When to start a new romantic relationship after your breakup? Some people recommend waiting a few months so you can really get your feelings under control. But others recommend waiting only a few days. They argue that the sooner you find someone else, the sooner you’ll forget about your ex.
But you can listen to neither of these recommendations and instead follow a trusty rule of thumb that states how you need to wait half the length of your previous relationship before you get (or try to get) into a new one.
Not your cup of tea? Fine. Let’s move away from mathematics then. Math sucks anyways. What about feelings? I often suggest to people who just came out of a breakup to start dating again when they feel like it — when they genuinely find dating exciting again.
This advice is usually beneficial for the breakup survivor, however, I recently found out that it could also be adverse. Primarily because many people get deluded by their feelings and thus, start dating before they’re actually ready.
Take, for instance, a person who starts a new relationship just days after his breakup because he felt like it. We can quickly assume that this person made a wrong decision and label his new partner a rebound.
Rebounds tend to have a lot of bad-mojo surrounding them. The label refers to someone who you committed to — formed a rebound relationship with — because you wanted to escape your breakup pain or distract yourself from it.
It’s also not uncommon for people to get into rebound relationships in order to make their ex jealous and get their revenge. Hopefully, you’re not like those people.
Experts and the general audience usually describe rebound relationships as shallow, short-lasting, formed on the backbone of one’s loneliness and anxiety, and built without much consideration or rationality concerning the new partner’s compatibility.
To my knowledge, an average rebound lasts about four months to 1 year, but it virtually always ends for the same reasons a person’s last relationship ended. But how come, you might ask?
Because it’s not enough to only heal from a breakup, people also have to reflect and learn why their last relationship ended and what mistakes they made. As a result, they can figure out what they need to improve upon or change to avoid a future breakup.
Ok, Max, I get it. Rebounds suck. But the article implies that a rebound relationship is a great thing. What up with that?
Well, rebounds don’t suck all of the time.
Despite all the negative stigma surrounding rebound relationships, there’s an unexplored side to the subject, that being, how getting into a rebound can actually be a great thing.
So if you’re afraid of dating or committing to someone special right now because you don’t want the whole thing to turn into a rebound relationship but still want a relationship nonetheless, listen the fuck up.
A STORY ON PERSPECTIVE
Enter Jimny. His girlfriend dumped his ass two weeks ago because of his suffocating inclinations to interrogate her on where she was and what she was doing whenever she was away.
Obviously, Jimny is a control freak and is riddled with jealousy issues. And due to his insecurities, he’s unable to trust other people, especially the ones he’s romantically involved with.
At the moment, Jimny is hurting badly from his breakup. And what better way to soothe his throbbing heartache than by finding someone new to attach to. Well, Jimny did just that. Just weeks after his breakup and far too early, he found a new girlfriend. Her name was Anna.
The first few weeks of being with Anna were all sunshine and roses. However, in week six, Jimny’s insecurities and needy tendencies began to act up again. As a result, he couldn’t help himself and texted Anna in the middle of the night and check up on what she was doing.
The conversations even got to the point where Jimny began to ask things like, “Do you still love me?” and “Oh, you’re with your friend, I don’t like that…What are you two doing right now?”
Yet, despite Jimny’s needy remarks and inquiries, Anna elegantly laughed and brushed them all off. Instead of arguing, she lovingly explained what she was doing, reassured her boyfriend that she loves him, and told him to calm down.
The reason Anna responded to Jimny in such a kind and patient way is that she knew what it was like to have jealousy issues. She recognized Jimy’s core problem.
She also had many jealousy issues herself in the past, But she has grown and matured since. Or in other words, Anna’s slowly turned her insecure attachment style into a secure variant.
To continue with our story, the secure nature of Anna soon began to influence the insecure nature of Jimny. The more he became reassured that his partner loves him, the less needy, jealous, and unworthy he felt. Thus, he kept exhibiting less and less toxic tendencies.
Eventually, Anna got Jimny to shift his insecure attachment style into a secure variant. And after a few more weeks of their new dynamic, our friendly couple created something truly remarkable. They remodeled what started as a toxic rebound relationship into an actual relationship — one that’s healthy and has the potential of lasting.
Some people are surprised that this kind of transformation is even possible, but rest assured, it’s actually pretty common.
It’s natural that when a person with an insecure attachment style (Jimny) forms a relationship with someone with a secure attachment style (Anna), that lesser style begins to morph into the superior one.
