You need to be careful, but there can be a good purpose of a "rebound" first date after a divorce. In fact, there can be several good purposes, as long as everyone is aware of them.
Dating Difficulties After Divorce
"When the horse throws you, get right back up on it!" While that may be good advice for horseback riding, affairs of the heart are a bit more delicate. The fact is, jumping right back into dating after any relationship can be a risky business; when it's a divorce, the ending of a committed marriage, it can be even more risky. There may be residual bitterness, guilt, longing, depression, and anger.
Many people seek counseling when grieving a past relationship, and this can be a very good idea to know when you're really ready to get back out there. However, no matter how long you wait, there always has to be that first date - and that's the one where the inevitable word "rebound" will come up.
The idea of a "rebound" is that you aren't going on a date because you actually like the person you're dating. Instead, you are just looking to use the person to help forget about your marriage (or the divorce) - and since that's a reaction, not an action, it colors the whole date. Dating is supposed to be a process of getting to know each other, of fresh discovery, and if the shadow of a past commitment is hanging over the head of one or both people, that can tinge everything with a bitter, hollow feeling.
Many people have gone back to dating too soon after a divorce and discovered that it was a disaster. This can lead to them feeling more rejected, as if they can't win, and can set back recovery from the separation even more.
But, what if you could change the purpose of a rebound first date after a divorce to help you move on?
Finding a Useful Purpose of a Rebound First Date After a Divorce
What you need to find is someone who is, above all, your friend. You can be attracted to the person, too, but that doesn't matter - what matters is that you have a solid relationship based on trust and friendship with him/her. Not necessarily in everything, but definitely in matters of the heart - in other words, when you're feeling depressed, it's safe to tell your friend, and if you're feeling angry, you can tell him/her that, too. You're setting up a safe environment for you to try a date, even knowing that it's a rebound date.
Just make sure it is an actual date. Do the things you would normally do on a date; this can differ from person to person, but treat it as if it were the first date. Talk as if you've never met before; pick safe but clever subjects (do not talk about your previous marriage). Enjoy each other's company; do your best to impress each other, as if you were trying to set up a second date.
Watch yourself (and have your friend watch you) for signs of the "rebound." There may be subjects that you think are safe, but remind you of the past; your friend/date will probably see this, and can either guide the conversation in a new direction or perhaps just acknowledge the past and the fact that you are moving on.
By creating this "rebound" date, and knowing that it is the same as a real date but without the danger of rejection, you are giving yourself the chance to safely exercise those dating muscles. You get a chance to remember how to be the charming, beautiful person that attracts that special someone. You get a chance to safely remember that dating is fun, not full of heartbreak and emotional danger.
Most of all, remember this: in basketball, once you get the rebound, the next thing that usually happens is that somebody scores.