As summer is nearing its end, many students are returning to school and single parents will now have a much different schedule to adhere to.
So with the change of seasons, how do you know if you can handle a long distance relationship this fall? If your guy is still in town, how do you know if your passionate summer love was just a fling or the real thing?
If you notice your relationship is tapering off as we lead into Labor Day, should you part ways as friends now that summer is over and wish each other well, or sign up for another season of love?
I've always said that long-term relationships should go through multiple seasons to determine if you're compatible with your significant other or not. Yes, winter, spring, summer and fall. All of them, each with their unique beauty and differences can help you pass the test of time.
As cliché as it sounds, we know there is some validity to the three-month honeymoon phase. At first, everything about the other person is exciting. From giggles and hiccups to their exercise regime, you just suck it all in like a sponge that won't dry out.
When these relationships peak in the summer, it's often hard to tell whether it's lust or love with all of the outdoor heat, but oddly, as the summer ends, it's not unusual to start receiving less text messages from your beau. The days in between getting together seem to be getting longer while the days start to become shorter. The routine of your love life just isn't as exciting as it used to be.
During months 3-6, the "imperfect stage," don't be surprised if your single girlfriend sees your guy's profile reactivated online. He may just be fishing to see who else might write to him, even if he isn't setting up any dates.
After that, you may find out about a few Facebook chats that were incorporated into the routine to create distance between the two of you. Then someone notices a Facebook check in, he's busted and there's a major explosion.
If you can relate to this feeling or sequence of events, the problem may not be with the calendar, but more often-than-not be related to serious commitment issues that one of you may be struggling with.
The next think you know, someone isn't sure if they're feeling it anymore. Rather than be honest about the relationship, they're cultivating conversations on Facebook with high school or college pals to create distance, and the trust dissipates. It's the beginning of the end.
Why do so many of these relationships end when the summer is over?
Weather changes, months change, routines change and even those relationships with the best of intentions run their course. At the end of the summer, it's like the end of the calendar year. People reevaluate their relationship statuses and decide whether to renew for another three months.
If you feel this is happening to you, have the conversation first with your partner sooner, rather than later. Don't toss away the relationship so quickly. Acknowledge all of the amazing things you've done together as a couple and honor the memories you've shared. Ask the other person if there's anything they can do to keep the relationship alive. Remember, bumps on the road are an opportunity for personal growth within a relationship, and are not necessarily the beginning of the end.
If at the end of your conversation, you feel you aren't compatible or someone has already strayed, wish each other well, before you start logging on for love looking for their replacement.
It's important to mourn the loss of your relationship, because your friendship, bond and the daily connectivity will abruptly end. Trying to get together immediately as friends during this emotional time is not a good idea. It will backfire. There's no such thing as a mutual breakup where everyone is happy. One person might think it will lessen their guilt. I'm here to tell you that it won't. You fell in love with someone for a reason, not a season.
If you find that your summer love has ended, don't reactivate your online dating profile for at least a week. Sure it's great for your ego to get people lining up to meet you for dates, but it isn't fair for someone new not to get the best shot of you. Dating while you're still pining away for your ex can increase your sadness. You're a walking-wounded person and it's healthy to take a break.
After enough time has gone by and you both have moved on with other relationships, it's possible to be friends with your summer romance in another season, but in my experience, you truly need at least six months to segue a romantic relationship into a friendship. But then again, do you really want to be friends with someone who broke your heart?
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. She's the author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating and creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more dating advice follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt.