Rebound Dating

Rebound Dating

Dating while you are still recovering from a previous relationship can be a tempting thing to indulge. You may be lonely, you want to fill up your time, and you probably feel a desperate need to distract yourself from thinking about your ex. Heck, the desire is so strong that one of the most common jokes thrown at people going through a breakup is, "The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else."

Is it really, though? No matter how good of an idea it might seem at the moment, there are a lot of compelling reasons to wait it out. Both you and future partners will ultimately benefit from a period of being unattached before you delve into something new.

First of all, when we are in the throes of grief and anger it is highly unlikely that we will attract or choose an emotionally healthy relationship. Chances are high that past patterns will carry over and play out in anything we begin before we have done the emotional clean-up from past relationships. The brain subconsciously gravitates to familiarity, so you may be unwittingly choosing a partner with the very characteristics that caused you to leave your last partner. It is also true that in the interest of self-preservation most emotionally healthy people will not be interested in pursuing romantic involvement with someone who is still on the rebound. This is one of the reasons a quiet period of solitude and introspection can be so helpful. You need and deserve the space to figure out what things were good and what were less than ideal in your last relationship in order to make healthier choices in the future.

Another reason to avoid diving immediately into a new relationship is that it can be a means of avoidance. Avoiding unpleasant feelings does not make them disappear. They are always there, lurking right under the surface. A lot of times these suppressed feeling not only stick around, they use this incubation period to gestate and grow, until they take on a life of their own. This is when you are likely to find yourself in the throes of an emotional breakdown.

Aside from your own feelings, which are of course of the utmost importance, you also need to consider the potential impact on the new person in your life. If you have unresolved anger or grief, you are much more likely to project those feelings onto your new relationship. This can lead to the comparison game, in which the new partner is constantly being held to a better/worse than the old partner standard. The flipside is equally unhealthy, and ultimately, unbearable for the new partner. This would be the savior mentality, where you cast your new love interest into an unhealthy and unrealistic position of being the one to sweep in and save you. Is it really fair to a new love to be put in the position of having to choose between listening to you for hours as you grieve, rage, or pine over someone else?

In the end, rebound dating is usually ill-advised. It can get messy very quickly, and it is unlikely that anyone will come out of it in a better place than they were in when it began. Sit with the emotions. Relearn who you are when you aren't attached to someone else. Figure out what it is that you actually want and need from a relationship. What will it look like in practice? Allow the lessons to sink in and be gentle with your healing heart. When you reach the point where you are truly ready to begin again, you will be stronger, happier, and more willing and able to give and receive the love you deserve.

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