I like the term rebound. It has the feel of an automatic bounce which aptly describes rebound relationships. Ricochet, recoil, return, spring back. One thesaurus defines rebound as, “The act of flying back after collision.” for our puposes, collision refers to the prior relationship as it crashed and burned.
Have you noticed that no one calls their next relationship a “rebound” until it fizzles under the weight of impossible expectations and assumptions? During the time when the new and glorious relationship is in the discovery phase, the story is something like, “I learned from my break up. I knew what I was looking for. I am not going to make the same mistake.” That’s true – it is now time for new mistakes. After the rebound stops bouncing and falls flat, the story changes, “Oh yeah, sure that was just (the word ‘just’ diminishes the importance) a rebound.”
But let’s be honest here. Rebound relationships are needed – they are healing, they fix up some of the hurts from the prior collision. They are wonderful band aids. When a relationship falls apart, it rarely falls peacefully and quietly. Break ups are marked by pain, hurt, diminished self-esteem, serious questions about yourself, your ability to be a good partner, and loud recriminations. You find yourself soul searching to figure out what went wrong. Before or after you have finished blaming your partner, you also ask, “What’s wrong with me?” You need solace and nothing, (except maybe chocolate and ice cream with raspberries) is better than reassurance in the form of another person who is different from your former love and who thinks that you are wonderful.
Generally, rebound partners, whether they are permanent or temporary, possess all the traits that you have been starving for – all the attributes that your prior love (or your prior relationship) did not have. That is a lot of the appeal. Enjoy it! Feel desirable, loveable, smart, kind, helpful, or whatever you have been missing. Don’t even label it although I just did. You will learn a lot. You will find some ways of being, feeling, and thinking that you missed so take it all in and say thank you.