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How To Rebound Right


Suddenly single after a serious relationship—and ready to re-enter the dating whirl? Read this post-breakup primer.

By Natalie Krinsky

have always been a little wary of relationship terms that find their origin in sports. Take “player” or “I scored” or even “third base” (the latter of which was massively unnerving circa the ninth grade). To me, those terms always wound up signaling bad news. The word “rebound” is no different. When I think of the word rebound, I imagine that lone basketball, ricocheting off the backboard and falling aimlessly in the air, while a group of hungry, muscle-bound men wait for it to tumble into their arms... not such great imagery for the situation I find myself in these days. That’s because I recently found myself on the rebound after a two-and-a-half-year relationship. This time, I vowed to rebound right.

Only how? Is it possible to come ricocheting out of a serious relationship and land on your feet back on the singles scene? It is, given you take some basic post-breakup precautions. Here’s some wisdom that’s proved invaluable to me — and will hopefully help others in the same situation:

Rebound rule #1: Don’t psych yourself up to find The One right away
It’s understandable that you’re tempted to get over the breakup heartache by jumping into a fabulous new relationship right away. But sorry, chances are it isn’t going to happen. Case in point: When my friend Lindsay ended her three-year saga with her ex, she was in
Think of your rebound like a hot bath—it feels great for awhile, but eventually you’re bound to start sweating.
bed with a new man immediately. One night, on our way to catch a movie (of course, a romantic comedy), she announced that she had “real” feelings for this guy. I was suspicious, and warned her to hold off on picking out the perfect china pattern. She told me I was cynical and informed me, “Dave is everything Anthony never could be.” Perhaps this was true, but as it turns out, Dave lacked a hell of a lot of things in his own right. Another two weeks went by and her “new boyfriend” was quickly a thing of the past. The moral of the story: Think of your rebound like a relaxing bath—it’s hot and feels great for awhile, but eventually you’re bound to start sweating and want to get out of the tub. So don’t think it’s going to last forever.

Rebound rule #2: Don’t treat your love life like an episode of Wild On
It is natural in the quest to purge your relationship palate of your ex to get a little crazy. Letting loose can even be healthy—provided you abide by a few easy guidelines. For starters, make sure that the cutie who’s going to help you get over the hump isn’t part of your immediate inner circle—as in, he or she doesn’t work with you, hang out with you on a regular basis, and isn't your bowling buddy or your canasta partner. You’re looking for someone who can stream in and out of your life with ease. My friend Kate, a 27-year-old investment banker, agrees with me there. She had barely let the tears on her cheeks dry before beginning to sleep with a friend whom she knew had always had a crush on her. “At the beginning, I felt great,” she told me, but barely two weeks passed before she began feeling guilty. “I ended up taking my feelings of disappointment and sadness out on him,” she said, “and that definitely wasn’t fair to him.”

Rebound rule #3: Come clean with new partners
Just because your feelings were shredded like a top-secret WorldCom document in your last relationship doesn’t mean you have the license to destroy other people’s egos, too. So, make sure you fully explain your situation to potential partners. Take my friend Garrett, for example. After a particularly heart-wrenching breakup, he and a friend-of-a-friend began casually hooking up on occasion. Before things got too serious sexually, Garrett carefully explained to his date that he had been hurt pretty badly and while he
Try to view your rebound for what it is: an opportunity to realize that even after a breakup, your love life does go on.
enjoyed spending time with her, he wasn’t ready for a new girlfriend. Turns out the woman he was seeing was also on the rebound, and she was fine keeping things casual. Granted, that will not always be the case, but Garrett did the right thing: He explained where he was in his life and what level of commitment he was comfortable with. By clearly outlining his parameters, he did not mislead his rebound relationship or unrealistically raise her expectations.

Rebound rule #4: Never use your new amour as your shrink
Grieve and vent all you want to your friends, family or a therapist—just make sure it’s not to the new person in your bed. It’s true that being upfront about your situation is definitely the way to go, but your new love interest does not need or want to hear about all the ways that your ex wouldn’t meet you half-way or all the different things he or she did wrong. A new relationship, no matter how serious or casual, is a way to start off fresh, and it can be one of the steps to putting your old relationship behind you. Talking about your pain is a necessary step as well, but a more neutral party is definitely the best way to go.

Rebound rule #5: Don’t compare today’s hit to yesterday’s favorite
It can be tempting, in an effort to prove how much better off you are without your ex, to consider your former love next to your rebound to see how one stacks up against the other. Not surprisingly, your rebound will come out on top—but this is hardly a fair test now, is it? Of course your new lover will seem issue-free: You barely know this person. The more time you spend together, the more flaws you’ll probably find. So, don’t kid yourself. Try to view your rebound for what it most likely is: an opportunity to realize that even after a breakup with someone you swore was The One, your love life does go on.

It may be too early for me to totally believe that yet, but I’m getting there.


Natalie Krinsky is the author of Chloe Does Yale—and is beginning to enjoy her newly single status, thank you very much.
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