Now Reading
Fling Relationship – Definition, Signs, How to Get Over, and Everything Else

Fling Relationship – Definition, Signs, How to Get Over, and Everything Else

Updated on Nov 03, 2023

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Fling Relationship – Definition, Signs, How to Get Over, and More

So, you’re here to know about a fling relationship.

Uhmm… Uhmm… I am guessing you have a fling, or want to start a fling, or are wondering whether your fling relationship is turning into something serious… 😉

Well, whatever the case might be, calm down because you’ll find everything about it in this think-piece! Here you can even learn to start a fling and get over one.

So, let’s begin!

What is a Fling in a Relationship?

In fling relationships, people enjoy themselves sexually in a non-committal, non-exclusive arrangement. These bonds may or may not lead to relationships later on.

A fling relationship is a short-term arrangement or “relationship” between two people with benefits (usually sexual) without commitment or seriousness.

Flings can turn into serious, committed, and long-term relationships but on the off chance, your expectations might only hurt you.

People usually try out fling relationships on purpose to distract themselves from deeper issues of a painful breakup. However, both partners must ensure they’re on the same page via clear communication. Because if they’re not, the expectations can lead to a disaster.

Wondering how a fling is different from a full-fledged relationship? Let’s find out here…

Difference between Fling and Relationship

Many people, including me, at some point, mistook a fling for a relationship and got hurt immensely. Well, that’s the normal outcome when you’re young and have yet to know about the world. But, let’s make sure you don’t get hurt like that here…

1. People don’t invest time in flings… but in relationships

Communication is super important for a healthy relationship and with modern-day tech, it’s quite easy. So, nobody can give excuses that they were too busy to make phone calls or even send a text.

So, when partners don’t give each other time, it’s a fling. But if both sides try to pay enough attention and devote time, it’s a relationship.

2. There are no future talks in flings. A relationship will have a future discussion at some point.

A fling doesn’t have any conversation about the future because it’ll only last for a short while. When one or both partners know that they won’t stay in the long run, they avoid any sort of misleading conversation.

On the other hand, when it’s a full-blown relationship, couples share each other’s hopes and expectations for the future.

3. You keep your lives separate in flings. You introduce loved ones in relationships.

A short-term fling as opposed to a relationship never involves introducing either side’s friends and family because they’ll not stick together for long. Due to the lack of seriousness, this is unnecessary.

However, in relationships, couples eventually introduce each other to their loved ones.

4. Flings are sexual. Falling in love is the priority in relationships.

Most fling partners are only interested in sex… you enjoy carnal desire for a fleeting moment and that’s all.

In relationships, sex might be important but love, affection, commitment, and emotional intimacy are equally important. People in love even hold back on sex until they’re ready.

5. In a fling, either of you might have more partners… you’ll only have each other in a relationship.

When you’re with someone but either or both of you also have other partners… that’s nothing serious and is just a fling.

However, not having more partners doesn’t define committed relationships. In a relationship, partners don’t even flirt or think of other potential partners.

6. People jump in flings right after breakups… it’s not the case in relationships.

A fling is usually a rebound… People have it when they get ditched in a serious relationship and want to heal themselves with another person’s affection. It’s the result of unstable emotional decisions.

But if a person takes time to work on themselves after a breakup and then enters an arrangement, that’s more likely a relationship.

7. You spend on flings but invest in relationships.

If you both only enjoy spending and don’t try to invest for later, it shows you guys want a good time for now. This is the usual case in flings.

On the other hand, in relationships, partners will focus more on the long-term benefits of their expenses.

8. Sacrifices and compromises aren’t important in flings, but in relationships it is.

When faced with challenges and differences, in a fling, partners always focus on their selfish desires because the other person isn’t worth the extra effort.

But in such situations, committed partners in a relationship make sacrifices and compromises to keep sustaining the relationship.

9. A fling won’t care about your feelings… a partner in a real relationship will.

After a bad experience, a fling won’t try to cheer you up and will leave you to hit the party floor because that’s their priority.

