In times of hurt or despair, we seek people who will minimalise our pain and distract us from our emotions. This couldn’t be more prevalent than in the period after a break up with a significant other. The element of distraction is most common with men, as they seek to detach themselves from their partner and move away from the emotional distress of a breakup, whereas women move into rebound relationships to gain emotional support from their new partner, subsequently minimalising their pain.
Rebound relationships form an adjustment period for the individual, a type of transition. This transition period can give a person the time to reflect on their past relationship and help them decipher what they want and expect from future relationships without feeling as though they’re completely on their own. In some cases, the qualities you’re looking for in a partner may be in the person you have begun a rebound relationship with. In other cases, it takes seeing differences or similarities in another partner to really realise what you need and what you’re willing to accept in your future relationships.
The growth you can achieve in a rebound relationship can both elevate your own understanding of yourself and how you impact the relationship you’re in. In some cases, you can learn more whilst being in a relationship and in turn help yourself recover from the previous relationship. However, it’s important to remember that you may also need time on your own in order to truly reflect and ensure that you’re not entering into this new relationship with the sole purpose of not being on your own. If this is the case, then not only are you limiting your own happiness but you’re limiting your new partner’s happiness too.
Some research suggests that rebound relationships can, in fact, become more valued than the previous relationship, however, it’s imperative that the focus is on your new partner. Open and honest communication about your preceding partner and relationship is key, as harbouring resentment and being secretive about your feelings still ties you to your previous partner and as such restrains you from moving forward freely.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you should form a rebound relationship - each relationship is separate from what has come before. In some instances, rebound relationships bring growth, knowledge and understanding for future relationships and in others they become fully-fledged relationships. The take home message is to focus on what’s best for you and ultimately a potential new partner. Would you do better to take a moment and concentrate on yourself or do you feel you’re in a position to move forward and give your full attention to your new partner and relationship? The answer to that question should guide your actions.