The faux vacation fling

You had an instant, magical, mutual connection. On the first date you both expressed how attracted you were to the other, and how much you enjoyed your time together. He kissed you on the cheek during dinner, showing that he was a gentleman — not assuming privileges too soon.

After dinner, neither of you wanted the date to end, but the restaurant was closing. You didn’t want to say goodnight just yet. The waitress suggested a bar for “mature people” which you interpreted as anyone over 30. You struck out in pursuit of a place to linger with some unobtrusive dance music. The suggested tavern had morphed into a hard-rock, under-30 place. You found a nearby lounge at a chain restaurant, so cozied up in a booth for more time together until it, too, closed.

You couldn’t wait for the first kiss. It was as yummy as you’d hoped. You said goodbye for the evening. He promised to call the next day. He did. He called every day for the next four days, when you saw each other again. The hours passed quickly as you hung out, enjoying holding hands, talking, and sweet kisses. No pressure to go beyond simple affection — he wasn’t pressing for sex. More expression of your both feeling close to each other. At the end of the evening, you felt you’d found someone with whom you could spend the rest of your life. Yes, you realize this was happening quickly and knew your friends would tell you to slow down, but you hadn’t felt like this in years.

He called the next day and the next and the next. But there was no definite time set to get together. You called him and asked about lunch or dinner, but there was always some reason he couldn’t set a day and time — meetings, business dinners, evening classes, short business travel. Was he in a relationship and just trying you out to be his spare? Had he changed his mind about how he felt? Had he been feeding you lines? Was he a player? If so, he would have pressed more for sex.

You toy with getting angry and telling him off. But you don’t really know what’s going on. He does call, so you think he’s still interested. You struggle to not take it personally. He never really said he’s finished; he’s just not making an effort to get together again. But he does still stay in touch. You’re tempted to cut the cord, but decide there’s no loss with staying the course.

This has happened before, where things began swimmingly, deliciously, fabulously, only to have the connection dissipate. You can blame him for whatever (being a coward, leading you on, apparently lying, being uncommunicative), but that doesn’t really get you anywhere. You could blame yourself (easily wooed, heart on your sleeve, needy, see things as you’d like them not as they really are, you get your hopes up too quickly), but that doesn’t get you anywhere either.

vacationI’ve decided that when I have these fizzled encounters — which luckily are rare — I will reframe them as vacation flings. So what if I wasn’t really on vacation, or if these assignations happened within 25 miles of my house. A vacation fling is full of juicy romance, yet you know it is unlikely to continue when you return home. The difference between a real vacation fling and a faux, close-to-home one is with the former you know going in that it isn’t going to last. With the latter you have to reframe it in retrospect — rewriting a bit of emotional history. Delusional? Perhaps. But it’s harmless.

Does it still sting? It can. Or, just like with a vacation dalliance, you can look back with a smile, enjoy the connection and affection, and be happy you experienced it. After all, he wasn’t abusive or mean, he was just not there for the long term — that being more than two weeks.

Have you experienced reframing a short, strong connection in a way that leaves you happy, not angry or hurt? If so, how did you recategorize the “relationship”?

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10 responses to “The faux vacation fling”

  1. Christine Avatar

    Wow, DG, you are a bigger person and have a much more generous heart than I! I absolutely love this take on things, but I think I would need a brain transplant to embrace it. My hats off to you for creating this alternative perspective – of course this is why I am a regular reader and enthusiastic fan of your site. Your glass is definitely half full and you’re obviously having alot of fun looking for that special someone to fill it up!

  2. Kvetch Avatar

    I think it’s great to look at it like a vacation romance. It goes along with dating someone for a while- having a blast – and then one day realizing he hasn’t called — in two weeks. Obviously it fizzled for both – but there was nothing bad that happened.

  3. k Avatar

    Happened once to me…..turned out he was married. As we emailed he confessed that the attraction was unbelievable and he didn’t want our time to end. We emailed for a bit when he finally confessed. I ended up telling him that if he treated his wife the same way he treated me he would never want to stray again. Since we hadn’t “done” anything we emailed for a bit about relationships. I think he was floored that I didnt’ turn into a raging bitch about it. Hope the man learned something… I know I did. Sometimes how you affect someone for a moment, minutes, days or ? can change a lifetime.

  4. Sassy Avatar

    wow! This resonates with me and my latest beau. I’m still smarting over the confusion of the fact that he no longer wants to have a romantic relationship, but I appreciated the time and warmth I felt. And know that I’m open to this type of relationship, with a slightly different outcome, again.

  5. Elena Avatar

    Very well said.

  6. seilidhe Avatar

    “easily wooed, heart on your sleeve, needy, see things as you’d like them not as they really are, you get your hopes up too quickly”

    Boy, is this me or what? Hah! Yeah, the “vacation fling” has happened to me. At first, it hurt like the dickens. Then, as time went on and I could think about it reasonably, I realized it was a good time had by all, but just wasn’t meant to be. Oh well, c’est la vie and c’est l’amour.

  7. Rod Avatar

    Suddenly, I feel the need for a vacation…

  8. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Rod: Maybe you could pretend you and your sweetie were having a vacation fling!

    Seilidhe: Glad you saw yourself in this scenario.

    Sassy: Then the relationship wasn’t for naught. Great job of recovering and moving forward.

    K: Great job not getting angry.

    Kvetch: The hard part is when it hasn’t fizzled for one of you, and you know who that is!

    Christine: Thanks for your kind words. I am far from perfect at this, and as you saw in “Jumping to Conclusions” I have to give myself an attitude adjustment once in a while.

  9. hunter Avatar

    ….everything seems right while vacationing..

  10. hw Avatar

    I live in vacation land . . . I guess I should treat anything that starts to get serious a vacation romance. :o)