However, in a serious relationship, partners care for each other. They can’t ignore their partner’s pain.

10. People keep flings off social media… relationships eventually become evident online

In fling relationships, people keep each other away from their circles… even to the point of not connecting on social media. They keep each other a secret from the world.

But serious relationships eventually become FB official and there’s clear online banter that shows that something is up between the two.

So, is a fling the same as hooking up? Let’s reveal the secrets here…

Differences between Flings vs. Hook-ups

Both fling and hook-ups are about sex. But in a hook-up, partners only mean to have one-night stands and never get in touch again. In flings, you regularly have sex with each other.

Since a fling is all about sex without commitment, most people feel it’s the same as hooking up, but there are differences.

A fling is a short-term non-committal relationship where people have sex multiple times and stay connected for a while for the sex. A fling is longer than a one-night stand.

On the other hand, hooking up usually refers to one-night stands. People don’t usually intend to stay in contact with their hook-up partner after they’re done for the night. However, some people might hook up multiple times, but that’s still far fewer times than a fling.

Wondering if your last relationship was just a fling?  Let’s know that here…

Signs it was just a fling

Some people bawl their eyes out for months after a breakup and don’t understand why the relationship didn’t work because they tried their best.

It’s only after ages when they have a taste of a real relationship when they understand it was a fling. But I’m here to help you realize that right away…

1. They avoided commitment like a disease

If that person always avoided the commitment and exclusive conversations or even overreacted when you discussed relationship labels, that’s a red flag.

Of course, every couple doesn’t have this talk around the same time and different people take different amounts of time to have this conversation, but if they actively changed the topic back then, it wasn’t anything more than a fling.

2. Your circles never mixed

If they never asked you to meet their friends… if they never asked you to join in a family party, that’s a glaring red flag. It’s possibly because they don’t want their important people to know about you.

It’s more vivid if they also tried to avoid meeting your friends and family and always asked you to step away from them to meet.

3. It was just all about sex

Sex is an essential part of romantic relationships. However, if you guys always spent time together having sex and nothing that connected you on deeper levels, they only wanted a superficial relationship with you… another warning sign of it being a fling.

If they never tried to spend time in other ways, that says a lot.

4. Only you initiated contact

It was definitely a fling if they always said they were busy and never contacted you. If ONLY you called/texted them daily and they never showed you that you matter… it’s probably because you didn’t.

You were a fling and they hardly had time for you.

5. You had too many last-minute plans

During your time together, remember how many times they asked you out last minute. You might assume they were spontaneous but over half of your dates were like that, you were not only a fling but also their last resort. They never respected you, so get over them ASAP.

6. They never experienced a long-term relationship

In your early adulthood, you might be someone’s first relationship.

Not trying to dismiss their lack of experience, but if they’re in their late 20s and still have no history of serious relationships… That’s a sign they didn’t want anything serious. In this case, you were probably also a fling.

7. Your meeting spots and times never changed

If you ever felt the dates always lacked creativity because you only went to certain places and at a fixed time, that’s another alarming sign.

Probably, they also had other engagements and fixed a spot and time slot for each of them… so they don’t get confused with others.

8. You weren’t even connected on social media

In case your partner didn’t send you a friend or follow requests on any social media or didn’t accept your connection requests while you two were together, that’s a tell-tale sign of a fling.

They didn’t want you to find out their posts of them hanging out with multiple others. An interested partner will always allow you in their “online” life.

9. Deeper conversations were completely absent

In a healthy relationship, people often share their hopes, desires, goals, and even past trauma. You have meaningful conversations and build an emotional connection together.

However, if they neither shared anything about themselves nor paid attention to you and instead focussed on superficial things like weather and Amazon Prime shows… that was a fling no doubt!

10. Your dates were always inconsistent

Remember how many days you went by before they scheduled the next date. In a serious relationship, couples usually want to meet at least once weekly.

Even if people can’t make it, they at least call to virtually spend a few moments together.

If they never had that time for you and there were long gaps between your dates, that was a fling. 

