So I have a confession, of sorts, well… not really, because I already wrote about this over the years. But let me make it more pointed today. In the past I made it a habit of quickly rebounding from one old relationship into a new one. I convinced myself that the old guy was no longer relevant and it was time to move on.
The reality was and is, I didn’t want to face and deal with the pain of the loss. The rebound was a bandaid, a quick fix, to convince myself and others that I was good, and “I’m over that dude!”.
Those were all lies—in reference to several of the men I had relationships with over the past 25+ years. I don’t count the guys I went on a few dates with or we didn’t last past three months. I truly was over those dudes. But for the real ones, the ones that touched my heart and I cried when we broke up, it’s different but I lied and said it wasn’t. I didn’t want to keep dealing with the pain and shame.
How can I honestly say I’m over a person weeks or months after breaking up, when we were together for months and years longer than the period of time from break-up to rebound? Listening to your friends try to convince you to come party with them, or meet some new man/woman they think you will like, is not what you need fresh out of a relationship. That mindset of “get a new one to get over the old one” is a setup, a trick.
You have to untangle that web. Things have to be realigned and rewired in your mind and heart before you decide to let a new person come take a tour. They have no clue it’s a house of horrors up in there.
I’m sharing this today because I keep seeing folks rebounding left and right, but never healing. It bothers me to see it. It hits close to home because I know how they feel. It’s easy to rebound. Doesn’t take practice or skill. Just leap.
I started rebounding in high school. It never dawned on me that I shouldn’t have hopscotched into a new relationship weeks or months after breaking up with one of my high school loves. It was so casual for me because I wasn’t having sex so I didn’t see it as a big deal. Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t mean you still aren’t intimately intertwined.
A rebound is a rebound.
That rebound playbook is filled with disaster after disaster. No championships there. Just a trail of broken hearts or a bunch of bruises on yours. And it’s double the pain when you were both rebounding from previous relationships. Two damaged people can’t heal each other. You’re both taking turns putting bandaids on each other to cover the gaping wounds.
Let’s not even go there with the flow-over of one or both of you cheating on your partners and then you end up together. Your relationship is built on lies. Let me stop. That’s for another post.
Here’s a test to see if you’re truly over someone:
- Do you find yourself mentioning them frequently in conversation with others? Or asking about them to certain people who still associate with your ex?
- Do other people tell you that you mention that person a lot?
- Are you still checking their social media and blog posts, and it causes you great discomfort seeing them “go on with their lives”?
- Do you drive by their home and see if you can see them? 👀
- Are you intentionally posting pictures and messages on social media aimed at getting a reaction from your ex? Or in hopes that someone will say something to them about your post?
- Do you explode in rage when their name is mentioned, or does it evolve after a few moments of speaking about them?
- Can you speak of that person with love in your heart, like that Mother Teresa kinda love? Or do you find yourself still pining for them, wishing they would call or drop by saying they made a mistake?
- Are you still willing to have sex with them?
Ummm…If you’re down for the booty call then you aren’t over them, you’re just willing to accept whatever scraps you can get. Please know that you deserve better.
If when you think or speak about the person there’s so much venom brewing up inside of you that you could punch someone, you aren’t over them. Matter of fact, it’s the exact opposite, a part of you is consumed by them. You need an exorcism!
You should be able to casually mention an ex without it either appearing that you’re about to Linda Blair the place, or text or call them later hoping to re-engage. Too much talk of them in any of your conversations, with anyone, is a red flag. You aren’t over them. You still haven’t let go and let that chapter close.
Now when it comes to snooping on their social, you have too much time on your hand if you can social media stalk them. I get it, you may have shared connections so occasionally one of their posts may pop on your feed, but if you go from looking at one post and moments later you’re 10-plus posts in, you have gone too far. If you scrolled and found yourself gawking over posts from months ago or as far back as when the two of you were together, my friend you need an intervention. You also need to find a hobby or two!
That leads me to driving by their home. Please stop it. You’re taking creepy and desperate to another level. It doesn’t even matter if you used to live there, you don’t live there now. What do you gain from driving by and maybe seeing them alone, or with their new boo? Most likely you will do something immature and make yourself look silly. If you’re in your twenties this may be a struggle, but get it together. Everyone older than age 29 needs to stop it, and stop it now. You need cleansing, healing, and Jesus.
Some people want to hide behind the excuse of, “Well I broke up with them, so clearly I was done!” First, my response is, “Then why are you obsessed with them?” Second, it didn’t matter if I broke up with the guy or if they broke up with me, and it didn’t matter the reason for the break-up. It’s broken. It’s about how I live my life after the breakup. It’s about how I regard them after the break-up. Time is a precious asset that we cannot reclaim or recycle. How will you invest it?
Oh yeah, and let’s be clear, those of you still dwelling on the cheating partner that you broke up with—they actually broke up with you long before you did, it was just easier to keep you around until one of their “plans” worked in their favor. You made it easy for them by walking away, so get off of that horse and deal with your mess. Heal so that the right person will be perfectly aligned with you in the right ways, at the right time.
Here’s the truth—we shared great times and not-so-great times with our exes, and our souls were intertwined for a period of time. There was intimacy, dreams, goals, and plans. Your families may even be linked through this union. Time and energy were invested in each other, and in this relationship. Then suddenly, it’s over.
Okay, for some of you it was a long lead-up to that death, but once it was done it felt like you were now in a parallel world. While everyone else is living their lives, yours begins to spiral out of control, as your norm is no longer. Even if you argued every day with this person, now you’re not. Whatever your daily routine used to be is no more. You’re not cooking for two, doing laundry for two, planning for two, dreaming of two. Nope. Now it’s just you and that puffy face, snotty nose, red-eyed person staring back at you in the mirror.
