It was May 2004. I had just wrapped up my freshman year of college and was back home for summer break at a friend's party. We ran out of juice for the libations and had to take a quick trip to the local grocery store. That's when I met him. He went to school with my friend and was three years older than me. A SUPER senior so to speak. We got the juice and invited him back to the house to party with us. After a few brief smiles and the exchange of seven digits, we were inseparable. Wherever I was he was and vice versa. My moments of bliss with my new boo were limited to only a season. Conveniently, five days before I was set to leave for school he broke up with me. He told me that I was the sweetest girl he'd ever known and that I deserves someone who could appreciate me. I cried until my eyes puffed up and so did he. Then he left. For weeks I pleaded with him. Only to find out that he'd gotten back with his ex-girlfriend. "Apparently it's an arrangement that they have" a friend tells me over the phone. "They do it every summer because she lives out of state." That was my first experience of the "free for the summer, booed up for the winter" philosophy; and I thought it was stupid ever since.
"Uh oh! It's getting warm out. Time for me to be free for the summer!" one person wrote. "It's not even summer yet and people are breaking up lol. They'll be back booed up for the winter" said another. I see statuses like this all the time starting as early as March in my social network feed. The "free for the summer, booed up for the winter" philosophy is one that's been around for quite some time now. The problem is that it makes absolutely no sense to someone who wants a long lasting sustainable relationship. I'm the type of person that can function well in a relationship or while single. When I'm single, I mingle but when I'm locked down, there are no "breaks."
A while ago, I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine about this very subject. R.O.B. Restrictions, obligations and boundaries. In his mind, that's what relationships represented and he just couldn't see the benefits of being in one. Those who enjoy monogamy and companionship in long lasting committed relationships were voluntarily signing up for a life of boredom, obligations and restrictions, further arguing that everything we sought from one individual could be satisfied by many different people who are already in our lives. I feel like my friend's philosophy on relationships is the basis for the "free for the summer" mentality.
When it comes to relationships, people often confuse restrictions with respect. Sure when you're single you can come and go as you please, don't have anyone to check in with and can see people when you want to see them. But the same thing goes for when you're in a relationship. Yes there are certain things that you can't do such as date/sleep with other people (unless you have an arrangement with your significant other) but the ways that you're free are endless. If you really think about it, the person who you end up with should be someone who you can be your full and complete self with. So if you don't feel like being bothered, a good mate knows how to read your signals and deal with you accordingly.When you're single, no one is obligated to spend time with you. So you're restricted in the amount of time that you can demand from a person. Also there's boundaries that cannot be crossed due to your lack of title. If you want to know where the person is, who they're with, etc. you cannot ask. So the R.O.B. philosophy goes both ways.
The R.O.B. mentality is one that is rooted in fear. Fear of being tied down.Fear of being let down. Fear of commitment. Fear of making decisions. So this "break" which individuals who subscribe to this philosophy rarely let the other person in on, is one that temporarily continues the cycle. People aren't forced to confront their deep-rooted commitment issues so they use the summer as an excuse to leave an otherwise doomed relationship to began with. It's not only silly to let the weather dictate your relationship status, but very insensitive to the other party involved. Take it from the girl who once was a summer fling. Don't get me wrong, relationships aren't for everybody, but just don't let a season be the excuse for a possibly deeper issue that may be doing more harm than good.
Filed under: Love and Relationships