Short-Term Relationship

Short-Term Relationship

You may have experience with short-term relationships already or you are int he position to have one. But, what makes short-term relationships special and what can you realistically expect from it.

A short-term relationship is the one that lasts only for a short period of time. This type of relationship is for people who find themselves temporarily in a certain geographical location. It can be due to college, job relocation or travelling. Short-term relationships tend to be casual, although there’s room to develop a serious relationship. This will depend on the circumstances and how the relationship develops.

In this article, you will learn all that is to know about a short-term relationship, what it involves, what can you expect and how you can make the most of it.

What Is a Short-Term Relationship?

A short-term relationship focuses on a specific time frame and your situation. A short-term relationship is not going to last for a long time.

For example, if you are going to relocate or you plan to go somewhere for work or holiday for a short period. You may want to avoid developing attachments to the place or people while still having a relationship. This can be a casual or more serious relationship but knowing it will end from the beginning.

Characteristics of a Short-Term Relationship

A short-term relationship is:

  • Suitable for a certain period of time
  • Your situation will be dictating your relationship
  • More intimate than a casual relationship and also a little bit more serious
  • Mainly physical
  • More spontaneous and fun
  • Lacking a relationship plan
  • Fun and exciting
  • No serious commitments

What Does a Short-Term Relationship Involve?

It involves being in a relationship for a short time, meaning that you still need to:

  • Agree on the type of relationship you are going to have
  • Build trust and understanding
  • Establish the rules and boundaries
  • Face certain issues that you will need to resolve

Types of Short-Term Relationships

  • Casual
  • Serious
  • Exclusive
  • Open
  • Monogamous
  • Polyamorous

An Example of a Short-Term Relationship

You go on holiday for a couple of weeks, you meet someone you like, you click and you spend this time together until you have to go back home.

At that point you can end it or you may choose to have a long-distance relationship and see how it goes.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Relationship

A short-term relationship tends to be a casual relationship that lasts for a short period of time.

In contrast, a long-term relationship is generally a more serious relationship. Because it is long-term, people spend significant energy, time and money to develop their relationship and potentially have a family together.

Pros and Cons of a Short-Term Relationship

Pros of a Short-Term Relationship

  • Casual, fun and exciting
  • Living in the moment
  • Adventurous
  • Focusing on personal development
  • Prioritising other areas of your life
  • Good for testing a relationship
  • Not needing to explain yourself
  • No commitment
  • Freedom
  • Flexibility
  • Good when figuring out what you want
  • No need to make promises or future plans
  • Hardly any relationship problems

Cons of a Short-Term Relationship

  • Risk of developing feelings and suffer when the relationship ends
  • You know it will end, so you may not want to put much effort in it
  • No time to develop a deeper intimacy and connection
  • No time to really get to know each other

Is a Short-Term Relationship Right for You?

There are different situations where you can find yourself in a short-term relationship. You may get a new job in a new location, may be moving city or country, you may start your studies. You may just want to dedicate all of your time to specific things and don’t feel like having a romantic relationship distracting you from it.

A Short-Term Relationship Is Right For You If:

  • You are in a certain place for a short amount of time.
  • You have other life commitments such as career, education, personal development, family, travelling, etc.
  • You may want to pursue your personal goals and ambitions.
  • You don’t want to make plans for the future, e.g. marriage, children, or commitments to one person.

A Short-Term Relationship Is Not Right For You If:

  • You want a long lasting relationship.
  • You want to make future plans for this relationship.
  • You want to get to know each other deeply.
  • You want to develop emotional intimacy in your relationship.
  • You want security and comfort in your relationship.
  • You want a committed relationship.

Starting a Short-Term Relationship

How to Find a Short-Term Relationship

You don’t find a short-term relationship, a short-term relationship finds you. It develops as a result of your situation, which in a way determines the time frame of your relationship.

Before Starting a Short-Term Relationship

Before you start a short-term relationship have realistic expectations that it will only last for a short while. Make sure both of you are aware of your circumstances so you don’t make future plans just to feel disappointed.

