Guys, we’ve got a new one. A fancy new dating term. It’s called ‘expiration dating’, and we have absolutely, 100% all done it at some point in our single lives.

Over the weekend I went to a work event, and happened to sit next to a fantastic human – Emily Greenberger, Digital Producer at 7Travel. She’s American but moved to Australia a couple of years back. We got to chatting about dating when you know you’re heading off overseas, what the ethics are around it – is it okay to go out with people when you know you’re fucking off?

“I kept dating,” Emily said. “I called it ‘expiration dating'”.

What is expiration dating? It’s essentially the dating you do when you’re leaving town soon but not so soon that you don’t wanna get some. Or you’re just bored and want to meet people romantically in the weird purgatory between deciding to leave town, and actually leaving town. Maybe you’re moving for work in a few weeks, maybe you’re going on a 6-month trip at the end of the year. Whatever the case, expiration dating is the dating you do when you can’t commit to a future.

It’s a complicated thing. I’ve been expiration dated before – finding out a few weeks in, when my feelings were involved, that the guy was pissing off on a year long adventure. I can be shit to be on the receiving end if you’re emotionally available and sticking around.

But expiration dating doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

1. If You’re Not Looking For Serious, Tell People

If you’re expiration dating as something fun to do before you leave, all you need to be is up-front about it. Give the person you’re going out with the option to cancel you if they are looking for a relationship. If they’re sweet with the casual situation, then all g.

It’s also fine to just go on dates – my personal take is by date two, you need to be telling people what’s up. Any later and you’re letting someone start to actually be into you, and it becomes unfair on them.

2. Be Aware That You Might Fall In Love

Be open to your plans changing. A friend of mine is planning a move to NYC and point-blank swears she won’t be dating anyone seriously, even though she’s still dabbling in the dating pool. I call bullshit – I know far too many people who were moving, only to meet someone amazing and find they wanted to change their plans.

And that’s fine! I think the stupidest thing you can do in this life is assume the future isn’t, to quote the great Natasha Bedingfield, unwritten. Make your plans, but don’t be so rigid that you miss out on cool shit that *might* come your way in the meantime. Like love.

3. Maybe Give It A Rest A Few Weeks Before You Leave

Look, my take is – go expiration dating to your heart’s content, but maybe chill on it during the month before you leave. It seems kind of shitty to go on dates literal days before you get on a jet plane. Maybe I’m wrong! But at the very least, on these dates I’d be preeeetty clear that you’re leaving – soon. Just don’t get people’s heart’s entangled in your dazzling personality when you’re taking that personality away forever, ya know?

Image: The Last Summer