Thoughts on rebound relationships
Are rebound relationships a good thing or a bad thing? Can they work? Rational thinking would dictate that it is probably best to leave some space between the end of one relationship and the beginning of a new relationship. My thoughts on rebound relationships are that they can work under some circumstances but there is a higher majority of rebound relationships that don’t work out.
The reason for rebound relationships not working out are varied but the main reason is that the relationship starts in a dysfunctional place. Emotions aren’t neutral and one partner (or both) will be looking to fill a void. In essence they choose someone out of need rather than because they really want the relationship for the right reasons. A sense of urgency develops and needs can be compromised, standards lowered in order to meet urgent emotional voids left by the previous relationship.
When we act on emotional urges we tend to use different parts of our brain (the emotional part – amygdala and hippocampus) and we rationalise in a different way. What may seem a good idea to the emotional brain may not be such a good idea to the rational, healthy mind a few month’s down the line.
Of course, rebound relationships can take away some of the pain of a previous relationship breakup and focus our attention somewhere else. As a counsellor, I have seen people do this, only to end up back in therapy because they haven’t dealt with their underlying issues – looking for another person to fix them rather than them taking the time out to fix themselves and get into a better place emotionally.
It is always a good idea to ‘reset’ your emotional and healthy reasoning mind back to zero, so to speak. With a rebound relationship, nothing is reset and it can be likened to a train starting off from the station without being on the rails properly. A rebound relationship can be a plaster for unresolved trauma and pain.
I know someone who lost his wife eighteen months ago. He hadn’t fully grieved her loss but was emotionally needy and sought out relationships very quickly. He inadvertently wanted his new partners to be similar to his wife and was unable to tolerate differences between their behaviour and his ex-wife’s behaviour. A clear sign that he was not fully over the loss. No one can take the place of another and only by resetting our emotional state (by self exploration and some time out) can we be ready to accept a new person – good and bad.
Rebound relationships can however help someone to move on quicker, perhaps not necessarily in the healthiest way but it can speed up the length of time that one feels heartache. There will always be a danger though that the emotional connection in the rebound realtionship is damaged due to all the emotional baggage that has come into the relationship. Emotional detachment may exist. Comparisons tend to be stronger between the current partner and ex partner in rebound relationships and thinking and emotions may be distorted.
Where possible, get the train ‘back on the tracks’ in the station before leaving again for a new destination. Some people can do this fairly quickly and enter into a new relationship with robust stability. Each situation is different but the most important aspect is to work at feeling stable emotionally before starting something new.