'Expirationships' are in demand this summer, according to dating experts—here's how to navigate them

'There’s no shame in the 'summer fling' game as long as both parties are clear and cool with the expiration-intended ending'

couple in the water kissing as the sun sets
(Image credit: janiecbros/Getty Images)

Temperatures are on the rise, and so are "expirationships". 

The friskiest time of the year has officially begun, and plenty of singles are looking to make use of vitamin D. (Does sunshine make you hornier? Now might be a good time to reach for the SPF.) But not everyone is in search of something that extends beyond August.

"There’s no shame in the summer fling game as long as both parties are clear and cool with the expiration-intended ending," says Laurel House, eharmony relationship expert says of expirationships. 

It can be a delicate situation, so here's what you need to know about the new dating trend that 53% of Gen Z singles are planning to explore this summer, per eharmony's Dating Diaries.

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Laurel House

Laurel House is an international celebrity dating and relationship coach working with eharmony. She also shares her expertise on E!’s Famously Single and lends a hand as a dating coach for Three Day Rule Matchmaking. Laurel is also a five-time author and has been featured in a variety of publications, including Vogue, Glamour and Brides.com.

What are 'expirationships'?

"Expirationships" are essentially relationships with an expiration date, just like situtationships are relationships without the labels. 

Per House, Gen Z is open to "SumLuv," a.k.a. "the feeling of physical and emotional closeness and someone to relax, travel, and have some fun summer lovin’ with."

Why are 'expirationships' on the rise?

Everyone has their own reasons for what they want to pursue, but according to the dating app's findings, Gen Z is looking to get a bit experimental—and might not remain in one place for terribly long during this vacation period. (Singles are in search of a travel companion, particularly over the summer.)

"Some people try out a new type to see how they vibe with someone who they never would have considered in the past (untyping)," House says. "Others are interested in exploring themselves and they feel more comfortable testing their boundaries and trying new things when they are partnered as opposed to on their own."

How do you go about an 'expirationship'?

The only way for these boundaries to work is to be upfront with what you're looking for. That being said, this type of scenario might not work for everyone, which is totally fine. (If you're looking for something long-term here's the one thing you *need* to avoid when dating this summer, according to an intimacy coach.) 

Start by being candid while you're still on dating apps. 

"Say something like: “I really feel like we vibe, and I’m excited to learn more. But before we take this thing offline and IRL, just want to make sure we are aligned with our intentions and dating purpose. Are you on here looking for some summer fun, or open and interested in finding something real and lasting," House adds. 

But keep in mind, sometimes it's hard to stick to said boundaries, and you should be prepared if the plan potentially goes awry. 

"Now keep in mind that just because the intention is for the relationship to expire, it doesn’t mean that it necessarily will or it must," House notes. 

Tips for navigating 'expirationships'

1. Don't be closed off

Though you should be candid about your wants, that doesn't mean you need to be closed off when actually dating. If your time together is going to be short, don't you want to make it memorable?

"The negative of expirationships is that when we have a specific reason and purpose for dating with a set expiration date, some daters will do their best to stay surface level and avoid any real or deep conversations, connections, or feelings," House says.

Don't be afraid to be your authentic self. (Villain era dating is on the rise, after all.)

2. Set up boundaries

"In communicated expiration dating, leading up to the expirationship, there are no games, no hopeful expectations, and no social media-inspired fantasies of perfect forever fairytales," House says.

3. Keep it carefree

"Gen Z is free-flowing, easy going, and unattached to old-school dating and relating norms," House notes. "They are also unafraid of expressing their authentic selves, no matter how unconventional it is."

Ready for summer lovin'? It'll happen so fast, but these tips will help keep things short and sweet. 

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.