This should be a no brainer right? Unfortunately, I find the need to blog about this topic. Both personal experience and observation require me to.
I find it amazing how quickly people throw themselves into new “relationships” after an intense breakup. I use the word relationship loosely and mean it to include any non-platonic activity with a member of the opposite (or same) sex, such as dating, sexual, emotional, etc. In my opinion, when two people are in a committed long-term relationship and that connection is severed they literally have to go through a grieving process. The loss of a relationship is..well…a loss and a person must deal with it accordingly. Of course everyone deals with things differently and some can recover quickly while others take longer. In addition to the grieving process, self-reflection and rediscovery is key. Otherwise the individual falls head first into a new relationship making the same mistakes that caused the previous one(s) to fail.
This is where rebound relationships come in. From everything that I have witnessed I have been able to place these doomed relationships into two categories. First, the rebound relationship as a means to get over the ex. Second, the rebound relationship as a means to one up the ex. Many of us would prefer not to tackle painful situations head on. It’s easier to distract ourselves than to deal with the pain. Rebound relationships allow us to do just that. The problem (one of many) with this solution is that this is just a quick fix. Furthermore it completely eliminates the grieving and self-reflection process, so necessary for a healthy emotional and mental state. There is no magic cure that allows us to just “get over” someone. The only remedy is time, regardless of what we like to tell ourselves. We cannot speed up that time either. The rebound relationship as a means to one up the ex is another disastrous coping mechanism. I typically observe this when relationships end in a unfriendly manner. People will start an arms-race of who can move on first, call themselves “upgrading” to a new mate in an attempt to boost their bruised ego, or will resort to dating someone as a means to make the ex jealous. Again, this is all a distraction away from the healing process. Even worse, there are now third parties involved that really shouldn’t be.
Speaking of third parties. A word of advice for those looking to get involved (or are involved) with those that have just experienced a break up. Wisdom requires patience when dealing with someone who is still healing from a past relationship. Odds are that it will be some time before they can commit to anything long term, let alone open up and allow a new connection. Not only would you want that person to be completely over their ex, but you don’t want them to bring past issues into a relationship with you. Even more importantly you don’t want to be that person they are only involved with because you are a distraction. Situations like that aren’t sustaining.
In the very short time (I’m talking all of two weeks) that I have declared myself single, I’ve had more than a few men come forward with an interest in dating me. While it’s extremely flattering, it’s also a bit overwhelming and alarming. I can’t imagine anyone with any sense willing to get involved with someone fresh out of a relationship, even sexually. In a way you are throwing yourself in the middle of a delicate situation with a possibility of you getting hurt.
Lastly, there are those who really don’t mind throwing themselves into a rebound situation. I’ve come across many people who experience personal satisfaction from supposedly “taking” what is another’s. Maybe they’ve lain in wait during the individuals entire relationship and have jumped at the chance to approach the person as soon as the relationship was ended. I call these types vultures. Not only is this completely manipulative, but this is not the circumstances that will result in a long term committed relationship. Acting as a player in a person’s break-up is unnecessary drama, and no one will respect you for it. A wise person will sit back and wait for things to play out naturally. If it does result in a committment odds are it won’t last past the honeymoon phase and odds are even greater that the same exact issues that ended the previous relationship will play a role in yours. If you are interested in dating someone who is recovering from a fresh breakup pay attention to patterns. While I do believe that people have the ability to grow and change we are all products of our repeated behavior. Patterns are hard to break. It’s highly likely that a person will do to you what they did to another. So pay attention to details as you’re getting that one side of the breakup story. A cautionary warning to those rebound folks.