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How To Speed Up Your Rebound


One man shares his foolproof advice for bouncing back from a break-up ASAP.

By Bob Strauss

here’s a classic episode of The Simpsons in which family patriarch Homer — thinking he’s just been poisoned by a piece of sushi — rushes through the five stages of impending death in twenty seconds flat (acceptance: “Well, we’ve all got to go sometime!”). While I normally wouldn’t propose Homer Simpson as a healthy role model, his get-it-over-with-quick attitude can come in handy for another type of near-death experience: the sudden (or lingering) end of a relationship. Here’s how to bounce back so quickly from your failed romance that your friends will think you’re made of Flubber:

Spend a few days wallowing. Rather than let random photographs, top 40 radio, or
Go ahead—spend a few days wallowing.
knock-knock jokes tip you into suicidal depressions for years to come, set aside a long weekend to get all that sentimental excess out of the way. After you’ve listened to “Gold Digger” for 48 hours straight, memories of your ex will be the least of your problems.

Get rid of the evidence. Up until a dozen or so years ago, de-exing your place was a simple matter of ripping pictures out of their frames (or, if you were feeling especially vindictive, excising your ex’s face with a pair of scissors). But today’s technology demands that you expunge her digital visage from your laptop, re-record her voice greeting on your answering machine, and eliminate her favorite MP3’s from your iPod. Remember: The sooner you forget what she looks and sounds like, the sooner you’ll be ready to return to the dating scene.

Adopt a dog. As a lifelong cat owner, I’m not one of those people who believe that walking a Labradoodle is a surefire shortcut to meeting the love of your life. No, the reason I recommend a canine companion is that, unlike your average standoffish Persian, a sad-eyed beagle is a bottomless well of dependency that will eagerly soak up all the affection you’d normally lavish on you-know-who. And once all your excess emotion is wrung out, you can keep the dog and get a new, better love interest, too.

You should have been doing this during your relationship, too.
Take up a hobby. If you’ve always wanted to cultivate bonsai trees or stage your own Renaissance fair, now’s the time to follow your dream (technically, you should have been doing this during your relationship, too, but that’s a subject for another article). As with the dog option, above, the point is to focus your surplus energy on an activity that rewards, rather than discourages, a manic attention to detail. And if it’s a hobby that gets you out there and mingling with new people, so much the better: You can distract yourself from your psychic pain and make new contacts all at once.

Network. No, you don’t want to go out on a date too soon, but knowing there are available singles somewhere out there (after all, your Aunt Sylvia has been waiting to set you up for the last 10 years) will put you into a “getting on with your life” frame of mind. At least write down the phone numbers, even if you don’t plan to call for a while.

Go into therapy. Seriously. Many people have a misconception of therapy as a protracted, years-long process that spins the slightest threads of feeling into whole emotional sweaters. However, financial pressure on the part of health insurance companies has resulted in a trend toward “quick-fix” shrink-age, whereby patients are taught behavioral techniques for coping with their problems in a mere handful of sessions. If your breakup has thrown you into a genuine, debilitating funk, you should consider this as a serious option.


Bob Strauss is a freelance writer and children’s book author who lives in New York City. He’s also written the Dinosaur guide on About.com, the online information network owned by the New York Times.
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