Break-ups are very painful, no way around it. The grieving process takes time, and in the meantime it’s hard not to seek consolation in the arms of someone new. After all, it’s the feelings of intimacy and the validation from someone else that we most value from our relationships. So why not find someone to help the healing?
Conventional wisdom, often spoken by therapists and relationship coaches like myself–warns of rebounding into something new when you have not gotten over your ex. Indeed, if you do get into a rebound relationship and find yourself just looking for revenge, making endless comparisons and/ or reacting to the new person as though they are the one who let you go–your rebound fling will fizzle quickly or you may find yourself repeating the same dysfunctional dynamics you had with your ex.
But is a rebound relationship ever useful or helpful, and is there a chance it could work? Yes and yes.
Research conducted over the past few years has concluded that people who rebound quickly after break-ups build their confidence back more quickly and get a boost to their self-esteem. If someone has extreme difficulty following a break-up due to issues with a need for attachment, being with someone new can help them truly say good bye to their ex. Of course, this could just mean they are displacing their need to be attached on to someone new, but if that relationship is better suited to them, it could work.
It also seems to matter how strong a person’s self-esteem was to begin with. If you start out with a healthy self-esteem, your rebound relationship is likely to be healthier and happier. This makes a lot of sense, which is why it Is important to do an honest self-assessment and decide if you have issues you need to deal with before dragging another person along for a dysfunctional ride.
One last interesting fact is that studies have found that marriages that occurred soon after the end of a previous relationship (separation/divorce), were just as successful as marriages that did not happen after a rebound. No significant difference in health or longevity was found. So if you are recently in splitsville and everyone is telling you that you need to take it slow, be alone, and not rush into a new relationship–let them know that the facts say otherwise, especially if you are someone with a healthy sense of self and who knows what you want and need in a relationship.