Everyone copes with breakups in their own way, but one of the most popular and effective (short-term) solutions is to seek out a new relationship. Because after all, what better way to distract yourself from heartbreak and those empty slots in your schedule than a shiny new romance?
“Rebounds,” despite their immediate appeal, are generally frowned upon in the dating world. While I agree that the weeks following a breakup are best spent reflecting and healing, we can’t always control who we meet and when. And since nearly all romances that transpire within a short timeline of another are slapped with the rebound label without much forethought, here’s a Dating with Dignity guide to determining whether your rapid-fire romance is a rebound or the real thing:
The context in which you met your new man can be very telling. Were you binge barhopping and racking up online dates in an attempt to drown out your ex with new men? Or was it more of a chance meeting despite your stern resolve to focus on yourself? There’s nothing wrong with either approach, but you’re more likely to wind up in a rebound relationship if you’re essentially seeking one out.
Since the impetus behind a rebound relationship is finding someone to fill the gaping hole in both your mind and schedule that your last relationship left, you’ll find yourself attached at the hip with your rebound guy from the get-go. Rebound or not, the healthiest and most stable relationships kick off with a healthy dose of pragmatism. If you find yourself spending every waking minute together off the bat, it’s time to ask yourself some honest questions about the real reasoning behind your rigorous schedule.
No one can deny that strong physical chemistry is an important part of any relationship, but in a rebound relationship that makes up the majority of its substance. Making a habit of hopping into bed every chance you get and glossing over disconnects in values or interests means it’s time to get to know him or get out.
Feelings Toward Your Ex
Frequent thoughts about your ex in the wake of a breakup are completely natural, but pay close attention to the nature of those thoughts. Are you comparing your new guy to the old one, experiencing powerful surges of bitterness about how the breakup transpired, or even hoping you’ll run into him (especially while on the arm of your new guy)? In a partnership with genuine potential, thoughts of your ex will come and go as a matter of proximity but will be more reflective and therapeutic rather than competitive and bitter.
Feelings Toward the New Guy
If you’re in a rebound relationship, your inward and outward attitude toward your new relationship will be quite volatile. As your subconscious attempts to process the tough emotions that are sure to be festering in the aftermath of your relationship’s end, you’ll swing to both extremes—wanting to spend every second with him one day and avoiding him at all costs the next. When it’s the real thing, you may not know right away; but a sense of promise will keep you somewhat even-keeled so as not to ruin something with great potential.