11. They avoid eye contact

When meeting new people in dating life, it’s normal to avert your gaze out of shyness. But even after a long time of dating, if a person avoids your eye contact, they aren’t emotionally invested in you and don’t plan to connect with you any deeper.

If your partner showed this sign, that’s a sign of a fling.

12. They never gave you one-on-one time

You feel you’re an important part of their inner circle when you hang out with their friends and family.

However, if someone always accompanied you guys and you can’t remember a date with just you two… that’s a pressing sign of a fling. They never wanted to spend private and quality time with you.

13. While you talked, they were always busy on their phone

In this era, phone addicts are everywhere… they can’t even visit the washroom without their phone.

But, medical reviewers say, if someone won’t look away from their phone even when their partner communicates, they don’t want to dedicate even a moment to them.

So, if something like that happened in your time together, know it’s a fling.  

14. They never deactivated their dating profile

Another tell-tale sign of being in a fling relationship is when your date doesn’t bother to deactivate their dating profile or uninstall the app.

They come up with lame excuses like “I didn’t have time to do it”. If that sounds familiar, you’re nothing but a fling and they are still seeking the perfect partner.

15. There’s no aftercare beyond sex

Think about the times you had sex. If they cuddled afterward, had sweet conversations, or tried to spend time with you, that’s a good sign.

However, if you don’t remember any of it happening and they were always busy with their friends right after sex, you probably felt used… but this heartbreaking sign shows you were just a fling.

16. Want me to spell it out for you? F-R-I-E-N-D-S

If they always introduced you to their people as a “friend” or told you directly that you guys are nothing more than friends, there’s no other honest and direct sign of a fling.

They didn’t hide the fact that they weren’t serious at all. If you thought their feelings will change with time, that’s wrong.

17. Even if you were FB friends, you were never tagged

Suppose you guys were connected online, but if they never mention or tag you in public posts, that’s another sign. Even if they wanted to keep it low for a while, FB mentions are common among partners.

When someone acts like you don’t exist on their social media, that’s because they’re ashamed of dating you and treat you like a fling.

18. They never remembered your birthday

If someone regularly sees and talks to you but can’t remember your birthday, your pet’s name, your workplace or college name even though you know each other for quite a while… that’s quite fishy, right?

Well, that just shows they aren’t interested enough to actually know you. Even if they nod while you share stories about your life… they just never paid attention to you, a fling.

19. They warned you against forgetting your things at theirs

While you dated them, if they hated it when you left your belongings at their place after meeting them… they clearly wanted to hide your existence from everyone or someone.

Of course, it was a fling if they hid everything about you because in their mind you weren’t an important person at all. They probably hid you from other flings.

20. They only text to sext

The only time they ever reached out to you was to talk dirty or ask you to come over for a steamy night. They can’t be any more direct about it being a no-strings-attached arrangement for sex.

Since they only needed you in their life to quench their sensual desires, you were nothing but a fling.

21. They are too moody to handle

In a healthy and serious relationship, your partner will behave consistently… sure they might have bad days and need space, but they won’t treat you like you don’t matter to them.

However, if they sometimes treated you passionately and other times you became the least interesting person in their life, they were probably too confused to understand that you’re a fling.

22. There was no public hand holding

Nobody wants to make their flings public, so if they never touched you romantically in a public place by holding hands, hugging, or kissing your forehead… it was a fling for sure.

Think about how close they came to you in public. If they treated you like any platonic friend, that just proves the point.

23. They didn’t bat an eye before standing you up

Sometimes, life doesn’t follow plan and we have to postpone dates because of personal and professional issues.

But, if they never gave it a second thought before canceling pre planned dates just because their friend invited them to the club, that’s another major red flag of a fling. If you were never a priority, it’s better to forget them.

24. They casually mention their exes

Though open communication is good… who openly discusses their exes with their current partner?

Moreover, if they often brought up their ex in your conversations, that showed they were still hung up on their ex… and you were not only a fling but also a rebound. While you accompanied them, they probably daydreamed about their ex.

