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Rebound Relationships:
What's The Big Deal?



hen you hear someone mention rebound relationships, the chances are excellent that the person doing the talking is female. Male minds don't normally think that way, after all.

But what are rebound relationships? The abridged definition is that they're the next relationship you enter after leaving a long-term relationship (if that next relationship starts "too soon").

Too soon? The logic is that after a long relationship comes apart, the participants need a lot of time to "heal". They need time for "soul searching". They need time to "find themselves" again. Just as after a really bad car crash, the injured parties need time to "let the wounds heal".

But is it a good idea to be alone for an extended period after a broken relationship? Does it make sense to go over and over in your mind what happened and why the other person treated you shabbily?

Many women seem to think so, but only when they're looking at the issue of rebound relationships as being them hooking up with a new guy who's on the rebound, and not usually the other way around.

Why would women worry about
hooking up with a new guy
who's on the rebound?

Their fear is that the new guy might still have feelings for his ex and therefore might go back to her. In other words, they fear that the relationship might not work out, which may be painful to her if she'd already started to develop feelings for him.

It's a protective strategy. By avoiding rebound relationships, women hope to avoid the risk of ending up with a guy who later dumps them to go back to his ex.

But there are always trade-offs in life, one being between risk and reward. And by reducing their risk (by avoiding rebound relationships), women also reduce their opportunities:

  • If 15% of rebound relationships end up with the guy returning to his ex, then trying to avoid that 15% will also mean missing out on the other 85% that would have turned out quite well, and
  • If they do wait several months for him to "heal", the chances are extraordinarily high (if he's even a halfway decent catch) that another woman will have already taken him off the market by then.

“… women gravitate to men who are confident, know where they're going and understand what they want …”

So reducing the risk of a bad decision by waiting for "healing" will ultimately leave women with only the least desirable men to pick from. And we'd question whether that's a wise strategy for them to adopt.

Or for men, either. That's because when picking partners, women gravitate to men who are confident, know where they're going and understand what they want. And undergoing an extended grieving process is unlikely to make most men more confident or clearer on their goals and direction.

Rather, it gets them used to being alone. It takes them out of circulation. And it can also engender counter-productive habits (such as spending several hours a day surfing through internet porn).

In life, we're more likely to get what we focus on, so why obsess about how the woman you trusted betrayed that trust and treated you like dirt? Much better advice for most men would be the same advice your high school football coach gave you after you took an unusually hard hit on a play:

"Suck it up and get back out there!"

there are parallels between lost jobs and rebound relationships
There are parallels between lost
jobs and rebound relationships

However, that sort of advice isn't politically correct these days, so we'll make the same point with another analogy which most men (and women) can relate to: losing your job ...

  • You worked your tail off for your employer.
  • You stayed for extra hours in the evening and on weekends for no extra pay.
  • You came back early from a vacation when summoned for an office "emergency".
  • You referred several new clients to your employer.
  • Your annual job evaluations were all stellar.
  • And then the day after the CEO gave a speech proclaiming that "Our people are our most important assets", you (and 15% of the firm's other "most important assets") got laid off.

Would you feel devastated?

Of course, anybody in that situation would.

But given the reality that you're now out of a job (and still need to earn money to live on), what would be your optimal strategy?

  • Avoid getting a "rebound job" for several months or years so you can fully analyze how your employer did you wrong, focus on how you didn't deserve to be treated so shabbily, convince yourself that it wasn't your fault, and so on?
  • Or immediately start dusting off your résumé and checking the help wanted ads?

“… those who "got back on the horse" usually enjoyed far better long-term outcomes …”

Any employer will tell you that the second alternative is by far the better strategy. But in matters of the heart, logic often takes a back seat.

Our view on rebound relationships is that it's not a useful concept for women or for men. If you get into a new relationship the next day, more power to you. Of all the rebound relationships we've seen, those who "got back on the horse" usually enjoyed far better long-term outcomes than those we've seen who instead wallowed in their misfortune.

If you're interested in learning more about rebound relationships or other aspects of relationships, please continue to our main Relationship Advice For Men