Are you wondering if a rebound relationship will ever work? So were these readers who asked the question of our dating coach. Hear her advice on what a rebound relationship is and when to jump in or let it go.
I Wonder... Could a Rebound Relationship Ever Work?
Dear Lori,I have just recently ended an eight month relationship with a girl I truly loved. She was fifteen and I am eighteen. Four days after I ended it I met a girl and we started talking and I have fallen madly for her. Some of my friends say it's just a rebound relationship. But we have a lot in common and share a lot of the same values and goals in life. She is older and more mature. Everyone I talk to says rebound relationships don't work, is this true and can my new relationship work? And if it can what can i do to better the chances of it working?
-- Contributed by: Brad
Rebound relationships tend to happen when you start a new relationship while holding feelings (positive or negative) for the person you were in a previous relationship with. From this perspective, every relationship has the potential to be a rebound relationship. Perhaps a better question is, why do some rebound relationships work while others don't?
One likely cause for the failure of a rebound relationship occurs when you get into a new relationship before being completely over your past love. When this happens, the new relationship may be doomed. Not to mention that the new girlfriend may feel she is not respected, valued or even appreciated for the person she is. She may feel as though there are three people in the new relationship, you, your old girlfriend and her. That is not to say you can't end a past relationship still feeling positive and at the same time not interested in getting back with your old girlfriend.
From your question, it doesn't sound like you're holding feelings for your old girlfriend. So why are your friends doubting this new relationship? Perhaps one reason your friends are concerned is that they find it hard to believe you could have "fallen deeply" again so soon after the end of your previous relationship. To them, the fact that you have "fallen madly" for this new person is a sure sign you are not over your last girlfriend. Your friends may mistakenly believe that you are projecting feelings for your old girlfriend onto your new girlfriend. It is likely that their concerns are because they care about you and don't want to see you or the new girl hurt. It doesn't mean that their concerns are accurate. Only you can know your true feelings for your old girlfriend and your new girlfriend.
Romance comes with no guarantees, so it is important to be present, not worry about the future of the relationship, or live in the past comparing the new relationship to an old one. Most people find this hard to do. Yet, you seem to be doing this. By keeping an open mind and heart to romance, you are doing all that you can to ensure giving this new relationship the best chance to succeed.
Divorced and Rebounding
I recently started dating a man that I have known for a long time (really, more of an acquaintance than a close friend). He has been divorced for 7 months (married for 18 years). I, on the other hand, have been single for 5 1/2 years, but just got out of a relationship with my ex-husband 2 months ago, (not that it makes any difference, but we were married for over 20 years. I enjoy the company of the new guy I'm dating, (6 months now), but have this fear of TRUST from my past marriage. We have a lot in common and share similar interests. I guess my big concern is that I feel I have complicated things now, by sleeping with him----too soon. I don't know how to move forward in the relationship without sabotaging it and making him feel like I'm not into him, when all I want to do is slow things down so I can get to know him better. Any comments or advice is welcomed since I'm obviously confused about the whole thing!
-- Contributed by: Anne
From my perspective, it seems that you and the man you have been dating have a lot more in common and are on similar paths then you might realize. I would go so far as to say that the two of you are mirror images of the other. This could be good or a not so good depending on how you view it. The positive is having a companion who understands what it means to have been once married for a long time. Each of you brings life experience and wisdom to the table. Both of you have gone through the challenges of divorce and understand the emotional roller coaster of letting go and trying to rebuild yourself. The latter may have contributed to the two of you using physical intimacy to connect and feel connected to another person early in your relationship.
It is this last parallel that is contributing to your concerns as well as the not so good I referred to earlier. Rebound relationships tend to get a lot of negative press, but I think this type of relationship can be very helpful for self-esteem, for learning about one's self, and for learning about romance and relationships. Not to mention, rebound relationships can soften the blow of letting go of a long-term relationship. A problem with rebound relationships happens when one person is the rebound and the other is not.
This however is not your situation. Although you say that you have been divorced for 5 ½ years, you have maintained a relationship with your ex, so in reality you have not completely let go of the past. In fact, you have held onto the past while dating this new guy. As a result, you have not had time to heal the past, so the wounds are still very real and present. This may explain why your fears around trust are so apparent. You have not been honest with yourself, your ex, or the man you are dating.
Likewise, the man you have been dating has been divorced for seven months and for six of those he has been in a relationship with you. He too has not healed from the past, but rather attached himself to you perhaps to avoid grieving his own losses. Similarly, he has brought his baggage to this new relationship and he has his own fears.
I am going to recommend something that others might totally disagree with. I am going to tell you to jump into this relationship. Some people need time to grieve the end of a relationship by themselves. However, some people prefer to grieve with another person. This sounds like you and your date. So go for it! Share your fears, support each other, learn from each other and practice how to give and take in a new relationship. Live in the moment and throw abandonment to the wind. Enjoy the companionship!