Love in the Mountains: Turning a season rental boyfriend into a long-term lease |

Love in the Mountains: Turning a season rental boyfriend into a long-term lease

Jessica Heaney
Love in the Mountains
The "seasonal rental" is that undefined and uncommited relationship that lingers. It can be a win for some, but a major loss for others.
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She came in, sat on my couch, looked me square in the eye and told me, “I’m sick of seasonal rentals!” She wasn’t talking about her snowboard. She was talking about her love life.

The “seasonal rental” is that undefined and uncommitted relationship that lingers for about three months. It’s a way to have needs for connection met without much of any accountability. Certain perks of a relationship are received without having to put in much effort. It’s a win for some, but a major loss for others.

For the Vail Valley, discovering healthy committed relationships is tough. With the seasonality of employment, people come and go regularly in our valley. Many of my clients share their hesitancy to get close to potential love interests and even form friendships. “Soon enough they’ll just leave like everyone else,” they say. A few clients have stated that unless someone owns a home and has roots in the community, they just can’t invest in a new relationship. The Vail local has become relationally gun-shy.

Say ‘no’ to seasonal rentals

This seasonal culture perpetuates a loose-ended type of love. If you’re in the single-hood, then you’re likely surrendering to hanging out rather than dating. You’re hooking up rather than committing. All because you’ve been led to believe this is how dating in a ski town works. And perhaps like my client, you’re growing tired of meeting these seasonal rentals instead of locking down a relational long-term lease.

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Dating in Vail doesn’t need to be this way. Seasonal rentals only persist because they’re allowed to and they get away with their noncommittal behavior. If you are looking for a relationship that is secure and healthy, then learning to say “no” to the seasonal rentals is your first step. You need to understand that if what you want is a relationship that has depth, meaning and purpose, then a season rental will never fulfill you. It will only leave you with anxiety, self-doubt about your worth and a longing for actual connection.

Wondering if you’re with a season rental? Or if you might be one? Here are five strategies a season rental relies on when in relationship:

Unable to plan ahead because playing it by ear is their motto.

They avoid talking about the relationship because you’re just hanging out, seeing how things go (see No. 1).

Uncommitted lifestyle. From employment to where they’re going to live, they basically aren’t aware what life will look like in three to four months.

Unresponsiveness is their middle name. Days go by before you ever hear from them.

Fun, fun, fun. It’s all they want to do. Bring up anything mildly serious and they’re running toward the exit.

Jessica Heaney is a licensed clinical social worker who knows the relationship struggles of living in the Vail Valley. If you’re a Vail Resorts employee, then your EAP benefits give you and your partner six sessions with Heaney. For more information, visit If you want to learn how to date for commitment and how to stop dating the king or queen of first dates, then contact Heaney at

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