Dating on the rebound has a bad rap, but if you’re nursing a broken heart, is going back to the dating game the best option for getting over an ex?
Dating a new person right after a breakup is a no-no for most people. There’s the three-month rule where you have to wait at least three months after a breakup before you date again. There’s the rule that says you have to wait as long as the previous relationship lasted before you are fully over your ex and ready to date. How I Met Your Mother also introduced a formula to know when to date again—the length of the relationship divided by two. However, not all people follow these rules.
Whether it’s three months, two years, or a week after a breakup, is dating anew really the best way to get over your ex?
The art of moving on
Moving on from a breakup can be slow and time-consuming, or it can be quick and easy. Some people take a longer time to shed all the baggage of the old relationship, while some people can bounce back easily enough, even within the space of a week.
The ease of bouncing from an old relationship depends on the reason for the breakup, the duration of the relationship, and the readiness of the person to move on and find a new love. [Read: 8 ways to stop moaning and stay busy after a breakup]
Why is it imperative to move on?
When a relationship fails, both parties may be taken by surprise, or they may have been expecting it already. For the latter, it can take a relatively shorter time to bounce back and find a new love. However, for the former, the person caught by surprise may find it harder to move on.
They may think that everything is going smoothly, only to have the floor they are standing on crumble under their feet with the knowledge that their partner has fallen out of love with them, or worse, that their partner had been cheating with another person already. [Read: How to love again after your heart gets broken]
How long does it take to move on?
When it’s bound to, relationships fail, no matter how many years it has under its belt. Being in a relationship far longer than your friends’ failed relationships is no guarantee that yours won’t fail as well. However, when a relationship has lasted longer than a few months, or even a few years, it can be far more difficult to move on, compared to relationships that lasted for only a couple of months.
Moving on from a failed relationship can be a daunting task. From spending a lot of time with a certain person, you are suddenly left to your own devices. You have all the love to give with no one to reciprocate it.
However, there are people who are more emotionally mature to deal with a breakup. They mourn quicker, shed the relationship baggage faster, and get back to the dating world even more swiftly. These people may have experienced a breakup or two before, and thus, already know what to steps to take to bounce back.
What to do to get over an ex
No matter how devastating a breakup was, it is infinitely possible to move past it. Some people spend the first few days after a breakup crying their hearts out, until they are drained of their sorrow and ready to face the world again. Some spend their time with friends or out partying. Some take on new hobbies or go on long vacations to foreign places. Then, there are those who go right back into dating to find the next person to fill the void left by the old one. This is more popularly known as the rebound. [Read: 13 rebound relationship questions to ask yourself to know you’re ready for one]
The pros and cons of dating on the rebound
Some people generally shy away from dating a few weeks or months after a relationship has ended. However, for some people, jumping right into the dating wagon speeds up the moving on cycle. As with any endeavor, dating new people after a breakup has its advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of going on the rebound
Dating right after a breakup can be exciting. It can take your mind off your cheating ex or the awful things that happened in your previous relationship. Here are some of the perks of dating anew:
#1 New people. Going out on dates allows you to meet new people and make new friends. However, you need not even go out to start meeting people. Some years back, online dating was viewed with distrust. Back then, you create a profile on a dating site, and wait till someone hits you up. These days, you only have to install a mobile app on your phone, and you’re ready to meet new people.
Meeting new people has its perks. You are exposed to different personalities. One day you may be having coffee with a lonely writer or having dinner with a Wall Street lawyer, and the next day, you’re rocking to the beat of an indie rock band with your music lover date. Meeting new people is an exciting part of dating, making it the perfect way to forget about your failed relationship. [Read: Why a rebound relationship might be good for you]
#2 New companion. When you ask people why breaking up feels so devastating, they say it’s because suddenly, you have no one to be with—no one to shop with, have dinner with, have Netflix marathons with. Suddenly, they have no one to bring to their parents’ anniversary dinner, or to their sister’s wedding, or brother’s family camping trip.
They feel the void left by a person who used to occupy the majority of their time. The beauty of dating anew right after a breakup is that you need not feel the void, as the space vacated is filled by the new person in your life. [Read: 9 signs you’re finally ready for a new relationship]
#3 New memories. When you are in a relationship, you make memories together. You make memories of your first road trip, first cross-country trip, first ski trip, or first Euro trip. You also make memories of your regular day-to-day activities together. The restaurant you frequent for brunch, the cinema you watch movies in, or the grocery store you get your beer and chips from for your regular Saturday night Netflix marathons, all contain memories of you and your partner together. When the relationship ends, all these places are painful reminders of these memories.
When you date someone new, you have the chance to make new memories. They will have other favorite restaurants to go to brunch to, or they may like watching movies on another cinema, or they may even like pizza deliveries for Game of Thrones marathons rather than beer and chips. You can even make new memories to replace the old memories. Same places, same activities, but new faces [Read: 10 signs your past relationship is holding you back from enjoying a better one]
Cons of dating on the rebound
Dating on the rebound sure has its perks, but it surely has its drawbacks, too. Here are some of the reasons NOT to date to get over an ex:
#1 Old feelings. When you date right after the end of a previous relationship, it doesn’t take a seer to know that you still have feelings for your previous partner. Barring exceptional circumstances, you still love them and care for them. And you are still hurting from the breakup. Adding another person to the mix is like using a Band-Aid to stop a gaping wound in your chest where your heart was. It won’t work.
It might be fun and happy at the moment you are laughing to a joke they just made, but that joke’s going to get stale soon. If you still have feelings for your previous partner, you might want to let a few months or weeks pass before jumping into the dating pond again.
#2 Old baggage. You can argue that you no longer have feelings for the cheat of a partner you used to have, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to date a new person right away. Old relationships tend to hang on and influence your life in the form of relationship baggage.
Relationship baggage consists of old relationship habits and old expectations. The way you make love, the way you get jealous of each other, the way you trigger each other’s ire, the way you fight, and the way you make up after a fight. These things are what you will bring over to the new relationship, unless you shed them first.
#3 Missed chances. The thing with rebound relationships is they don’t tend to last long. Because of their Band-Aid function, they seldom transcend into long-term relationships. Rebound relationships are plagued by the habits of the old relationship, and the one you’re in this relationship with is saddled with the knowledge that they are merely that, a rebound.
But what if the new person is an actual great person, and you’re hurting your chances of a real relationship with them? The right person, but sadly, at the wrong time. Wouldn’t you want to meet them at a better time instead?
Dating can be an effective way to get over an ex. You meet new people, see new places, and experience new things. However, dating right away after a failed relationship to get over an ex also has its disadvantages. You get to bring old baggage or taint the budding relationship with old feelings. Worse, you may be hurting what little chance you have with the right person by insisting on dating at the wrong time.