Most experts agree that rebound relationships are 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. 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.
First, let’s consider the fact that divorce is painful and people usually experience a variety of emotions including confusion, anxiety, anger, regret, betrayal, and sadness. Some people would argue that a rebound relationship is a good way to get past some of these feelings and can give the newly divorced person a boost of endorphins and elevate their self-esteem.
Keep in mind that most experts believe people who are newly divorced probably aren’t ready to jump into a long-term committed 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.
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.
8 things to consider before entering into a rebound relationship:
- The timing is essential. Waiting at least one year after your marriage ends is usually a good rule of thumb. Consider this: even someone who might be a good match for you in the future probably isn’t a good bet now. One or both of you simply need more time to heal. As a result, the relationship may end abruptly – leaving damage in its wake.
- Have you healed from your divorce? Rebound relationships are typically short-term and usually don’t allow the newly divorced person time to process the end of their marriage and grieve it. Rebounds can complicate or delay this process.
- Are you capable of giving and receiving love and intimacy? Newly separated and divorced people are usually feeling pretty lonely, needy, and vulnerable so are probably not ready to engage in an intimate relationship.
- Examine your self-esteem before you proceed. It’s important to build your confidence before you enter the dating world again or you’ll probably have reduced coping skills and might be more easily hurt by rejection if you end up being left by a new partner.
- Are you comfortable being alone or on your own? Learning to deal with loneliness is part of the grieving process and essential to discovering who you are post-divorce. Regaining a sense of self can give you the confidence you need to move forward and make wise decisions in your next relationship.
- Are your children capable of handling a new adult in their lives? You might be ready to fall in love again but it’s essential that you think about whether or not your kids have healed enough to accept a relationship with your new partner who they’ll most likely see as a rival for your attention. If you believe they are ready, proceed with caution. Make sure not to have sleepovers before you’re in a committed relationship with your new partner. Be sure to give your children the clear message that you have an abundance of love for them and a significant other.
- Take it slow when entering a new committed relationship post-divorce or getting married. Consider that the divorce rate is over 65% for second marriages. One of the main reasons is that people date too soon after their breakup and end up picking a partner who has similar characteristics to their ex-spouse or is not a good match for him or her.
- Don’t rely on a new partner to fix your problems. Rebound relationships can be fun but be careful! Looking to your new love for validation or to improve your life is risky business.
While it’s normal to seek solace, companionship, and a sexual relationship after getting a divorce, it’s crucial to take it slow so that you can assess whether this relationship is casual or might be permanent, and to determine if your new love interest is a good fit for your family (especially if you have children). After all, you might have great chemistry with someone and a lot of fun, but they might not be well suited for the role of a stepparent. It takes a special person to be a great stepparent and you need time to assess whether your partner is up for the demands of this role before moving forward.
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.
On the other hand, 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 have realistic expectations 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 and you are 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.