and more able to see if you really are good partners in communicating and balancing life responsibilities.
Problem: You discover you’re from different worlds.
Summer routine and gear (read: shorts and T-shirts) were great levelers. But now with autumn here, you have to deal with old friends, hobbies, responsibilities, parents and siblings -- all of which might be very different from hers (maybe she’s an uptown girl and you’re a backstreet guy, or vice versa).
Solution: Gauge the degree to which difference matters to you. If your September through May was pretty predictable, life isn’t. The chance to see and appreciate differences in people starts now. Maybe you have some learning to do, maybe she does. Perhaps it’s just a matter of telling your friends to simmer down and make room for your girl. Regardless, have an open mind.
Problem: Your relationship’s turning digital.
Now it seems time is scheduled into blocks and you can’t be as flexible with meeting up. In fact, texting is no longer a communication option -- it may be the only way you can touch base during the week.
Solution: Make time for phone talk (remember that?) and Skype. They’re not as real as skin on skin, but they’re much better than just sexting in monosyllables while you wait at the gas station. You can even get really crazy and send a paper card, snail-mail-style (watch how amazing she’ll think that is!).
Dr. Belisa Vranich is a clinical psychologist, author and public speaker specializing in relationships and sex. She is also a member of the Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute and a sexpert at GoodInBed.com.