The Difference Between Finding A Fling And Finding Your Person

Credit / Leonardo Patrizi
Credit / Leonardo Patrizi

Flings can be thrilling, exciting, and fun in all of their newness. They revive us, they give us unexpected boosts of confidence, they are anything but monotonous. And while the majority of them usually end poorly, there is nothing about them that is inherently wrong. They are exactly what they are supposed to be: opportunities for us to date around, to interact with all sorts of personalities, to figure out what it is that we really want in a partner, and sometimes even more importantly, what it is that we don’t want. They are opportunities for us to learn, and to understand exactly what we need from love.

Sometimes flings crush us. Sometimes they destroy us for months on end. Sometimes they are confusingly painful after things are over – because everything seemed so carefree and light and casual when we were still living in the middle of the “good parts,” but now everything is dark and heavy again. We are alone, right back where we started.

But even if we don’t realize it, the things that we experience during a fling – both the excitement and the pain – are usually more surface level than they feel at the time. We are distracted by the drama, by the story of it all. Everything happens so quickly – the initial attraction, the flirting back and forth, the way that the interactions tend to play out like a tv show that you just want to binge watch for days. It’s a rush, a high, a journey that goes by at a million miles an hour – eventually leaving you breathless and confused and lost, even if it was a seemingly harmless relationship (of sorts) with someone relatively decent.

Flings are fun, and ever-changing. They are addicting because of their intensity. A lot of people experience a lot of flings in their twenties, understandably. Flings allow for experimentation, for education, for learning as much about yourself as you do about the other person.

But finding a fling, as enjoyable as it may be short-term, is nothing like finding your person.

Maybe things move slower when you finally meet your person. Maybe Cupid is annoyingly relaxed while gently nudging you towards one another. Maybe the high you get from finding them is more of a subtle buildup than an instantaneous jolt.

But a fling is also more painful. Not just in the obvious way that flings are painful, but painful in the sense that you can feel so many intense emotions for a person without ever being able to connect with them on a deeper level. And while those emotions can be temporarily fun and interesting, the innermost part of ourselves is designed to crave an intimacy more intense and deep-seated than a fling can allow for. It’s an intimacy that you can truly only find with your person. Someone with whom the love grows calmly, confidently, patiently. Someone who can make you feel all the initial thrills that come with a fling while simultaneously making you feel safe. And warm. And content. Someone who finally makes you feel like you’re not alone.

Your person is not always going to be perfect. Things between you are not always going to be perfect. This is not a movie, this is not a binge-worthy television show. This is a special world, between only the two of you, designed to last for years and years – for life – not ninety minutes.

Your person is meant to be exactly that – a person.

A three-dimensional, multi-faceted person whom you know on every single level. You will know (and live) their fears, their most genuine joys, their hardest memories, their scars, their tears, their flaws along with their best qualities, their quirks, and every other thing you could possibly learn about them. And they will know (and live) yours. They are not a mystery, a something-you-can’t-have, a whimsical experience just out of reach.

They are real. They are yours. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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