25. They’re always running late

If they think meeting you isn’t as important and it’s alright to be late on dates, that just highlights their lack of commitment towards you. 

They don’t respect your time and hardly care about your feelings, which again shows you weren’t a priority to them… and probably you were just another fling they don’t mind losing. Because they’d try if they cared.

Do you think your fling is changing into something else? Let’s make sure here…

Signs it is more than a fling

Flings can change for the better into a serious relationship but it doesn’t happen with everyone. But if you think you’re that lucky one, I’m here to help you figure that out together here…

1. Everything is consistent

The greatest sign of it being more than a fling is consistency. They’ll regularly seek you for dates, initiate conversations, schedule a time to talk to you at least once in the entire day… whether it’s in person or virtually… and so on. This is a good sign as they’re invested in you.

2. You didn’t dilly dally with labels

If either of you brought up the topic of defining the relationship and you both agree on the same label, that’s a great kickstart. It shows you’re both into it and slowly stepping toward something serious.

3. Both of your loved ones know the other

People never introduce temporary or insignificant partners to their families. So, if they introduced you to their friends and family and look forward to meeting yours, it’s a good sign that you’re headed towards something serious. And, if you meet each other’s parents, that’s a green flag right there.

4. You have all kinds of dates

Usually, on dates with flings, people go out to places where they can’t be spotted by others… because they don’t want the word to spread.

On the other hand, they choose a closed space where they can get laid. So, if you have lots of outdoor dates including theme parks, dinner dates, etc. that’s a good sign.

5. You spend time without having sex

Moreover, when it’s more than a fling, your partner won’t force you to have sex too early. They’ll give you enough time to prepare your heart.

Even if you have a sexually active life, that’s not the only way you’ll spend your time. You’ll both make meaningful memories on your date… or even spend a day in silence.

6. You have plans for the future

If it’s April now and you both already planned to spend your Halloween, Christmas, or even the next Valentine’s Day together… That’s another of the important signs of a blooming serious relationship.

If it’s only a fling, they won’t react positively or enthusiastically to your plans, so look forward to a happier future.

7. Neither of you is seeing anyone else

Another sign of having a serious relationship or walking towards that is exclusivity. If you and your partner don’t seek any more potential dates other than each other… that pretty much tells your hearts’ story.

Flings are casual and usually include dating multiple partners. So, the decision to go exclusive says it all.

8. You feel the love

If you feel cherished, cared for, and special in this relationship, your guts say this is love, and you don’t doubt your partner’s actions, believe in it. In a fling, you’ll never find the peace and reassurance of being loved.

You’ll feel super happy and content with how things are and you’ll clearly notice that your feelings are mutual.

9. They’re concerned about your health

When you’ll get sick, if your partner cancels their Coachella plans with their friends… that shows you’re an irreplaceable part of their life. Your health matters to them much more than a week’s fun which they can always reschedule.

If they’re beside you in sickness and in health, why are you still wondering? Just be grateful and shower them with even more love.

10. They don’t shy away from PDA

Nobody touches their fling publicly because they want to keep it a secret… because what if someone from their family sees it… will they introduce you as their *Eff buddy*?

But if they confidently make you blush with sneaky kisses, hold your hand tight on crowded roads, or put their arm around you to protect you… that’s the sweetest sign of things escalating to something serious.

Do you feel flings are interesting? If you want one, then follow me here…

How to have a fling?

A fling is a great way to distract yourself from life’s stress when you’re not ready for a relationship. However, I don’t recommend having a fling while in a relationship unless you have your partner’s consent.

So, if you’re ready to have an ethical fling, here you go…

1. Create your ground rules

Figure out what type of behavior might make you fall in love. Write them all down and make sure you avoid that to keep it just a fling.

Set some rules to protect your sexual health and avoid sexually transmitted diseases like getting frequent checkups, using protection, and so on. Note these in a file on your phone… don’t keep it in your mind, you’ll forget them.

2. Get yourself someone fun and be transparent

Look for a fling online and around you. Make sure you mention on your dating profile “only interested in flings”.