What to Expect from a Short-Term Relationship

In a short-term relationship you can expect:

  • To be short lasting, it will end in a no so distant future.
  • There’s a specific time set for this relationship, usually situationship.
  • A short-term relationship is less personal, you can expect to share less feeling and circumstances.
  • The relationship to be more superficial.
  • To have less expectations.
  • To not have deep talks.
  • To not share your history, family or previous relationships.
  • Having an end date, however you may choose to stay in touch, do a long-distance relationship or make it a long-term relationship.
  • Having little commitment.
  • Less support.
  • Less responsibility.
  • Less planning for the future.
  • More independence.
  • Less attachment.
  • No need to consider the other as much on your personal decisions.
  • To move on once the time is up for this relationship.

How to Start a Short-Term Relationship

  1. Express your feelings
  2. Talk about your expectations
  3. Set your boundaries

Having a Short-Term Relationship

Reasons to Have a Short-Term Relationship

  • Having fun together while on holidays
  • Getting to know someone new
  • Having a casual relationship without future plans
  • Wanting to focus on your personal goals
  • Wanting a relationship without attachments or commitments
  • Your situation would only allow you to be in a relationship for a certain period of time

How to Talk About Having a Short-Term Relationship

First, you need to make sure you are with someone who wants the same out of the relationship as you do, so you need to:

  1. Get clear for yourself what you want and what do you expect from this relationship
  2. Express this clearly, openly and honestly to the person you are interested in
  3. Ask them, what type of relationship do they want?

How to Maintain a Healthy Short-Term Relationship

  • Take it easy
  • Have fun together
  • Enjoy it while it lasts

You can develop a connection as long as you manage your expectations.

How to Handle Problems in a Short-Term Relationship

In a short-term relationship you shouldn’t have too many problems to handle, which is one of the advantages of this of relationship. If you have a difference of opinions you can turn it into an interesting discussion to learn about each other’s point of view.

Rules and Boundaries in a Short-Term Relationship

What Are Relationship Rules?

Rules are agreements you have with your partner on different aspects of your relationship.

Rules in a Short-Term Relationship

Short-term relationships don’t need many rules apart from having fun and not getting too serious. As a rule try to avoid getting attach.

What to Do in a Short-Term Relationship
  • Agree if your relationship is open or exclusive
  • Establish how long your short-term relationship will last
  • Talk about your expectations from this short-term relationship
  • Try to understand your reasons for having this relationship and how it will contribute to your life
  • Set the limits on when you expect it to end and whether or not if you planning to keep in touch afterwards
  • Be emotionally prepare to say good bye
  • Be realistic about the limitations of your current circumstances. As well as the preferences you got to have a short-term relationship to begin with
What to Avoid in a Short-Term Relationship
  • Making future plans
  • Getting attached
  • Having unrealistic expectations that your relationship can last longer than what the situation allows

What Are Relationship Boundaries?

Boundaries are based on preferences with the limits showing how far these preferences extend.

The limit of the boundary is the extend of your willingness to do something.

What Boundaries Should You Have in a Short-Term Relationship

In a short-term relationship you need to stay within certain boundaries such as:

  • Staying within the agreed level of personal involvement
  • Stick to the agreed times and frequency of seeing each other
  • End your relationship on a set date or change the type of relationship and set new boundaries and expectations

How to Set Boundaries in a Short-Term Relationship

  • Agree to keep your relationship casual
  • Talk about your situations
  • Set your expectations
  • Agree on any topics that are off-limits
  • Talk about your preferences e.g. how do you like to spend your time, the places you want to visit, the things you would like to do together, etc.

Common Problems in a Short-Term Relationship

  1. Developing feelings
  2. Relationship turning unilateral
  3. The relationship is lasting longer than expected
  4. Developing attachment

1. Developing feelings

When you are getting on with someone it is easier to develop romantic feelings for them.

