Rebound.

Dictionary.com defines rebound when used as a verb as:

– to bound or spring back from force of impact

and

– to recover, as from ill health or discouragement.

Yep, that pretty much sums up what happens after a divorce.

But what about the other kind of rebound after a divorce… the rebound relationship? What exactly is a rebound relationship?

The first few months, even the first year or longer, after a divorce can be extremely hard. Whether it was amicable, your decision or not, it’s hard. All the hopes and dreams you once had are gone. Your emotions can be raw. You’re starting over.

Your self-esteem can be badly bruised. It may have taken a big hit. For some, it can be devastating to the ego and can leave you emotionally vulnerable.

The key to a rebound relationship is to recognize it for what it is.

It’s typically a relationship shortly after a divorce. And it’s usually a way to ease some of the pain and loneliness, the heartbreak and the feelings of failure that we tend to experience after a divorce.

A rebound relationship can be great for your self-esteem. It can be a huge boost to your ego. Especially when you’re over 40 and wonder if anyone will ever find you attractive again or not.

I had one. Mine was with my old boyfriend from college. It served its purpose and then it was over. Sure, for a fleeting moment I thought “this was it,” that it would last forever. Fortunately I came to my senses and recognized it for what it was before I did something I would have later regretted.

I’ve also been on the other side of one. I realized what it was before I became too emotionally involved in it, and we’ve been able to to turn into a great friendship.

Most of the time a rebound relationship is like band-aid. Not a cure, just a temporary fix. It gives you hope for the future. It lets you know that maybe, just maybe, you won’t be alone the rest of your life, that you still have “it.”

One of the best benefits of a rebound relationship is that it gets your social life active again! It gives you the opportunity to brush up on your dating skills, which may be very rusty if you’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time. You have the chance to meet new people and get out of your old comfort zone a little bit.

However, problems can arise when one or both people fail to recognize the rebound relationship for what it is and attach too many hopes and expectations to it.

The person who is on the rebound may not realize that the other person is not really the best match for them, and may ignore warning signs that the relationship is not healthy for them on a long-term basis. They may stay in the rebound relationship longer than they should because it’s better than being alone.

If the person who is on the rebound does realize it’s simply a rebound relationship, they may not realize that the person they’re involved in thinks it’s more serious than it is. That can lead another whole set of problems.

The person who isn’t on the rebound may not even realize that they’re involved in a rebound relationship and may have too many expectations from the other person – for emotions and commitments the other person is unable to make at that point. They may stay in the relationship longer than they should because they don’t want to face the fact that the other person is not really emotionally available and ready for a serious relationship.

So while there are both pros and cons to rebound relationships, the fact is that they do exist. Sometimes they do last, but those are the rare exceptions.

The key to rebound relationships, as well as with any relationship, is open and honest communication about where each person is coming from and their expectations of each other and the relationship itself.

Have you ever been in a rebound relationship? If so, which side were you on? How did you realize it was a rebound relationship, and what ultimately happened?