Rebound relationships are not necessarily an unhealthy choice, but they do need to be sought out with caution.
A rebound relationship is a type of relationship that quickly forms after an unpleasant breakup.
Every breakup has a unique set of reasons that causes two people to go in separate directions. Similarly, each person will be motivated by a diverse set of factors to enter a new relationship.
Rebound relationships are not necessarily an unhealthy choice, but they do need to be sought out with caution. A Queens College study found that rebound relationships can be beneficial to person’s psychological health if confronted for the right reasons. However, this does not mean we should hastily rush into finding a new person to fill the space our last partner left.
It’s incredibly important to remain in tune with our emotions as we go through the recovery process. We need to ask ourselves if we are entering a relationship for the right reasons, or if the rebound is just a way to avoid dealing with the previous loss.
Thinking it’s a Quick Fix
The problem with entering a new relationship too quickly is that we don’t give ourselves enough time to reflect on the breakup. Psychologist Dr. Gary Lewandowski explains that after a breakup we experience a surge of negative emotions, particularly loneliness and lower self-worth. Rather than using the rebound relationship as a chance for a new start, we allow it to hide the intense pain we are experiencing.
Masking the pain with another relationship is similar to using a flimsy Band-Aid to cover a wound requiring stitches. Every so often the Band-Aid begins to slip off. We attempt to disguise the damage, afraid to acknowledge a cut that shows little signs of improvement. There is a big difference between processing the pain and temporarily masking the negative emotions. Processing involves discussion, reflection, and honesty. Avoidance may alleviate the pain at times, but the temporary fix will not yield long term solutions.
Blindly Listening To Other’s Advice
When we lose someone that was a large contributor to our feelings of self-worth, it’s a good idea to reach out to friends and family for support. However, because everyone has their own unique experiences regarding breakups, we need to be prepared for contrasting advice. Take other’s words into consideration, but understand that no matter how many people urge you to “get back into the market”, it’s okay to admit you need more time for yourself.
People may know details regarding the quality of your past relationship, but they were not there during every meaningful or intimate moment. They may expect you to move on at a quicker rate than you are capable of, because others cannot fully understand the extent of the trauma. Continue to consult your friends and listen to their advice but make sure you are not disregarding your own desires in the process.
Convincing Everyone You’re Okay
The “I’m fine” response is an easy and dangerous habit to fall into. Understandably, there are instances in which sadness is permissible and times we need to put on a brave face. Sometimes we engage in a rebound relationship hoping to prove to others we’re fine so they stop worrying about us. Other times we seek new relationships solely out of desire to show our ex we’re better off without them.
Displaying false happiness is not going to make us feel better in the long run, nor will we actually enjoy the rebound relationship we enter. Use a breakup as an opportunity to prove to ourselves and others we can be happy without always relying on another person.