What is the definition of a "rebound relationship"? Is it true they can be unhealthy?
by Nina Atwood (About the Author: Copyright 1997 Nina Atwood, All Rights Reserved Nina Atwood is a published author, therapist, and the Internet's SinglesCoach. You may find out more about her by visiting her site at: http://www.singlescoach.com/)
Rebound relationships occur very shortly after the end of a significant love, and sometimes begin before the end. The problem with a rebound is that it doesn't allow time for the grieving and healing processes to be complete.
When this happens, there is emotional confusion. Sometimes, the feelings for the old partner simply transfer to the new one, and there is the illusion that you've found someone totally "different," when, in fact, you've found someone very much like your old love. Often the issues which drove you away from your previous partner are the very ones with which you eventually find yourself grappling in the new relationship.
Rebound relationships serve a purpose: To protect the heart from the devastation of losing someone very important. Like a very big cushion, they protect us from the trauma of the fall which is experienced when a deep connection is abruptly severed.
These relationships can be healthy, as long as you remain aware of their purpose and take your time with your new partner.
If you're not paying attention, however, a rebound relationship can be unhealthy. Potential problems include:
Expecting your new partner to make up for the shortcomings of the old. "Since my last girlfriend cheated on me, I expect you to give me 100% reassurance of your loyalty 24 hours a day."
Commitment hunger. "My last boyfriend dated me for three years without making a commitment, so I'm expecting an engagement ring within six months or I'm out of here."
Fear and anxiety that are problematic. "After what my ex did to me, I have to constantly check to see that you're really there for me, even if that drives you crazy."
Skyrocket relationship. Rebound relationships are often too fast-paced, in an effort to "make sure" that this one sticks.
The biggest risk of a rebound is that it serves its purpose and then the rebounder moves on, leaving someone else devastated. If you're dating someone who's just left another relationship, know that you may have a Westbound Train. Don't allow the rebounding person to set the pace, as it will be too fast and may leave you in the dust. Take your time, allow the relationship to develop slowly, and take good care of yourself emotionally (i.e., have a good support system).
A rebound relationship can work out, as long as you and your partner are able to develop a genuinely loving and trusting bond, and that you maintain good communication each step of the way.
Advice on Breakups
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