Summer love is in the air. This Fourth of July, reality star Kylie Jenner was seen spending time with movie star Jaden Smith -- son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The teenagers have also been spotted holding hands at the movies and having fun with the Kardashian sisters and friends at a Justin Bieber concert. Recently Kylie wished her "best friend" Jaden a happy birthday on her blog alongside a picture of the two of them together.
Both Jenner, 15, and Smith, 14, have been in the spotlight for many years. Kylie and her sister Kendall were often seen bopping around the Jenner house in early seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Jaden starred in the 2010 Karate Kid re-make, and has been in other movies, as well. They both know the glory, and the glare, of the limelight. But that doesn't mean they're lining up for a full-fledged long term romance. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between first love and summer love, but it does raise the question, does summer love really exist? The short answer is absolutely. The very fact that it has a name and a timeline defines it.
People are much less inhibited during the summer, not only because they are out of their normal routines, but also because they are wearing lighter clothes. Sexy is in the atmosphere because it is easier to check out other people's bodies. We aren't bogged down under heavy coats and long pants. In addition, people tend to travel more -- to tennis camp, to explore a national park, to see Paris for the first time -- so they are putting themselves in new situations where they might meet people they wouldn't otherwise encounter. Summer love can be liberating because, since there is a definite end mark, it can take away the pressure of worrying about what will become of this relationship. These connections have a shelf life. That can bring a wild abandon which will add to the excitement.
So why then do so many people approach Labor Day with a broken heart? Here are a few tips that might help you enjoy your summer fling and then start to let it go when we turn the calendar page to September. To begin with, avoid talking about and trying to label the relationship. Keep the whole thing footloose, fun, and fancy free. Go with the flow and the good feelings, but don't get caught up in wondering where it will all lead.
If your relationship becomes sexually intimate, don't think of it as a down-payment on a longer commitment. Know going in that it does not necessarily assure you a future with this person. If you make the choice with that in mind, you won't be surprised on the other side.
Finally, try not to express wide, sweeping feelings of love and instead focus on the good times you are having together. Live in the moment. Rather than saying, "I love you so much, and I want to be with you forever," say something more like, "This weekend was really great. I enjoyed spending time together." In other words, share your position of pleasure in the moment without looking to talk about what that might mean. If, on the other hand, your summer love partner tries to pin you down, the best way to handle it might be to put the answer on hold -- tell him or her you will revisit that at summer's end.
Though you never know when a relationship might bloom, or how long it will last, summer love isn't always meant to be forever. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This might be the perfect time for Kylie and Jaden to be playful and spontaneous, and experiment with their roles in a relationship without the burden of high stakes and big responsibilities. They have a few more weeks of summer to decide if things are serious, or not. They'll both be heading back to high school in the fall.
Please tune in to "Let's Talk Sex" which streams live on HealthyLife.net every last Tuesday of the month at 2 PM EST, 11 AM Pacific. We look forward to listener call-in questions, dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships, at 1.800.555.5453.
For more on Dr. Greer, visit DrJaneGreer.com.