A rebound relationship is one that occurs shortly after the divorce. If you move quickly from a long lasting relationship into another relationship then you are probably in a "rebound relationship."
A rebound relationship is a distraction. It's a connection to another person that keeps us from having to experience the full extent of the emotional pain of our recent divorce or breakup. It's a misguided attempt to move on with our lives.
Many people will jump back into the dating scene because they fear being alone. It's a quick fix, one in which we can drown our pain by reveling in the emotional intensity and passion of a new-found love. It can be more fun than dealing with the misery of a recently broken heart. Not more productive, but a hell of a lot more fun.
Don't go into a rebound relationship expecting your new partner to make up for the shortcomings and mistakes of the old partner. I like to call this the "knight in shining armor syndrome." You may have just come out of a marriage that involved infidelity or abuse so, you turn around and expect your new partner to be able to make up for the pain you experienced in the old relationship. More than likely, all you will do is exchange one set of problems for another.
If you have spent years in a bad marriage you may be itching to make up for lost time. It's human nature to want a committed, fulfilling relationship and that desire can cause us to leap into a new relationship quickly. We may have a sense of urgency and a desire to make sure we get it right the next time around. Those are great motivators but make sure that sense of urgency isn't causing you to rush in the wrong direction.
If you aren't cautious someone will end up being used and hurt as a result. If you're in a relationship to distract yourself from the pain of a broken heart, then you're using another person. More than likely when that person has served their purpose you will move on, leaving them to pick up the pieces. Be honest with your new partner about your intentions. Distraction is great, but not at the expense of another person's emotions.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who has recently divorced, be cautious. Don't allow your new relationship partner to set the pace. If you do, you will find yourself in the middle of a whirlwind. You don't want to be left in the dust once he decides to move on.
If you're single, out there looking for love and longing for a committed relationship, you probably won't find what you desire from someone on the rebound. If you do become involved with such a person, be sure to let the relationship develop slowly and to take care of yourself emotionally.
Experiencing and healing the pain of a broken relationship helps us become people who are more compassionate to other people's pain. Emotional pain won't kill you; it's what you do to avoid that pain that might kill you. Or, at least make you wish you hadn't moved so swiftly into a new relationship. So, do yourself and any potential new relationship partners a favor and deal with the pain of your divorce before moving into a new relationship. Get out, enjoy your new-found freedom but take your time and protect your heart.
Cathy Meyer is the head of About.com's Divorce Support channel.
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