"I just got out of a relationship, so I'm not really looking for anything serious right now."
Does that line sound familiar? It should. We hear it, or something like it, on the big screen all the time. We've probably heard it in real life too, either because we asked someone on a date or said it ourselves when someone asked us. Why do we do this? Why are we so quick to turn down new relationship opportunities? Whatever your reasons, chances are you're also partially trying to avoid one of those "rebound" relationships that always turn out so bad–or so you've been told.
But what's the truth about rebounds? Are they really so bad? Up until now, scholarly research has paid little attention to rebounding, so our perceptions are fueled primarily by social beliefs. However, in a recent study, Claudia Brumbaugh of Queen's College in New York and Chris Fraley from the University of Illinois found some reasons to consider getting yourself back out into the dating world sooner than you'd think.
It is better to be in love than to be alone
After feeling the sting of a break-up it may be difficult to feel any desire to ever be in another relationship. Why should we get into another situation of blissful happiness if it will just end in painful shatters again, right? But the truth is, finding a new relationship is one of the best ways to get over a past relationship.
1. When we find someone new to be in a relationship with, we tend to
feel more desirable
as romantic partners. We are more focused on the good things our new partner sees in us rather than the faultsour previous partner saw. We may also feel that our relationship skills are better if we can see our efforts pay off in a working relationship rather than wondering what we did wrong in a broken relationship.
2. Once we enter a new relationship, we will be
less tempted to maintain contact with our ex
-partner or think about reestablishing a relationship. We will care less about what our ex thinks about us, instead, focusing on maintaining good relations with our new partner. When we can break off contact with an ex-partner, it becomes easier to move on from the previous relationship.
So being in a relationship is good, but how do you know when the timing is right? If you go too fast, how can you really be sure you are in the new relationship for the right reasons? The answer is that our motives for forming a new attachment are more important than how long it has been since the last relationship. Consider the following questions to assess your motives:
1. Are you trying to find someone to replace your partner?
When we move quickly, we may be more likely to try to find someone comparable to our previous partner. But if a relationship didn't work out then, why would it work with someone who is too similar? Take the time to figure out why you were incompatible with your previous partner first so you can find someone who doesn't have those same traits. Only you can really know how much time you need to do that.
2. Are you still in contact with your previous partner?
If we've not given ourselves sufficient time to break off contact with our previous partner, it could create problems in the new relationship. Maintaining contact with our previous partner could become a source of jealousy, doubt, or tension in the new relationship. If we still see our previous partner frequently, we may also find it too easy to form a new relationship as a way to seek revenge on our previous partner.
So what's the truth about rebounds? If you're still trying to hold on to the past, any attempts at love are more likely to fail again. But if you are ready to move on, then new love can help you get there.
This article was originally published on Relate Institute. It has been republished here with permission.
The Relate Institute is a not-for-profit organization that revolves around the aim of distributing the Relate Assessment - the most comprehensive premarital/marital assessment available - to as many couples and individuals as we can reach. We believe that all may benefit from assessing personal strengths and weaknesses as relationship partners, and work to help make relationship success a reality.