In love or on the rebound?
Many rebound relationships are not permanent and can be even more destructive than an earlier break-up. Melanie Camilleri writes that it is far better to take time out and look at what could have gone wrong, what behaviours you need to change and what you would do differently this time round.
Nothing beats the feeling of being in love and I am sure every one of us has been in love at some point or another and whether it was with the right person or not, we all enjoyed it while it lasted.
We all want to be in love, but why is that? Because the experience makes us feel completely alive, where every sense of ours is heightened, every emotion is magnified, our every day reality is shattered and we are flying into the blissful heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, an afternoon but that doesn't diminish its value and we are left with memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives. For while love does last, it feels absolutely fantastic!
But what happens when a significant love ends? Certainly it is not a pleasant experience for both parties in the relationship but it is most tragic for the heartbroken one who has been dumped and left with a sense of guilt and unbearable void. It's normal to feel empty and abandoned after a long relationship comes to an end. It doesn't matter whether you were living together and saw your partner every minute of the day or if your major form of communication was through instant messaging or the phone, once the routine of your life changes, there's definitely going to be anguish and unhappiness. Most of us attempt to escape pain and seek pleasure and to some that means filling their void with another partner and, preferably, quickly!
For many it can be easy to fall into feelings of being unlovable and worthless once a relationship ends. These feelings are not very easy to shake off, so if another person begins to show an interest, understandably the pull towards what could perhaps be "the best thing to ever happen" can be incredibly strong. And why couldn't it be after all the hurt and pain that has been felt after a beloved has moved out? Isn't the person left behind entitled to get involved with another?
Of course! However, when we desperately want to share our life with another, we really can set ourselves up for future problems if we have not yet learnt to be alone in the world. We have to first grieve our losses and be able to look after ourselves before we plunge into another love affair, because wanting to share our life with someone when we are healthy enough mentally makes more sense than needing someone out of loneliness. Besides, finding a perfect match for us isn't supposed to be easy; human beings are too complex to fit perfectly with one another and if you've just come out of a meaningful relationship and think you've found another keeper then it might be a good time to reflect and look at the possibility that this might be just a rebound.
Rebound relationships are usually formed after a relationship which mattered comes to an end and the broken-hearted party needs to heal fast and find a replacement for the old lover who can't satisfy basic needs any longer. When you date on the rebound, there is a strong risk, unless you are extremely self-aware, of hurting yourself and others. If you are leaping into a new relationship to feel lovable, worthy, attractive or whatever again, then it means that you are seeking a relationship for all the wrong reasons. It is not sensible to start a relationship only to serve your self-esteem.
Most of these rebound relationships are not permanent and they can be even more destructive than the earlier break-up. It is far better to take time out and look at what could have gone wrong, what behaviours you need to change in yourself and what you would do differently this time around. If you dive straight into another love affair without working out what you really need from a relationship, you can find that the feelings for your old partner simply transfer onto the new one and there is the illusion that you've found someone totally different when it might be that you've found someone very much like your old love. When this happens, there is the danger that the issues which drove you away from your previous partner are the very ones which threaten your new relationship.
On the other hand, you may find yourself going out with someone who is the complete opposite of your previous partner, yet equally unsuitable. All of us know, on a sub-conscious level what wasn't working in the relationship, so we look for someone who provides the remedy. However, the new you who has been transformed by surviving a break-up, will not have the same needs as the old you, so a carelessly and quickly-chosen new partner may not provide the relief you need.
When someone on the rebound chooses someone who is the total opposite of the former partner, it is as if they are telling themselves that they have truly learned that the previous partner was an unhealthy choice for them; but in the majority of cases this choice of a new type of person is short-lived. Whereas, if the choice of lover is someone like the former partner, there will usually be way too much comparison and confusion as he or she will project old memories onto the new partner.
Besides, a rebound partner still in love may also seek somebody else as a way to instigate jealousy in his former other half. Once the latter shows a renewed interest in the relationship there is the possibility that the rebound partner dumps the new lover. Rebound relationships are simply a replacement for what was lost. Once the person is over the break-up that initiated the rebound relationship, the relationship will fail simply because it was used as an emotional crutch. Rebound relationships are too needy and too heavily loaded with emotional baggage. They can also be the result of trying to make up for lost time spent mourning the previous relationship or an attempt to compete with the ex by finding a new partner before he or she does. No matter what, when a marriage or long-term relationship ends you are likely to go through the five stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, sadness and acceptance.
Taking a relationship slow and easy is the best approach. It is not always feasible though as each person may be in a different stage of emotional growth and therefore, needs may be quite different. One may be ready for a more intensive relationship or commitment while the other person may only want someone to give them a hug and a kind word. New divorcees or people who have just come out of a meaningful relationship desperately need hugs and they will reach out and embrace the person who will give them the comfort they seek. Rebound relationships are like that, each person needs something from the other, but while one may be ready for long-term commitment, the other is only in it for the short term although they may not know it at the time.
To make the most out of a rebound relationship, it is advisable to focus on the present and enjoy the time spent with the partner. Obsessing about the future or trying to decide right away whether the new partner could be a potential spouse or not should be avoided. Honesty and sincerity are always recommended, so let a partner know where he or she stands and why it may be still early to commit. But how do you know that you are ready to fully commit to someone? When you will become comfortably single and no longer fear being alone, then it means that you are ready to start off a new relationship. This is because you no longer feel like a failure and don't possess a dented self-esteem anymore. You have a new confidence and are aware that you are attractive and appreciated by others.
If you are interested in meeting new people, then you are ready to trust members of the opposite sex but not necessarily desperate to remarry or to be with someone because during your time alone you may have cultivated many interests and hobbies and established healthy routines with family and friends.
So now that you are healed and ready for real intimacy you no longer need to find someone, but you can find someone you really want to be with!