Everyone has been there, both guys and girls: You end a relationship, are probably feeling lonely or heartbroken, then seek physical and/or emotional comfort in some short-term fling. This is commonly known as, “being on the rebound.”
Some believe rebounds helps you move on from your past beau quicker, some can (and do) find long-term happiness with their rebound, and others believe it’s unfulfilling, altogether.
Here are the varying experiences of seven women who were on the rebound, plus my own take on rebounds:
1. “I’ve been dating my rebound for seven years now.” (laughing) –Vivian, 32
2. “I rebounded from my worst ex-boyfriend by — and I’m not proud of this — hooking up with his little brother. I’ll never forget when he ran out of the house when I was picking his brother up for a date; he was so mad. ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?!’ I just smiled and said, ‘Oh I think you know what we’re doing.’
His brother turned out to be just as crazy as he was and demanded we be exclusive after I very plainly told him we could only hang out as friends with benefits. I broke up with him over AOL instant messenger. Oh, 2003.” –Michelle, 22
3. “Most of the guys I’ve dated and/or hooked up with are from the same group of mutual friends (yeah, I know -_-). Anyway, I was dating Syd first and then I dated his friend Barrett, and they were both friends with Syd’s former roommate, Monty.
Monty was sort of the annoying emo friend who was always there and always high as hell, but neither Syd nor Barrett knew that I was kind of secretly in love with Monty the whole time. So, after I broke up with Barrett, I finally gave in to the weaker side of human nature and had a brief summer fling with Monty. He was way better in bed than the other two, by the way.” –Tonya, 26
4. “After my on-and-off relationship with the person I thought was the love of my life ended, and I went through the requisite period of being unbelievably depressed and despondent. I tried to catapult myself out of my slump by rebounding. Tinder is a hell of a place.
Met a guy (who was 40, I’m 27) and we hit it off right away. Things were great, he was great, it was great, and I found myself getting all wrapped up in him, maybe too quickly. He ghosted me after about a month and I never heard from him again.
Suddenly, I was faced with the dilemma of getting over two relationships at once.
As far as I’m concerned, the moral of the story is: Don’t get involved with anyone until you are firmly and confidently done grieving and moving on from a relationship. Too often, rebounds are used as Band-Aids, and it feels great in the moment, but not so great when things end badly and you’re faced with all the same crap, twice over.” –Samantha, 27
5. “Rebounds are always tricky. I had ended an engagement, and then a month later went out on a date. It ended up being a good experience for me because after ending the engagement, one of my biggest fears was that no one would ever want to date me again, or that I wouldn’t know how to get back out in the dating world.
This guy took me on a few dates and it gave me some confidence. It also showed me I wasn’t quite ready to be in a real relationship either. The good news was, that when I was ready to date again, I felt like I already had that one date under my belt, and I had enough confidence to try dating again. I think rebounds can be a sticky place, but that was just my main experience with one!” –Lucy, 34
6. “After my breakup (which was to my ex-husband), I felt very down on myself — like all my self-esteem had gone away and I felt like nobody would ever want me anymore. I was also nervous I would never find anyone worth feeling something for again.
My rebound helped me feel so much better. When I came to the realization that I liked someone and they liked me in return, I was sitting with my parents so happy I was crying. I was just so happy I was able to feel something for someone else, that’s where most of the relief came from. I was afraid of the idea of someone wanting me but it was the perfect distraction to help me move on and help me regain my self-confidence.
I felt strongly for my rebound but it wasn’t something that was meant to last. I had met someone else during the rebound process and I fell in love with that guy. You’re never meant to last with the transition guy, they are just there to remind you that you’re worth someone’s time and you have more to offer and not to think twice about the person who didn’t want you anymore. I just know that my rebound guy helped me get my spark back and helped me feel like myself again.
My rebound felt strongly for me, too, but we both knew it wasn’t going to be anything long-term. We were just so in the moment and blinded by feeling great that one of us had to wake up and say that we were better off friends. I was that person.” –Amelia, 29
7. “I’ve been dating my rebound for two years. No regrets.” –Bridget, 25
My take: I don’t believe that a rebound has to only be a rebound, but I don’t think you should go into a rebound expecting it to be your next relationship. Moving on is difficult, and moving on after heartbreak is agonizing; but just because you go into something thinking it will be a fling, that doesn’t mean it can’t blossom into something greater, if you let it.
My one thing about rebounds — that I know makes zero sense to a lot of people — is that I think we (the rebounder) should be somewhat open and honest with the rebound. While you may be hurting and/or heartbroken, they’re probably not. They don’t know what you’re going through, and it’s not fair to string them along just to pull out because they were a pit stop in your emotional recovery process and you never bothered to tell them that.
Maybe they try to understand what you’re going through or can be whatever rebound you need them to be, physically or emotionally; or maybe they decide this is not what they want. I understand that while you’re on the rebound, you’re out for yourself, but don’t get so wrapped up in your own emotional drama that you forget to treat people — yes, even rebounds — like human beings who have feelings of their own.