One of the hardest things to get used to after a break-up is the loneliness. Even if you know your relationship ended for a good reason, getting used to being alone again can be a very difficult process. The feelings of loss and emptiness can be overwhelming, and wanting to fill that void can become the most important focus in your life. This is where the rebound relationship comes in, and oftentimes we aren't even aware it's happening.
What is a rebound relationship?
The rebound relationship begins shortly after the end of an important romantic partnership. After a break-up, it's very common to have strong emotions like anger, sadness, hurt and depression. It's also common to feel like you've wasted a lot of time on the relationship for no good reason; you want to move on with your life as soon as possible, and instead of taking the time to heal and grow from this painful experience, you get involved in a substitute relationship to distract yourself from the pain of loneliness and our feelings of failure.
At first this new relationship and partner seem like a saving grace. Your damaged self-esteem gets a much-needed boost, and you're getting the attention and physical affection you missed so much from your ex. The person you're rebounding with feels like they're helping you turn your life around, and filling your life with joy which makes them feel happy and needed.
Where does it go wrong?
Because you are not in a healthy emotional state when rebounding, your judgement can be cloudy. We often don't choose the right partner, because our main goal is just to hide from the pain of the previous relationship. We often pick partners who meet our immediate needs, but not someone who is right for us in the long-run. We find ourselves making compromises in the relationship and settling for things we normally never would. We also project our past issues onto the new person, not realizing that our emotions have very little to do with the person in front of us, and everything to do with the ex and most importantly, ourselves.
As you start to heal with time and move towards a healthier emotional state, you (hopefully) reconsider this relationship and start to see it for what it really is. This is why rebound relationships often don't last - their foundation was not in reality. Unfortunately, you usually end up hurting your rebound partner and having to learn the lessons you were running away from in the first place when you should have been dealing with only yourself.
Tips for Avoiding A Rebound Relationship
1. Implement a waiting period between relationships, and don't give into the initial feelings of loneliness. It's not fair to yourself or a potential partner to start a relationship with emotional baggage attached. Ask your friends to help keep you in check.
2. Don't get involved with someone on the rebound - if they're worth dating, they're worth waiting for. Take note if this is a common pattern for you - you probably have issues of your own to deal with if you are constantly attracted to those in a weakened emotional state.
3. Always maintain your own identity in a relationship so that you're not left feeling like you have nothing if it ends.