In Defence Of Being The Rebound Girlfriend
The Debrief: What’s actually wrong with being the first girl a boy dates following a break up?
Picture the scene. You’re sitting enjoying a few vodkas with your mates and the topic of dating comes up. Instead of regaling them with tales of traumatic Tinder dates, you reveal to the group that you’ve actually met someone. The only thing is that he’s only recently broken up with an ex girlfriend. He is, to all intents and purposes, TECHNICALLY on the ‘rebound’.
‘Dump him,’ they might cry. ‘You don’t want to be the rebound, do you?’
But what’s actually wrong with being the first girl a boy dates following a break up?
Of course, it all depends on the circumstances and at what stage he’s at in the ‘break-up process’. Does he still cry whenever he brings up her name? Is he getting relentless calls from her? Are YOU getting relentless calls from her? Are there kids involved?
If any of the above scenarios occur, it may be smart to step aside and let him sort out his shit.
But if he’s genuinely moving on, then why not explore a connection? Anyone who’s been through a break up knows that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and life goes on. Why can’t it be with you?
This can work…
Being the rebound girlfriend often means there’s ultimately an expiry date. Whether it’s a brief flirtation with the idea that he can move on swiftly into another relationship or if it’s a ‘palette cleansing’ situation, it means that you’re off the hook when it comes to a long-term relationship.
For twentysomethings who just want to have fun without opting for serial one night stands, this might just be the perfect solution. In my experience, newly single men are also potentially more open-minded in the bedroom, eager to polish off their act after being off the dating scene for so long.
I’ve covered a broad spectrum when it comes to rebound territory. I’ve dated a bloke fresh from a divorce, boys who have split up from first loves and lads who have been put back on the shelf after mutually and relatively pain-free separations. I don’t seek them out (NEVER SEEK THEM OUT), it just happens. I stumble upon their heartbreak through casual conversation or, as in one instance, asking about something as simple as a tattoo.
The potential to being a rebound girlfriend is that you might end up finding yourself in an amazing fulfilling relationship. Accepting each other’s pasts holds you in good stead for open communication and you both know exactly where each other stands. There’s no secrets and you have a deeper understanding of each other.
…But there are caveats
Before you explore the option of being a rebound girlfriend there are some details you have to be aware of. He will probably speak about his ex A LOT, and not always in the nicest way. Put yourself in his shoes, do you speak fondly of your exes? Probably not.
The best thing is not to agree or disagree with his below-the-belt comments. Simply nod and say you understand where he’s coming from. If his comments are particularly cut-throat then it might be an indicator of his true character. There’s a difference between being hurt and just acting like an asshole.
Another thing to remember is that it’s NOT recommended you make friends with the ex girlfriend. You may consider yourself as super-mature by enjoying a casual fling and feeling slightly smug by being so in control, but chances are your boy’s ex is also trying to move on with her life.
The last thing she wants to see is you strolling up to her in a club, cocktail in hand and whispering in her ear ‘I’m fucking your ex’. Not cool. The ex girlfriend is an invisible presence, but if she does manifest herself physically, simply pretend that she’s a ghost.
I chose not to beat myself up about being the rebound girl. The men we date come with their history, but each relationship is completely unique. Be wary and don’t ignore any alarming warning signs, but always give people the benefit of the doubt. You’d want to be considered in the same fashion, right?
My advice is don’t write off the ‘rebounding guy’ right away. You never know, they may end up being the love of your life. Failing that, a dating experience that you won’t (and shouldn’t) regret.
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Picture: Eugenia Loli
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