When to start a new romantic relationship after your breakup? Some people suggest waiting a few months so you can get a grip on your feelings. Others suggest waiting only a few days and argue that the sooner you find someone new, the sooner you’ll forget about your ex.
But you can listen to neither of those recommendations and instead follow a societal rule of thumb: wait for half the lenght of your previous relationship before you attempt to jump into a new one.
Not your cup of tea? Fine. Let’s move away from math. Math sucks anyways. What about feelings? I often suggest people start dating again when they genuinely find the whole thing exciting again.
This is often good advice for your average breakup survivor. However, I recently found that it could also sometimes backfire, primarily because many people get deluded by their feelings and start dating before they’re actually ready.
Take, for instance, a person who starts a new relationship just days after his breakup because they felt like it. We can quickly assume that this person made the wrong decision and label his new partner a rebound, and the entire relationship a rebound relationship.
Rebound relationships tend to have a lot of bad mojo surrounding them. The label refers to a newly formed relationship that someone got into only because they wanted to escape or distract themselves from the pain of the dissolution of their last relationship. It’s also common for people to get into rebounds in order to make their ex jealous and get their sweet, sweet revenge.
Experts usually describe rebound relationships as shallow, short-lasting (four months to one year, on average), formed on the backbone of one’s loneliness and anxiety, and built without much consideration or rationality concerning the new partner’s compatibility.
They also note that a typical rebound always ends for the same reason(s) a person’s last relationship ended. How so? Because most people never reflect on why their previous relationship ended and so they learn nothing from it. As a result, they get into another breakup right after the initial one, at best. Or they lock themselves in a perpetual cycle of breakups, at worst.
All that being said, rebounds don’t actually suck all of the time. Yes, there is a lot of negative stigma surrounding them, but there is an unexplored side to the subject, that being, how rebounds 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. For this article might blow your mind.
A Real-World Example Of A Healthy Rebound
Jimny was always a suffocating boyfriend. He was a control freak, riddled with jealousy issues. He was the type of person who always wanted to know where his partner was, what she’s been doing, and with whom she was hanging out. And due to these insecurities, Jimny became unable to trust people, especially the ones he’s romantically involved with.
After a few months of enduring Jimny’s bullshit, his girlfriend, now ex-girlfriend, couldn’t take it anymore and dumped him. As one could expect, Jimny was devastated by this.
To soothe his throbbing heartache, Jimny figured he needs to attach to someone new as quickly as possible. So he forced himself onto the dating field and, after a few weeks, found a new girlfriend. Her name was Anna.
The first few weeks of being together, all sunshine and roses. However, around week six, Jimny’s insecurities and needy tendencies began to act up again. He couldn’t help himself and texted Anna in the middle of the night to 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…”
Yet, despite Jimny’s needy remarks and nerve-wracking inquiries, Anna elegantly laughed and brushed all of them 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 so empathetically, was because she knew what it was like to have jealousy issues. She had a lot of them herself in the past, thus was able to relate. Thankfully, she has grown past them. She went from a needy and insecure to secure and mature. Put differently, she completely shifted her attachment style.
And due to Anna’s secure nature, Jimny couldn’t help being influenced by her. The more he became reassured that Anna loves him, the less needy, jealous, and unworthy he felt. Thus, he gradually began exhibiting less toxic tendencies and unattractive behaviors.
Eventually, Anna got Jimny to shift from being insecure to secure himself! And after a few more weeks of their new dynamic, our couple created something truly remarkable. They transformed 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.
Studies proved that when a person with an insecure attachment style forms a relationship with someone secure, that lesser style begins to morph into the superior one. And if the couple’s relationship is a rebound, this transformation helps turn the whole thing into a non-rebound. Or, as I like to call it, a healthy rebound.
The benefits of a rebound relationship
Assuming a rebound relationship isn’t stuffed with problems, there are numerous benefits to being in it.
For starters, there’s companionship. Humans are hardwired for connection. So finding someone you can cultivate a strong connection with improves your emotional and mental health. Then, there’s passion and infatuation that come along with new relationships that naturally make us feel more desirable and confident. It’s even proven that couples are less receptive to anxiety and depression compared to single people, tend to live longer, and possess a greater sense of wellbeing and physical health. (1)(2)(3)(4)
So if a new relationship brings so many benefits to the table, then getting into a rebound probably isn’t a bad thing. 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 one initiates this process, two questions tend to pop up: “how do I know I’m in a rebound relationship in the first place,” and “how do I know I’m in a healthy rebound?”
Signs Of A Rebound relationship
I’ll split the signs into two categories. The first consists of those that point that you’re in an unhealthy rebound relationship, and the second consists of those that point that you’re in a healthy rebound relationship.
Signs you’re in an unhealthy 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 find yourself obsessing about them despite having someone new in your life, you’re probably in an unhealthy rebound.
2. Your 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 love the person, only the bond. Enjoying the company of someone or the connection you’re sharing with them is not the same as enjoying them as an actual human. If you find yourself overly focused on the former, chances are, you’re in an unhealthy rebound. Don’t commit to people just so because you don’t want to feel lonely, or there will be hell to pay.
4. You’re doing it for revenge. This is plausibly the most obvious sign of an unhealthy rebound. Luckily, 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. When I first started dating, I was still traumatized from an old breakup and fostered an intense fear of commitment because of it. And so, I would shut down emotionally whenever anyone got too familiar or close to me. Still, after they gave me space, I would yet again come out of my shell, and everything would be back to normal. That’s how giving off mixed signals looks. If you tend to indulge in it with your new partner, investigate further. It may be a bad sign.
Signs you’re In A healthy Rebound Relationship
The easiest way to determine if you’re in a healthy rebound is by simply inverting the signs of an unhealthy rebound 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 as a person, if you’re with them for revenge, and if you’re not giving out mixed signals, then you just might be in a healthy rebound.
But then again, only you can know this for sure.
Noticing whether you’re in one type of rebound or the other is always a gamble, and it mostly boils down to self-awareness. The more you’re able to stop and observe and question what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling, the easier it’s going to be to assess the nature of your relationship.
That being said, no matter whether your relationship is a healthy or toxic rebound, the experience is always worth it, no matter how it unravels. For if a rebound doesn’t work out, it can still potentially teach you a lot about your emotional world. About your strengths and weaknesses. About the mistakes you’ve made in your love-life and your right-doings.
Let me put it this way: if your first breakup hasn’t taught you a valuable lesson yet, then the second one, which usually ends for the same reasons as the first, probably will. Embrace this. For the best teacher truly are our very own fuckups.
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