cognitive behavioural therapy; psychology; relationship counselling

Are rebound relationships good for you?

Are rebound relationships good for you?

Contrary to popular belief, rebound relationships can be good for you. They can provide a useful distraction from your heartbreak. They have to be appraoched carefully though and not all experts agree on whether a rebound relationship is good for you.

This is where science comes in. A journal article, “Too fast, too soon?” gathered evidence on rebound relationships. This article was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2015.

Rebound relationships start before feelings for your ex have disappeared. Research indicates that those who entered into rebound relationships enjoyed better mental health. The exception to this is if your rebound partner is inferior to your ex. This will lead to unfavourable comparison and lead you to miss your ex even more. The rebound relationship has to offer something (physically or emotionally) that is better than your ex could offer. Are they better looking than your ex? Are they more caring and loving than your ex? If this is the case, you are more likely to reap positive rewards from a rebound relationship.

It’s important though to deal with the fallout of your previous relationship. Ask yourself what went wrong and use that to learn and move forward. If you constantly distract yourself and don’t ‘sit’ with the emotions for a bit, you may end up in a never-ending cycle where you repeat the same patterns. It’s important to unpack the dynamics of the relationship so that you can do your best to avoid making the same mistake again in the future.

Often we choose partners that are similar to the relationship we had with our parents. For example, if your father was a narcissist (all about him, selfish and his needs always come first) you may inadvertently seek these same characteristics and behaviours in a partner. There are many theories that have tried to explain this. One theory, known as Imago theory explains that we attempt to complete the cycle as adults. When we are left feeling unfulfilled and unloved or not good enough by our parents, we try to recreate that situation as an adult. Unfortunately, we are often operating from a child’s perspective when we do this. We revert back to those emotions as a child when we yearned for things that our parents couldn’t give us.

We have the reasoning of an adult but the emotions of a child. That is why we often do things even though we know they aren’t good for us. This inner conflict should be a sign to you that something is awry.

The best way to overcome this is to be insightful regarding your own behaviour. Know your triggers (whatever it is that sets off unhealthy behaviour) and make an effort to do it differently the next time around. Easier said than done!

Despite being a counsellor with more than a decade of experience, I have been in unhealthy relationships. The emotions are so strong and prevent healthy behaviour from coming to the fore. This is where a competent counsellor comes in. We can all reason with ourselves but it can be hard to break those unhelpful childhood patterns.

Recognising the association is the first step to understanding why we behave the way we do. If you repeat the same patterns in relationships, talk it through with someone objective. We can all get lost when trying to navigate our intense emotions without external neutral help.

So, if you understand what you are doing that leads to failed relationship but need a distraction to help you heal faster from a broken heart, a rebound relationship may be a good thing.

Mandy X