We all heard that rebounds are bad for us. That we are not supposed to be in a brand new relationship right after another one just ended or ending. That it's not fair to the other person, or even to ourselves, it won't end well, and we should be smarter and more mature than even thinking about getting into one. We all know this in our heads. But when all we feel is the pain, anger, and fear of divorce, and all we hear is the voices that tell us that we are not good enough, and nobody will ever love us again, it is hard to resist the temptation of new love and excitement if it comes along, or even to seek it out for ourselves. The possibility of some good feelings and fun is just too much for our troubled souls to pass on.
How do we know if a rebound is really a rebound? Is there a specific time when it's not a rebound anymore? Does it feel different than other romantic relationships? Are there any circumstances when it can be beneficial for us?
Here are the most popular definitions of a rebound relationship from Urban Dictionary:
"Going from one relationships to the next right away to avoid the pain of a breakup."
"The kind of relationship that is simply happening in order to get over one that recently ended."
"Hooking up with someone shortly after being dumped by someone else, so that you still feel wanted."
Generally rebound is classified as a relationship with the main purpose of moving us forward and away from the last one, serving as a distraction from pain, grief, and other heavy, uncomfortable feelings. Usually there is only a short time between the breakup of the old and the beginning of the new, but it can happen even years later if we did not process the feelings and grieved our losses. So time alone is not the most important indicator but our feeling reality, and our spot in the grief process is.
The biggest problem with rebounds that even if we know all of the above information and are generally very self-aware and conscious about our lives and feelings, it still can sneak up on us masquerading as true love or harmless romance. Very few of us get into a rebound acknowledging the facts and reality of it, because it does not feel like a rebound. It does feel like true love or harmless romance. And that can not hurt us, right? It is good for us. Mostly when going through divorce and wanting to feel lovable and desired. It just feels right. And if it's really a rebound it should not feel this right.
But they do. They feel more right than anything we have been in for a very long time. Maybe ever. They provide so much security, love, and intimacy. Everything we are craving for. Not to talk about all the extra support it brings to our crazy and unpredictable divorce. These are all good things, aren't they? Yes, they are. And if there were no serious draw backs and dangers of it, we should all go for a rebound as soon as possible. But unfortunately there are many. Here are the few major ones to keep in mind and to be conscious about when in a possible rebound during divorce.
Danger #1. We make divorce decisions in light of new relationship.
Let's face it. When we are already in a new relationship we just want our divorce to end as soon as possible so we would be free and ready to enjoy life with our new lover. It becomes such a motivational and focal point that we do anything to speed up the process. Even if it involves rushed, not clearly thought out decisions. We are already moving on with full speed and expect our divorce process to do the same. When it doesn't, we will try to accelerate it to ease the tension in ourselves. Decisions made from this pressured inner state are usually not for our best interest on the long run.
Danger #2. We delay the grieving process.
There is nothing more effective and pleasurable for covering up the pain and grief of divorce than new romance. But that's all what it really does. Covers it all up. It doesn't solve it or even help to process it. It is only a distraction from the loss and not a helping tool to work through it. Whatever stage we were in the grieving process when starting the new relationship we will probably stay until it ends. We can stuff grief and cover up grief, but unfortunately that does not make it go away. If we don't work through it patiently, it will hover under our other emotions affecting us many different ways from beneath and keeping us from fully experiencing the good parts of life.
Danger #3. We avoid ourselves by focusing on someone else.
New love brings new focus. A new relationship starts with the fascination of a new person, the spotlight moves from ourselves to outward, directing our energies into the discovery of this wonderful being. Our divorce becomes even more burdensome than before, keeping us from full engagement to the new relationship. But we have to remember that in reality, the new relationship is keeping us from fully focusing on our divorce and being sure we are getting what we want at the end. It distracts us from keeping the focus on ourselves in this critical time when the result of our divorce can depend on how much attention and thought we put into it.
Danger #4. We direct our neediness to the wrong place.
Being needy and extremely vulnerable is part of divorce. There is nothing wrong about it or about us for experiencing emotional destitution and wanting extra help and support all the time. It is healthy and beneficial to keep reaching out for what we need and to build a wide and strong support system around us. People we can call, see, hug, when the divorce current takes us to low, desperate places. We need to acknowledge this needy and vulnerable state and be aware that this neediness can easily make us latch onto a new love interest. We are not in a stable emotional state to make distinctions between true intimacy and enmeshment, and most of the time end up either using someone or being taken advantage of.
Danger #5. When it ends it hurts double.
Statistically most rebounds will end sooner or later and would not become a long term thing. If it was a relationship born out of our neediness, instability, and attempt to escape the pain, it won't last. The pain we tried to avoid all this time will be there waiting for us to face, with a brand new serving heaped on top from the breakup of the rebound. For many people pain after the ending of a rebound is the strongest emotional pain they have ever experienced, and that is why. Because even if it feels like it's only the pain from this last relationship, in reality it's all the stored up and unprocessed pain from the divorce too, gushing out at the first real chance we let ourselves feel.
Rebounds are a strong crutch some of us choose to use while going through our divorce. We should not shame or beat ourselves up about it. But let us use this crutch with lots of caution, so we don't end up hurting more or hurt someone else in the process.
About the Blog
Nuggets of insights and bits of advice from a Divorce Coach
© 2020 DivorceCoachAustin