There seem to be countless ways to classify relationships these days. What we once called a “fling” or “hookup” is now being referred to as an “expirationship” and experts have weighed in on whether this is a good idea or not.
Circumstances occur that leave us yearning for another person who may not otherwise be available. For example, you meet someone with whom you feel a deep connection on vacation. Unfortunately, you happen to live hundreds of miles from one another. Another example may be that you meet someone really great but are emotionally unavailable, hung up on an ex, or just not looking for a serious commitment. In these cases, an expirationship might be worth considering.
Laurel House is a relationship expert for eHarmony. Speaking to Lifehacker, she says, “Expiration dating is dating on purpose,” Further explaining, “Only the purpose isn’t forever; it’s a purpose that varies from person to person and once fulfilled, the relationship ends.”
Apparently, the expirationship can last anywhere from a few weeks to around a year. House explains that the duration of the expirationship is dependent upon the needs the relationship is meeting. While in some cases, the expiration date is clear, there are others when things may be a little less concise. House explains the end date will come when “you suddenly woke up.”
“It’s generally very sudden and sharp with a strong knowing that the relationship is over,” she explains. “You might even wake up, look at your partner, and wonder why you were with them in the first place. That’s because you have ingested the information, made the transformation, gotten through and moved out from the space you were in, and now you are ready to move forward with your new self, and not with your old person.” She explained, also sharing that there are pros and cons to trying out an expirationship.
Pros of an Expirationship
One pro is having fun. A new fling is exciting and thrilling, so long as you’re both on the same page. Neither of you should take things too seriously and know what the other person wants for their future. That way no one is heartbroken or blindsided. “That transparency is a huge benefit because there aren’t expectations beyond what it is. You can fully explore your purpose within the relationship and almost assume a personal identity that maybe you haven’t felt the freedom to explore in other relationships within which the end goal is forever.” House explains.
Another pro is a sense of freedom. Often when people enter relationships, they think it means their freedom is gone, and so is their identity. While in some cases this is true, it isn’t always. However, if that’s a concern for you, an expirationship might be a great solution. “You can be on the receiving end without fear that if you don’t give enough of yourself, they won’t want to be with you enduringly, because enduring is not the plan,” she says. “Sometimes it feels good to just indulge in receiving.”
The last pro that might be worth it is the opportunity to get to know yourself. It might seem strange to use a relationship with someone else as a tool to learn about yourself. On the other hand, there is an upside to doing so. As you spend time with more strangers in different states, or parts of the world, you’ll learn about other cultures, people, and ways of life. Therefore, you’ll likely be able to better determine what works for you and what doesn’t. Having this knowledge, will allow you to make decisions about what you might want out of life.
Downsides and Things to Keep in Mind
In contrast, there is one major downside, and it’s likely obvious to most. Feelings. Most people can’t control their feelings and, therefore can’t help who they love. When one develops real feelings during an expirationship, they are susceptible to heartbreak and feelings of anger and resentment.
“One-sided feelings beyond the expirationship expectation can arise. Either you or they might start to develop real relationship-style feelings that can end up doing harm to the person who is experiencing them if those feelings aren’t reciprocated.” House explained. “You might start into an expirationship with someone who also seems to be in a casual place. So, you don’t feel the need to expressly communicate that intention. But what you don’t realize is that that is their natural easy-going start to all relationships until they feel connected enough to really open their heart and root into the relationship.”
With that in mind, it’s important to note that an expirationship may not work for everyone. An expirationship can be fun and carefree. However, some people are prone to developing feelings much easier and more quickly and others. In this case, leading to the aforementioned downside of an expirationship.
Another example of someone who should avoid this type of relationship is someone who is looking to be married soon, is currently engaged or is looking to start a family. House also explains, “someone who has children and likes to involve their children in their relationships, opening the hearts of their children who then form connections and attachments should definitely not start into an expirationship unless they absolutely won’t include their children.”
Whether or not an expirationship is something you want to explore, it’s important to care for the mental and emotional wellbeing of yourself and your partner. “Frequently check in with yourself first and then with your partner to see how you are feeling and if you are both still comfortable, satisfied, and fulfilled within the relationship as it stands, without hope or expectation that it will ever evolve into more,” House advises.
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