When you find someone, explain what you expect from the arrangement, discuss your boundaries, and negotiate if you need to.

Never force someone into this arrangement deceitfully. If you have other flings or plan to have more, be open about it, especially if you’ll be sexually active with them.

3. Tell them to never expect anything

Before your fling partner catches feelings for you, remind them that you don’t want anything serious and they mustn’t expect you to change. Make it clear that your feelings about it won’t change magically like in movies… reality is far from that.

If you notice them acting like they’re your stable partner or being more demanding, remind them of the rules.

4. Keep distance from inappropriate and misleading actions

Never introduce your fling to friends and family because others might expect you to get married and spread the word that you’re taken, which is unfavorable.

You can’t let one fling be known to potential mates. Your family might get attached and can’t handle it when you separate.

Moreover, never exchange romantic gifts as your fling might mistake your actions and think they have a chance.

5. Understand when to end it

If your fling pressures you to become serious about them, the arrangement becomes bitter, you find a steady partner or the fling impacts some other area of your life like work or family, break off the arrangement ASAP.

Wondering why you need an ethical fling? Well, it’s so that nobody gets hurt because it’s extremely hard to get over a fling. Here’s why!  

Why is it hard to get over a fling?

While you seek a fling relationship, always explain your expectations and the future of the relationship.

Otherwise, without proper boundaries, your feelings might mesh in and either of you might be overly attached and have trouble getting over it. Let’s know the reasons here…

1. It might be a result of attachment issues

Based on your childhood attachment patterns, you might become emotionally and mentally dependent on someone even if you don’t plan to. You fall for them driven by your innocent expectations according to childhood experiences.

Moreover, if you feel they’re perfect and everything you ever desired to be, getting over them becomes even harder.

2. You assumed it was fate

If a fling relationship begins just when you feel broken and need someone to support you or if good things start happening in your life from the moment your fling relationship begins, you might have a misconception that your fling is made for you and that it’s all fate.

Your expectations and hopes from the relationship eventually increase, you believe they’re your destiny and it becomes tough to let go or even imagine a life without them.

3. The hormones and chemicals impact your thought process

Your body works with 3 neurotransmitters that make you feel good due to excitement, sexual pleasure, and attention – oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.

These chemicals are responsible for you getting attached to someone and “falling in love”. You start to crave these feelings and when the fling relationship ends, the craving worsens like withdrawal symptoms which leads to trouble letting go.

4. The rejection feels more bitter than ever

In flings, you don’t open up about your issues. You show off your cool and desirable sides. However, when the person that only knew about your charming side rejects you, you can’t accept that.

It’s hard to accept that you can be undesirable even without showing your baggage. This takes a huge toll on self-confidence and you wonder why you’re not good enough.

5. Reality hits too hard on the other side

Since most people have a fling to “heal” from a past relationship, it’s like a bandaid without any medication. It covers the wound, you’re distracted and assume the wound is healing deep within, and you don’t feel the pain for a while.

But when the bandaid is ripped off, you can see what’s wrong with your life… that you’re a bloody mess and have a lot of healing and work left.

So, you’re already in trouble? Let’s figure out an easy way to let go of the attachments…

How to get over a fling?

Figure out the issues and effects of the separation, make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle to deal with the effects and consult an expert if you can’t handle it on your own.

Don’t wait impatiently to heal, that makes the journey feel longer and tougher to deal with. Instead, focus on your issues due to your separation from your fling.

Some regular effects are isolating yourself from social situations, poor sleeping and eating routine, and thinking about your fling all day long until it hurts your functionality.

If any of these happen, try to incorporate healthy self-care. Try to spend time with loved ones, engage in your hobbies, sleep and eat well, and detach yourself from everything that reminds you of your ex. If you can’t cope alone, seek a mental health expert.

Wondering if you can turn a fling into something serious? If you fell in love with your fling, head right in…

How to turn a fling into a relationship?

Sometimes, even with the rules and boundaries, the heart doesn’t want to listen to logic. You might fall in love if you consistently meet someone and indulge in pleasurable activities.

