in: dating + single

Different Needs, Different Speeds: Short Term vs Long Term Relationships

Krystal Baugher

There are as many different kinds of relationships as there are combinations of people. To get the most out of your current or future partnership, be clear on what it is you want.


After a pretty brutal breakup of mine, I remember the day I finally emerged from wallowing in my dark cold basement. I had finished watching the entire Gossip Girl series and realized that I couldn’t stay in hiding subsiding on vodka and salty tears anymore. Of course, it wasn’t entirely my idea to leave, my friend led a helping hand dragging me up the stairs. Then she sat me down in front of my computer and told me I was going to start dating again. I looked at her in horror. Then she explained that I could find a guy without even having to leave my house and that it didn’t have to be so serious. I just stared into the brightness of the computer light, mostly confused until what she said sunk in.

I didn’t have to be in serious relationship. I could just meet people, no strings attached. In fact, she was right, I needed to find the rebound. The one guy who was so incredibly hot it would help me get my groove back, remind me I still had it, get me out of my rut of despair and heartache. 

So I went for it. He ended up being this quite attractive, very tall man with an unfortunate moustache and an even more unfortunate need to baby-talk during sex. He lasted all of one night, but it was one of those short term relationships that needed to happen.

And that’s the whole thing of it, depending on our life situations we all have different priorities when it comes to the length of relationships we’re seeking. Not only that, but there are marked differences in style, communication, desires, and things we’re willing to put up with when it comes to those structures. 

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to short term versus long term relationship priorities. 


Short Term

Not every relationship is meant for the long-haul. Often times people want a connection of some sort—physical, mental, spiritual—without it being so serious. There are all sorts of short term relationship structures out there like the one night stand (ONS), the friends with benefits (FWB) and the play thing (PT) (regularly scheduled sex with one person minus the friends part). 

The priorities within these structures usually include a closer desire to fulfill basic needs like sexual gratification, fun, momentary closeness with another human being, touch, self-discovery through the discovery of new people, re-examining wants for long term partnership etc. 

All of that is fine and dandy, but it is a good idea to reflect on what you’re looking for and why and then to communicate that with the person you are interacting with. If you’re looking for something short term and they’re not, then it’s not mindful to lead them on. Establish boundaries early on to avoid confusion and unnecessary pain later down the line. 

Long Term

At some point or another many people start wanting more long-lasting relationships; generally a steady boyfriend or girlfriend, perhaps a husband or wife, or maybe life partner if marriage isn’t of interest but devotion is. 

Priorities also change as time becomes more of a factor. Sure you want someone to have fun with, but their quirks and bad habits become more of an issue, one has to decide what they’re willing to accept in someone who’s going to be around for awhile.

Other traits in long term relationships include loyalty, commitment, love, fulfillment, compatibility within all major aspects of the physical, mental, and spiritual as opposed to short-term that might just be seeking one; as well as the ability to challenge one another to be their best selves. Long term is more about a partnership then the short term which is more about discovery and experimentation. 


Both are perfectly acceptable ways to be in the world. Short or long, both should be approached with sincerity, authenticity, and open honest communication so that both parties on board can get the most joy and enlightenment from the experience as possible. It’s all about learning and growing and become our greatest selves whether it’s just for one night or forever. 

[image: via EMILIE RHAUPP on flickr]

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About the Author:

Krystal Baugher Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver, Colorado. She is the founder of Mile High Mating, a website dedicated to helping people go on more dates, have more sex, and find more love in the Mile High City and beyond. Find her on Facebook and Twitter and at Mile High Mating.

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