Most experts believe people who are newly divorced probably aren't ready to jump headlong into a romantic relationship. The chance of a rebound relationship having long-term potential is slim. Truth be told, there are many reasons why it rarely ends well.
However, there are certain situations when entering into a rebound relationship after divorce can work out. Shortly after my divorce, I was involved in a rebound relationship that helped me get over my anger at my ex and move on with my life.
As a newly divorced woman with two school age children, I dove into a rebound relationship with someone who provided solace, companionship, intimacy and social stimulation. Since neither one of us had healed sufficiently from our recent divorces, the relationship ended after six months. While we weren't ready for a commitment, we enjoyed the passion and fun of dating. It was a good opportunity for me to test out dating someone very different from my ex-spouse.
In my case, this relationship was a reminder that I was desirable and capable of having passionate feelings that had been dormant for many years. What I learned was that it was okay to let go of my past; and give myself the pleasure and joy of new love.
On the down side, while most rebound relationships don't do any permanent harm, they can postpone the recovery process and don't allow a person time to consider their contribution to their divorce. In fact, it can be an easy way out of dealing with emotional pain - an essential part of healing. Escaping by means of a rebound relationship can prevent you from gaining self-awareness about the reasons your marriage ended and the lessons you need to learn from it.
Consequently, getting involved in a rebound relationship is a risky proposition. If you're feeling lonely after divorce, it's easy to fall for someone before you're truly ready to begin dating again. So it makes sense to explore the reasons why rebound relationships should be avoided. However, rebound relationships can serve a purpose and be healthy if both parties go into the partnership with clear boundaries and they're on the same page.
Some people would argue that a rebound relationship is a good way to give the newly divorced person a boost of endorphins (to elevate their mood) and to increase their self-esteem. Further, a new relationship can help someone cope with a variety of emotions including confusion, anxiety, anger, regret, betrayal, and sadness.
6 reasons why a rebound relationship may be right for you:
1. It can help you ease the transition from married to single life. But it's only true if both parties go into the relationship with realistic expectations -- knowing the boundaries and the other person's intention.
2. It can give you the opportunity to figure out what type of partner compliments you. It's impossible to do this when you are flying solo. Most people learn from experience rather than just reading about relationship dynamics. You can also figure out what you don't want.
3. It can provide companionship. Newly separated and divorced people are usually feeling pretty lonely so you're probably not ready to engage in a long-term relationship -- a fling may be just what you need to help you recover.
4. If you're eager to remarry, consider testing out a new relationship to see if you're ready. Many people end up picking a partner who has similar characteristics to their ex. Consequently, you may need to date several people before you find someone who is a good match for you.
5. It can give you a confidence boost and help you recover because you'll feel more desirable. A breakup can temporarily damage your self-esteem and it's important to build your confidence before you enter a committed relationship again.
6. Sometimes a rebound relationship works out! In certain cases, especially if you are over 30 and know what you want, a rebound relationship may be fertile ground for a successful long-term relationship.
Overall, most experts advise against rebound relationships because newly divorced people need time to recover from their divorce and any "ghosts of the relationship" that need to be dealt with. Put simply, we need to put these ghosts and past memories in their proper place so that we can be fully available for a new relationship. However, in certain cases when people go into them with realistic expectations, they can help facilitate healing and boost a person's self-confidence.
Dating several different people casually can give you the opportunity to figure out what type of partner you need to thrive. Trying out new relationships can be less risky if both partners are honest with each other about their goals; and don't see the partnership as long-term. If you go into a rebound relationship with your eyes wide open, you stand a better chance of recovering more quickly if it ends badly. You're also less likely to repeat any dating disasters. Being cautious as you proceed into the dating world post-divorce will serve you well in the long-run!
This blog post originally appeared on DivorcedMoms.com