Most people need time to recover from their first marriage. If they jump into a new relationship too soon, they may have more difficulty establishing trust and a strong emotional bond with a new partner.
Statistics back up the fact that marriages formed by couples in rebound relationships are more likely to fail than ones that develop more slowly.
What is a rebound relationship?
It’s a relationship formed soon after a breakup. Truth be told, most experts believe that if you are newly divorced, you probably aren’t ready to leap headlong into a romantic relationship. The chance of a rebound relationship having long-term potential is slim because it will take time for you to heal from your breakup so that you don’t bring baggage into your new relationship.
Rebound relationships are believed to be short-lived due to one partner’s emotional instability and desire to distract themselves from a painful breakup. Those emerging from serious relationships are often advised to avoid serious dating until their wounds and raw emotions have calmed.
Someone who is “on the rebound,” or recently out of a serious dating relationship or marriage, is popularly not psychologically capable of making reasonable decisions regarding suitable partners due to emotional neediness, lingering feelings towards the old partner, or unresolved problems from the previous relationship.
When you’re hurting from a past relationship, you might strive to avoid the pain by jumping into a new one. This signifies a rebound relationship has begun. Fixating on someone new can be a way to deny your hurt and anguish from a breakup. In fact, getting involved in a rebound relationship will usually not allow you to have sufficient time to heal.
As a newly divorced woman with two school-age children, I plunged into a rebound relationship with someone who provided solace, companionship, and emotional and sexual intimacy. Since neither one of us had healed sufficiently from our recent divorces, the relationship ended after six months.
In my case, my rebound relationship was a reminder that I was desirable and capable of having passionate feelings that had been dormant for many years. However, it did delay my healing from my divorce and I was very distressed when this new romance ended abruptly.
On the downside, while most rebound relationships don’t do any permanent harm, they can postpone the recovery process. In other words, escaping by means of a rebound relationship can prevent you from gaining insight into the reasons your marriage ended and the lessons you need to learn from it.
Consequently, getting involved in a rebound relationship can be a risky proposition. If you’re feeling lonely after divorce, it’s easy to fall for someone before you’re truly ready to begin dating again. On the other hand, dating several different people casually can give you the opportunity to figure out what type of partner you need to thrive. It makes sense to explore ways rebound relationships can be avoided.
5 ways to avoid a rebound relationship:
- Focus on your recovery from your former relationship or marriage. Take up a new hobby, join a gym, and/or enjoy the company of friends and family. Counseling can also be beneficial to the healing process.
- Don’t rush into dating after a divorce. It takes time to heal and to gain a healthy perspective on why your relationship ended and being in a new one can slow up this process.
- Stop fixating on your ex. Using a new partner as a shoulder to cry on is a true sign of a rebound relationship. If you find yourself doing this, slow things down or find a way to shift gears and consider the person a friend or companion rather than a romantic partner.
- Gain insight into the reasons why your marriage or an intimate relationship ended. For instance, are you drawn to emotionally unavailable partners even though you crave emotional intimacy and love to share your feelings with a partner? If so, exploring this dynamic can help you avoid one-sided relationships.
- Become more comfortable with being alone. All relationships will end eventually (death, divorce, etc.) and so we all need to feel at ease being alone at some point in our lives.
Trying out new relationships can be less risky if both partners are honest with each other about their goals, and don’t see the partnership as long-term. If you decide to start dating within the first year after your divorce, do your best to have an open conversation with your new partner about your objectives and attempt to have realistic expectations of yourself and others.
If you go into a rebound relationship with your eyes wide open, you stand a better chance of recovering more quickly if it ends badly. You’re also less likely to repeat any dating disasters. Being cautious as you proceed into the dating world post-divorce will serve you well in the long-run!
Follow Terry on Twitter and Facebook. Her award-winning book, Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship, is available on her website. Terry’s new book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020. www.movingpastdivorce.com