I remember in college someone telling me that the quickest way to get over someone was to get under someone else. Hmm? True or False? From a counselor’s point of view I’m going to say false, but I’m sure many people out there would disagree with me. Lets face it. Breaking up is hard to do. Most humans don’t like change. If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time it is hard to go back to single status. A lot of students state that they need a distraction from the pain of their break-up. It is almost like they send a vibe out to the world that says, I’m vulnerable and need some attention. Guess what? There are plenty of people who will step up and provide that distraction for you. Unfortunately, it isn’t the best way to get over your ex.
First, let me point out the obvious…you’re VULNERABLE after a break-up. Your emotions are all over the place and your self-esteem has taken a big hit. Like I said above, there are many people out there looking for the vulnerable type to take advantage of. On a normal day, you might be anything but vulnerable. You may consider yourself smart, fun, independent, and a good judge of character. However, right after a break-up, your loser radar is a little off the mark. Again, some people say one night stands and casual hook-ups are a way to soothe yourself after a break-up. However, when your emotions are a mess, some people can sweet talk their way into your life. A casual hook up can turn into a very messy relationship if someone is out to take advantage of your vulnerability. I can assure you that is what I hear from students in my office. Most of the time students often wonder what they were thinking, and I often hear about their regrets. The thing is after a break-up, you aren’t thinking. You are feeling. That is the sucky part. You are a ball of emotions. Emotions are not the most reliable guides in the world. They often persuade people to make decisions they wouldn’t usually make. Unfortunately, a lot of losers out there know this and use it to their advantage.
Second, there is a chance you could meet a great person right after a break-up…but the timing couldn’t be worse. Trust me, I know some great relationships that started just as one person was going through a break-up. It can happen that a rebound relationship turns into a new relationship that lasts. Just a few tips I want to throw out there though. If you find someone new right away, try to go slow. Evaluate your last relationship. Some people go through drawn out break-ups. They have grieved the loss of the relationship before the actual break took place. In this case, a person may be able to move on faster. People also may be able to move on faster if they didn’t really love their ex even if they dated for a long time. Most of the time though, there is some grieving to be done after the actual break-up happens. You may need time to readjust and acknowledge the loss.
A new relationship takes up a lot of energy. It is also very easy to get caught up in the emotions of a new relationship. Who wouldn’t rather feel excited and happy rather than angry and sad?? This is why it is hard to tell if it is a rebound relationship or the real thing. I suggest going slow if you do happen to meet someone great. Let them know you just got out of relationship and may need some time. They will be more likely to deal with your sadness now rather than in six months when you really should be moving on. Trust me, after all the newness of the relationship wears off, the ability to distract yourself weakens. This is when all those painful emotions you were trying to cover up tend to come out. This can damage your new relationship because no one likes to have their boyfriend or girlfriend thinking about or being sad over their ex months after they’ve broken up. However, there is a reason these negative emotions exist. Crap happens and we need to be able to cope with it when it does. It doesn’t just disappear just because some time has passed. If we never allow ourselves to feel sad, over time we will need a lot of stimulation and distraction to keep going. This is why some people constantly chase that new relationship high, drink or do drugs. It is the only way to escape pain. Guess what? Life is painful!! There are times when we must accept pain and learn how to deal with it. I agree that a little distraction is good. It is healthy to go out with your friends and pretend your fine for a few hours. You need a break from the depressing sadness of a break-up, but remember that too much distraction is not good.
It is better to just get through the crap and then move on. Rebound relationships have a track record of not working out long term. They can be a temporary distraction. If both you and your partner acknowledge it and keep it casual, then more power to you. I think it is great to be open and honest. That way, both people are on the same page. However, most people aren’t honest. They pretend they are over their ex. They are in denial about their pain until it comes back later to haunt them. It really isn’t fair to the person you get involved with if they think you are happy, healthy and over your ex. Also, be aware of the con-artists out there who prey on vulnerable people just getting out of relationships. They could use you while you are down and out and then dump you when you least expect it. Then you’ll be feeling even more like a failure with extra baggage to deal with. Life isn’t exactly black and white or linear. People make choices and they aren’t always great. Hind sight is always 20/20. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have fallen for the rebound relationship. It happens to the best of us. Just try to be more aware in the future so it won’t happen again. I’d like to say that this new person will make all your dreams come true, but most of us just aren’t that lucky. Take your time and get over your ex in the right way by just taking a few weeks (sometimes even months) to cry it out.