Dating On The Rebound?

Follow these 6 tips to get yourself back in the game smoothly and successfully!

By Dave Singleton

hat do basketball and dating have in common, other than smooth moves, fast plays and occasional scores?

They both rely on the rebound, in which a player
A strong player stands a better shot at success.
retrieves the ball after an unsuccessful shot.

Of course, with dating, the ball is your self-esteem. When it comes to love, all of us have lost a game or two, and it hurts. You get dumped and then you’re torn between healing and zooming down the dating court, ready to take another shot.

To help you get through this tricky time, follow these dating rebound tips:

Focus on your personal best.
A strong player stands a better shot at success, so take responsibility for your dating fitness. If you are overly needy or unhappy with yourself, the rebound probably won’t work. You need to take time and get comfortable with yourself and not feel as if you need a relationship. It takes two healthy people to make a healthy relationship. According to Dating for Dummies author Joy Browne, “People are resilient and crave intimacy and involvement, but any dating situation works best when two little saplings choose to be together rather than have to be together to survive.”

Beware charging or pushing.
The best game plan for any new relationship is to take it slow and easy. This is especially true with a rebound. There are many reasons why you might want to race toward a relationship like a player zooming across a court. “The emotional pain of my breakup made me want to rush into another relationship,” says New Yorker Keith, 32. “I learned that you can’t rush intimacy. It’s better to take your time and avoid any moves that make you feel desperate. That just ends in disaster.”

Take a timeout.
“When you date on the rebound, there is a strong risk, unless you are extremely self-aware, of hurting yourself and others,” says Lorna MacKinnon, author of Cosmic Coaching. Sometimes, you aren’t looking for love in all the wrong places as much as you’re seeking it for all the wrong reasons. “I am glad I soul-searched before I got out there again,” says Washingtonian Matt, 35. “I wanted revenge after a bad breakup.”

Some signs that you’re not ready to date yet:
  • You feel you have to date to feel sexy, worthy, or loveable. Putting all of your emotional eggs in one man’s basket, so to speak, is far too risky.
  • You’re dying to get back at your ex, the rotten bum, or get a partner before he does. In basketball terms, revenge dating is a flagrant foul.
  • You can’t stand being alone. Why would a date want to spend an evening with you if you don’t even want to spend an evening with you?
Block a bad pattern.
Before you rebound into familiar bad patterns, make sure
Whether it’s a rebound or not, live it, own it.
you take a good, long look at your dating history. “My last breakup was so bad and so like the one before it, and the one before that,” says Marylander Neal, 37. “I didn’t want to spend more time going from one chaotic situation to another.” Some bad relationships are the result of a unique circumstance. But many more show signs of progressive patterns that, left unchecked, will continue to interfere with your game.

Play on the offensive.
Rebounding by its very nature is reactive. You are reacting to a breakup rather than starting the game anew. The best approach to a new relationship is to be proactive. Focus on the game at hand. Don’t be ashamed to call it what it is, either; it’s fine to date while you are in a transitional period. Just be honest with potential partners. “I am feeling better all the time, but am I ready to get serious with someone? No,” says Ohio resident Trevor, 42. “I met Karl three months ago and told him upfront that I wanted to date, but didn’t want to mislead him. A slower, steadier pace is working.”

Get back in the game.
What if you’re readier than you thought? “You could be relieved that you’re out of a devastating situation and surprised that good people and good relationships exist,” says Jennifer Worick, coauthor of Rebound Rituals: 50 Ways to Bounce Back After Breaking Up. “Or, your new date could be the love of your life. Whatever the case, enjoy it. Life is short. Whether it’s a rebound or not, live it, own it.”

When should you start dating again? When the time feels right to you. Unlike at a basketball game, there’s no clock ticking or referee threatening to cry foul. The next move is up to you.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at
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