And if the couple’s relationship is a rebound, this morphism usually helps turn the whole thing into a non-rebound. Or, as I like to call it, a ‘good’ rebound.
THE BENEFITS OF A REBOUND RELATIONSHIP
Assuming a rebound relationship isn’t stuffed with problems, there are numerous benefits to being in a new relationship.
For starters, there’s companionship. Humans are hardwired for connection. Therefore finding someone with who you can cultivate a strong connection helps you improve your emotional and mental health.
Next, there’s passion and infatuation that come along with new relationships, which naturally also make us feel better. (1)
It’s also proven that coupled people become less receptive to anxiety and depression compared to single people. Likewise, they also tend to live longer and possess an overall greater sense of wellbeing and physical health. (2)(3)
When it comes to my clients and readers, I was surprised to find out that most of the ones who found a new partner soon after their breakup experienced a boost in self-esteem and had more confidence in their desirability.
So, ultimately, if a new relationship brings so many benefits to your overall wellbeing, then getting into a rebound relationship after a breakup probably isn’t a bad thing. (4)
In fact, I would encourage you to pursue a rebound when you find dating exciting again if an exclusive relationship is fundamentally your goal.
However, when you initiate this process, two questions tend to come up: “how do I know I’m in a rebound relationship in the first place,” and “how do I know I’m in a ‘good’ rebound — the one like Jimny was in?”
REBOUND RELATIONSHIP SIGNS
I’ll split the signs into two categories.
The first category consists of signs that you’re in a bad rebound relationship, that is, a relationship that is or has the potential to become toxic and dysfunctional.
The second category consists of signs that you’re in a good rebound relationship, that is, a relationship that is or has the potential to become healthy and lasting.
Signs you’re in a ‘bad’ rebound relationship
1. You always think or miss your ex. If days and weeks go by, and you’re still missing your ex like crazy and obsessing about them despite having someone new in your love life, you’re probably in a bad rebound.
2. the relationship feels rushed. If you feel as though everything happened too fast and that you’re not ready to commit to a new person yet, then that’s probably a bad sign.
3. You don’t necessarily love this new person, but you love the connection you have with them. This sign is more challenging to spot than the rest, and many people bullshit themselves into thinking it’s actually a good sign. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Sure, you’re enjoying the company of your new lover, however, this can simultaneously be your core problem. Enjoying the company of someone or the connection you’re sharing with someone is not the same as enjoying them as an actual human.
4. You’re doing it for revenge. This is plausibly the most obvious sign of a bad rebound that you can notice. However, it’s also the easiest to justify and, thus, disregard.
For instance, many people get into rebounds on purpose to try to make their ex jealous, even though they understand that what they’re doing is morally wrong.
5. You’re giving off mixed signals. Many people get confused by this sign, so let me illustrate what it means:
Years ago, when I was casually dating my current girlfriend, I was still traumatized from a breakup that happened years before I met her. As a result of that breakup, I was afraid of intimacy and fostered an intense fear of commitment.
Consequently, I would push back and emotionally shut down whenever my girlfriend — or date at the time — got too familiar with me. After a time, I would slowly revert to being vulnerable if she backed of enough.
That’s how giving off mixed signals looks.
Luckily, I was educated enough to handle my emotional issues without them interfering too much in my love life. But many other people sadly don’t have the same luck.
SIGNS YOU’RE IN A ‘GOOD’ REBOUND RELATIONSHIP
The easiest way to determine if you’re in a healthy rebound instead of its unhealthy counterpart is by inverting the signs of a ‘bad’ rebound relationship and then making your judgment.
Therefore, if you’re not obsessing about your ex, if your relationship doesn’t feel rushed, if you genuinely care for your new partner, if you’re with them for revenge, and if you’re not giving out mixed signals, then you just might be in a good type of rebound.
But then again, only you can know this for sure.
Noticing any of the above signs always boils down to pure self-awareness. The more you’re able to stop and observe and question what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling, the easier you’re going to be able to assess if you’re in a ‘bad’ or a ‘good’ rebound relationship.
SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS
In summary, rebound relationships are not always a bad thing. In fact, to my knowledge, I would argue that they are more often a good thing. And that goes for the short and the long term, no matter how they unravel.
Because even if a rebound doesn’t work out, it can still teach us a lot about our emotional and mental world. About our strengths and weaknesses. About the mistakes we made in our love-life and our right-doings.
Think about it like this: if your first breakup hasn’t taught you a valuable lesson yet, then the second one, which in this case usually ends for the same reason as the first, probably will.
Previously Published on maxjancar.com