Rebound relationships, and the bad situations they can put a couple in.
As the song says, breaking up is hard to do. No matter how much time is spent discussing reasons and decisions, there are still going to be unresolved issues. Ending a romantic partnership is every bit as difficult as recovering from grief or moving away from friends and family. Break-ups are almost always followed by a period of confusion and mixed emotions. Few people are capable of making rational decisions after a break-up, especially when it comes to new affairs of the heart.
This is the precise scenario which can lead to an ill-advised ‘rebound relationship’. Instead of taking enough time to recover from the lingering effects of a former romance, some people will seek out another partner right away. These relationships are almost always doomed to failure, because they were formed during a time of vulnerability. The new partner may not even be aware of this previous relationship, which makes discovery even more painful.
But what makes a rebound relationship so hazardous for both partners? One answer to that question lies in the mechanics of a rebound. A romantic relationship has just ended, leaving both partners in a state of emotional limbo. Reconciliation is out of the question, but seeking out a new relationship so soon may feel like cheating or disrespect. But humans do have urges, and a lack of physical intimacy can cause them to make irrational decisions based on those urges. The desire to feel physically attractive again or to experience sexual intimacy again can be powerful enough to override self-control. This can lead to an ill-fated relationship with the first eligible partner willing to have a short-term relationship. Once the feeling of intimacy has been satiated, the relationship is over. This could bring on a cycle of short-term relationship based on sexual or physical needs only, not nurturing long-term romances. Daters on the rebound may become addicted to these brief affairs, making recovery much more difficult.
Another danger with rebound relationships is projection. The new partner may believe the relationship is based on his or her unique personality and appearance, but discover that his or her partner is only projecting the ex’s qualities. The new partner may resemble an ex physically or emotionally, which can cause confusion in the mind of a rebounder. Instead of forming a completely new relationship with a new partner, he or she could be using this person as a surrogate for the old one. They now have the opportunity to say things they wished they had said to the ex, or experience things they never did with a former lover. A new partner may not even be aware of this projection, but he or she may not feel comfortable in the role of substitute. It would not be unusual for a rebounder to mention the wrong name in conversation or other inappropriate moments.
One of the most dangerous elements of a rebound relationship can be the motivation of the rebounder. The new partner may only be an unwitting player in a very large game of revenge against the ex. In that irrational post-separation time period, some people may seek out ways to humiliate or injure the one who hurt them.
If the ex begins dating a beautiful woman, a woman on the rebound may seek out the first attractive male she finds, regardless of his personality or compatibility. What matters most is the effect this will have on the former partner. The same could be true about any other attribute- if he’s dating a thinner woman, she must find a taller man and so on. Once the ‘message’ has been delivered, the new relationship may end abruptly. As long as the rebounder is intent on psychological revenge against his or her ex, a new healthy relationship is nearly impossible.
Some rebound relationships can evolve into healthier ones if both partners work towards resolving their issues with the past. There’s no timetable involved where healthy dating is involved. Some rebounders honestly do not realize they are not ready to resume dating, while others recognize the patterns they’ve formed and take steps to stop the cycle. A failed romantic relationship can be a powerful blow to one’s ego and self-esteem, but time spent away from the dating scene can be time well-spent.
Discovering more about yourself on your own is always preferable to forming doomed rebound relationships just for the sake of companionship.