Goal: The winner is the person who has the most fun and feels the least heartache. But follow the game rules carefully …

1) Don’t get overly attached: Your new toy is often not here to stay. You want to be able to resume your life after summer without too much pain and heartache. How to do so?

Keep your feet on the ground. Who doesn’t get swept off the feet by a new passionate love? While it’s definitely exciting to be thrown out of balance by a sudden romance, it is important to remember who you are and what you enjoy doing. If you enjoy spending time with family and friends, don’t let the new toy gobble up 100 percent of your free time. Spend time apart from your love interest for yourself.

We act like kids with flashy new toys when it comes to a new love. The novelty of the relationship makes us yearn to spend every single moment with the brand new toy. Don’t forget what you love doing, and make sure to do things independently that make you happy.

Do not let your new love become your only source of happiness. So when summer ends and this person who can make you oh-so-happy leaves, you will not be devastated by the lost and will still have other ways to make yourself happy and resume your normal life. After all, you should be your own major source of happiness, not anyone else.

2) Do lay ground rules: It’s summer, and time is short. If you are unsure about where the fling is heading or how the person is feeling, go ahead and talk about it. Time is too short for you to be playing games with one another. If you cannot reach a consensus on what you both want, it would be better that you found out earlier than later, because things could hurt more further down in the relationship.

3) Do not fight: For the same reason as above, summer is too short for any drama. If you are unhappy with her/him, confront him/her (in a non-bitchy/douche-y manner) and move on. If you or your other half cannot get over it, then ditch and run. Why waste precious energy and time in summer on someone who’s not compatible?

4) Stop pointing the blame back at yourself: I have plenty of friends who tell me about how their love interest seemed to have lost interest or became intimidated after a while. They often say, “I knew I shouldn’t have told him I had a 4.0” or “She must think I’m a loser because she found out I don’t enjoy drinking that much.” If the person can’t deal with your 4.0 or your personal preferences, or other truths, why on earth would you even want to waste energy on a person who is not on your level?

Think of this honesty as an automatic-filter, something that prevents the unwanted F-grade products from entering your intimate life. If the toy can’t appreciate you, then ditch, because you deserve someone who can.

I admit it’s a mental game. But since summer is a time when you meet plenty of people, you don’t have time to waste on people who don’t understand you (and trust me there are plenty of ignorant nuts out there). Don’t be hurt by their disinterest, because if they are not able to appreciate you for you who are, why waste time on them anyway? Remember, automatic-filtering system. Repeat it like a mantra.

5) Be realistic and perform a cost-benefit analysis: There are chances that your summer fling has the potential to carry on after summer. Here is when you need to be realistic and ask yourself practical questions such as: How far does the person live away from me? How often would we be able to see each other? Is it likely that that person or I will stay faithful?

Does the cost outweigh the benefit or vice versa? Either way, the chances are high that there will be some pain carried over, whether you decide to continue the relationship (the pain of not being together), or if you decide to move on with your life (hence rule No. 1). Get an unbiased and trusted third-party opinion on what is the most practical thing to do for references.

Summer Lovin’ is a game for all ages, and theoretically everyone should be a winner. It usually doesn’t end up this way. Why? Because they didn’t read the rules.