But if you want to make it something mutual and lasting instead of a moment’s pleasure, let’s dive in…

1. Become good friends

Though people fear getting friend zoned, friendship is the best route to a person’s heart. Befriend them and they’ll feel more comfortable venting out to you and talking about random things.

However, don’t forget to respect their space and never force them to rush the process. You’ll reach your goals better if they feel comfortable and respected.

2. Be transparent unapologetically

You might be too scared to show your vulnerable or quirky side out of fear of judgment and rejection. However, in a healthy relationship, both partners must know each other completely.

So, make sure you show your true self. This will also make you more attractive as you’ll look confident. Make sure you stick to your own interests and don’t always go along due to the brewing love in your heart.

3. Don’t play too hard to get

Though it’s important to show your worth, don’t ignore them. Show interest in their life, send them media that you truly find funny so they’ll think you care for them, and also show what kind of memes or videos you like.

Send them gifts that don’t reek of commitment, invite them to dinner, go on fun trips together, and make more memories. This will show them how a real relationship with you will feel.

4. Make sure you’re not obsessing

Throughout this journey, have a clear mind. Stay alert for red flags and deal breakers and don’t let your feelings ignore any serious reason to not date them.

If you feel that they have no flaws, that shows you’re obsessing or are infatuated with them. You must snap out of it and chase someone only when you can embrace their flaws and not turn blind towards it.

5. Give it enough time

The journey from a casual fling to a relationship is time-consuming. So, you must put in enough effort and time to build the foundation. If you try to skip any crucial part, you’ll build a weak relationship that might crumble at any moment.

So, even if you can’t stand them flirting with another fling, don’t burst into tears. Emotional attacks might lower your chances. Don’t make hasty decisions and be patient.

The matters of the heart and body aren’t that simple to understand. So, if you have more questions, here you go…

FAQs of Fling Relationship

Whether a fling has any serious future, how long it might last, or whether it’s right to have a fling. Different people have different questions about flings and how these arrangements work. So, let’s clear your doubts for the last time here…

1. Can a fling turn into a relationship?

A fling can become a relationship if both partners eventually grow to love each other and it’s not unusual. But don’t forget that it all depends on both of your feelings and it needs time.

However, a fling may not turn into a relationship if your partner doesn’t feel the same way. In that case, you can’t change their feelings.

2. What is a casual fling?

In casual flings, people mainly have sex similar to a no-string-attached arrangement. They don’t have regular dates like in relationships. It’s a short and sex-only arrangement where both parties can have multiple partners.

3. What does ‘a fling with someone’ mean?

“A fling with someone” indicates you guys mainly have an active sexual life and there’s no love or future planning about the relationship. You have sex, leave out complicated emotions, and include almost nothing from traditional dating.

4. Is it OK to have a fling?

Well, if you and your partner communicated clearly about your needs and found out that you both want a commitment-free connection, a fling is great! Just enjoy what you like.

However, if you expect something serious and have one-sided feelings while your partner thinks you’re not a serious-commitment potential, that’s when it’s not okay to silently have a fling while your feelings are crushed.

You must talk about your expectations and if they can’t fulfill your desires, walk out of the relationship.

5. How long do flings last usually?

The length of a fling depends from person to person. It might be as short as 2 days, a weekend, or vacation, or as long as a couple of weeks or months… but not long enough to be a year.

It’s not even long enough to call it a short-term relationship that usually lasts for 2 years.

On the other hand, casual flings can be as long as 3 months.

In the end it all comes down to how each of you feels comfortable in the arrangement, your sexual compatibility, how you work around your schedules to meet your desires, and similar things.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Normally, anyone can mistake a fling for a relationship, so never be ashamed because you weren’t aware of where the relationship went. If someone doesn’t explain that they want a fling, it’s not your fault!

On the other hand, if you want a fling, don’t forget to explain everything to your partner and save them from heartbreak.

But if you want to change your fling into something serious, remember that time, patience and effort will help you. However, don’t sacrifice your self-respect for anyone!

Are you interested to know more about ‘Summer Fling’ then click here?