While it’s great to have strong feelings for each other. Try to avoid letting these feelings take over you to the point where instead of enjoying the time together, you start fantasising about a possible future together.

2. Relationship turning unilateral

When one person wants to spend more time together while another wants to do different things. After a few days one of you may want to move on while another one would want to spend all the time together.

Try to be honest with yourself and one another to avoid attachment and feeling obligated to please the other person.

3. The relationship is lasting longer than expected

You may plan for a casual, “no strings attached” type of relationship knowing it will end in a specific date. However, when your circumstances change, your relationship may extend for a bit longer. In this case, it’s worth reassessing your relationship and expectations. Because the longer you are together, the stronger your feelings become and the more you have to consider.

4. Developing attachment

Your relationship may not last very long, but if you are getting on really well and enjoying your time together, saying good bye will be difficult. You may want to keep in touch or do anything you can to continue the relationship. But, before anything, you need to make sure your partner wants the same as you do, before you continue dreaming. This will avoid further heartache.

Signs and Red Flags in a Short-Term Relationship

Signs of a Healthy Short-Term Relationship

  • You have clear boundaries
  • You are familiar with the rules you set up
  • You are sticking to the boundaries
  • You set realistic expectations
  • You are within the set term of your relationship

Red Flags in a Short-Term Relationship

  • Your relationship is lasting longer that what you agreed
  • One of you is getting clingy
  • One of you is developing feelings
  • One of you wants more attention
  • One of you is starting to make long-term plans
  • Making promises
  • Feeling jealous
  • Expecting commitment

Ending a Short-Term Relationship

When to End a Short-Term Relationship

Short-term relationships tend to end by themselves when your time in that location comes to an end. This is where your relationship ends unless you carry on with your journey together or start a long-distance relationship.

How to End a Short-Term Relationship

If you remain at the same location you may want to end your relationship while still being in the same physical location. What you need to do then is to express your preferences and say you want to spend sometime by yourself or with other people.

If you made it together until the end of your stay, you can decide at that point on what you want to do, to end your relationship, have an LDR or travel together.

How to Move On After a Short-Term Relationship

Seeing your short-term relationship coming to and end can be heartbreaking after all the good times you spend together. the good part is that you don’t have to say your final good-byes if you don’t want to. Even if you live in different parts of the world you can keep in touch and let the relationship develop organically. You can decide to continue your romantic relationship or just a friendship.


Short-term relationships tend to be fun and exciting for as long as they last. They tend to happen on holidays, in college, university, or when you are away for work.

The main characteristic of a short-term relationship is that it has a specific date when you are going to separate because you have to move on.

While such relationships tend to be lighthearted and casual, they can develop into a more serious relationship. When people decide to keep in touch, for example over a long-distance, travel together or relocate to the same are to be together.

Even though, your relationship may not last a long time, it can be quite intense and fulfilling in many ways. In this case, when it comes to saying good bye, it can still be emotionally difficult to say good bye. Just remember that you don’t have to say good bye if you don’t want to as there are options to keep in touch romantically or as friends.

Help and Advice for a Short-Term Relationship

Tips for a Short-Term Relationship

  • Enjoy yourself
  • Have fun
  • Don’t get too serious
  • Be honest
  • Don’t make plans unless there is a realistic plan and a desire for you to be together

If you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a short term relationship?

A short-term relationship can last anything from a few days, a couple of weeks or a few months.

What is considered a short-term relationship?

A relationship that only lasts a short time

What is the difference between a short-term and a long-term dating?

Dating is an initial period of getting to know each other at a superficial level. It doesn’t last long as soon enough you start developing a deeper emotional connection, build trust and share more intimate things about yourself. At this point, it becomes a relationship.
A long-term dating is essentially a casual relationship where you see each other every now and then to have fun. Dating doesn’t tend to have a specific direction or future plans.

Can short relationships be meaningful?

Short-term relationships can be meaningful when you have a strong connection, interest to learn about each other and are able to discuss different topics.

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