couple kissing.

The passions of summer do burn hot when everything around you conspires to ignite romance, right down to your body’s natural reaction to UV rays and the exercise-induced endorphins the season elicits. But, as warm as the days may continue to be as fall encroaches, when the first hint of autumn arrives, bringing its crisp relief from the heat, many summer love affairs have a tendency to cool off as well. Whether it’s back to work or back to school at the end of summer vacation, when reality sets in, sometimes the charms of that partner who seemed such an appealing warm-weather companion at summer’s onset have faded in the bright sunshine.

Of course, some summer loves have the potential for developing into something deeper and more long-lasting, and even those couples who made it clear from the beginning there would be “no strings attached” find themselves more entangled in Cupid’s web than they ever intended. The trick is to know whether or not your hot-weather hookup has “summer fling” written all over it, or if it might be the real deal. Here’s an end-of-summer reality checklist to see if it’s time to bid your paramour a fond adieu, or if there’s a chance to take your relationship to a deeper level.

Check Your Expiration Date

At the beginning of summer romances, both parties often make their intentions and expectations clear. If your romance was begun with an agreed-upon end in mind, then parting company may not be a problem, but if deeper emotions have taken hold, you might be able to take your romance into extra innings.

Signs You Should Move Ahead

If you and your summer love talk in terms of the future, there may be one for you. If the two of you are still planning events and adventures down the road, chances are, you may be destined to stay together.

Signs You Should Say Goodbye

If all your conversation centers on things that you’ve already experienced, your affair has likely reached the “been there, done that” phase that signals the end is near. Likewise, if all that’s on either of your minds are the things you’ll be doing when you get back to your “real life” that don’t include the other person, it’s time to say goodbye.

Check the Balance

You’ve been cruising along all summer and having a great time, what happens when your partner has become more strongly attached to you than originally proposed? Or alternately, what are your options should you realize that you actually want more than a brief affair as the season draws to a close?

Signs You Should Move Ahead

If over the course of getting to know one another and spending time together, the feelings that have grown between the two of you are mutual, your love affair has a good chance of outlasting the warm weather. A partnership in which both parties wield equal power and have balanced desire is the best foundation upon which to build any long-term partnership.

Signs You Should Say Goodbye

On the other hand, if one partner badly wants to continue the relationship, while the other is just treading water until the next new love comes along, or is actually ready to call it quits, you must face the fact that your fling has run its course. Attempting to sustain a relationship in which one partner holds all the cards is never wise, and there’s no point in throwing your love away on someone who doesn’t return your emotional investment. Cut your losses and say goodbye.

Check Your Interest Level

When a summer romance is new, we often find the object of our affections irresistible. But all too often, the rose-colored glasses through which we view love at first sight, especially when it comes to summer flings, will change hue to reveal a different perspective as the months wear on, and what’s revealed will likely be the making or breaking of your summer romance.

Signs You Should Move Ahead

While you may have spent hours and hours with your summer love, the thought of spending more time together continues to fill you with joy and anticipation. The two of you have lots to say, but even the silence between you feels comfortable. The attraction you felt when you first met has blossomed into true passion, and if anything, the person becomes more beautiful to you with each passing day.

Signs You Should Say Goodbye

On the other hand, if familiarity has bred contempt in a relationship, the summer fling is over. If your partner bores you, annoys you, or if their less-than-favorable traits now outweigh the attractive ones that first brought you together, it’s clearly time to say goodbye.

For those who are lucky enough to have a summer love that’s still in full sail at the end of the season, continue to enjoy your journey together. For those for whom the romance must end, however, remember: it’s always best to let your soon-to-be-ex summer love down as nicely as you can. After all, cruelty and good karma are not a good mix, and you’ll want karma on your side as you get back to the “real world” and consider your next romantic pursuit.

Can’t decide whether your warm-weather affair will make it past summer’s end? Let a KEEN love advisor help get you a more accurate forecast.