The first stage of grief kicks in and you have a choice to accept it and triumphantly push through each stage, or cowardly jump off, and find a pacifier to coddle you. That pacifier is either in the form of partying with your friends (so you can consume as much of your day without being alone), getting stupid drunk (which you already know how that ends each time), or finding another source of body heat to connect with. All three options suck!
Yes, we shouldn’t isolate and turn into a hermit. At the same time, we do need alone time to be with our thoughts, our selves, our fears and issues. No one can fix us. We have to fix ourselves. We have to deal with us before we send some idiot representative to act on our behalf. Let’s keep it real, your friends don’t like that person. They like and prefer YOU, and when you get your life together or start destroying those friendships, they will tell you exactly that!
Some people don’t take the time they TRULY need after a break up to reflect and learn, heal and forgive themselves, release the stranglehold of shame, and ensure that they won’t be dragging baggage from the past into their future. If the issues that broke up your relationship aren’t resolved in your heart and mind, to the point that you can trust and love yourself and trust and love others, then you won’t. You can’t give what you don’t have.
But all of that requires work, and it’s a painful process that many try desperately to avoid.
That’s why we quickly rebound and hop into a fresh relationship where we can play make believe, pretend that we have a fresh slate, pretend that this new person is perfect and flawless, and pretend that we’re healed and whole. You can go on and on about how this new person is nothing like the ex, and how they just “get me”, and how easy it is with them, and blah blah blah…roses never stink thanks to this person, the world is brand new because you have a new love in your life, and “They bake their chicken while my ex roasted it…baked tastes better”. It didn’t matter how much your ex tried to motivate you to eat better and exercise more, now in your new relationship you’re bragging about how this new person has “Helped me get healthier” 🙄😒
And sadly, the suckups and yes people in your life just amen you and your glee, badmouth your ex they were just hanging with, and lie and tell your new love, “I’ve never seen him/her so happy,” knowing they’ve used this tired, recycled line far too many times. Or they’re newly minted friends so they haven’t known all of the other exes from years past. I always smile and nod when I hear this, because I know the truth—we haven’t been hit with life’s storms yet to truly test happiness and joy. I almost burst out laughing when I hear it from someone who never knew the ex, only heard the hearsay after. So you never witnessed an entire relationship, the last one this person was in, and you’re trying to prop me up to believe that my presence and love has overshadowed the ex. Mmkay…tsk tsk…But I exhale and allow everyone to play their parts, and say their lines.
Whatever the scenario, you’re floating on air for weeks or months, until there’s a crack in the facade. Until the past and present have a catastrophic collision 💥
That first real argument is bananas. I’m not talking about the trivial little disagreement. Nope, I’m talking about the rabbit hole of doom that you and this person have ran into like two maniacs. It doesn’t take long for you to slip up and call them your ex’s name.
It doesn’t take long for you to start negatively comparing them to your ex or exes. Yeah, you’re going through the laundry list of offenses that past loves did that resemble what your new love has done (or that you have accused them of doing). Oh yeah, you’re cutting and slashing them to the quick. You have a bloodthirst. You’re going for total annihilation.
That’s because you’re still not healed and over your past. You’re carrying that dead weight around like it’s a championship belt or Flavor Flav’s clock necklace. Visualize his big clock hanging from his neck. Let me help you out…
For you, in your life, this clock represents the past, the time you dwell on, the time that you swear you lost being in that old relationship. Sadly, it also represents the time that you waste dwelling on all of it. If you had invested the time to heal from it, it wouldn’t be dead weight holding you down and keeping you from truly moving forward—in a healthy way. Nope. Instead it would be a joyful reminder to not waste a moment, embrace it, and live fully. But instead you have now gone berserk on the same person who moments ago you swore could do no wrong.
It’s not fair to the new person and it’s not a healthy situation for either of you. It’s a setup for another explosive end. It’s a setup for both of you to be hurt repeatedly. You are a ticking time bomb waiting to be detonated, and this other person is clueless—or if they know, then they are ignorant enough to stand near by to take a direct hit.
Rebounds are only good in sports and in leadership examples, where we bounce back from falling on our face—and in those instances, you’re still expected to reflect on the learned lesson. Rebounds are never healthy in the romance sphere. You’re playing a game and it’s the one that can lead to dire consequences. Relationship rebounds are bandaids. They aren’t cures. You’re just masking the infection underneath. At some point, that nasty bandaid is gonna fall off and expose you.
Clean your wounds, properly bandage things, learn yourself, date yourself, go through the painful healing process. Believe me, it’s less painful than being in a constant cycle of toxic relationships—especially when YOU are the common denominator in those relationships!
If you’re currently in a relationship with a person you rebounded with, you need to work on your self-healing without their involvement. They are not your savior or pacifier. Dig the gunk out of your mind and heart, deal with your issues, be honest with them, admit that you’re still hurting and stress to them that it is not for them to solve, fix, mend, or repair. If they want to walk beside you, thank them but establish clear boundaries. Yes, they should hold you accountable when you blur those lines of past and present, but emotionally and verbally beating you up for not recovering as fast as they like is not acceptable. They should not set the expectations and parameters for your healing. If you can’t do it then you have no business being in a new relationship.
Take your time with them. Don’t rush things. Don’t let them rush you. Savor those moments. Identify truth from fantasy. Find your foundation and be grounded. Be uncomfortable in the unknown, the uncharted. If they can’t handle this truth, if they can’t deal with your slower pace, then give them the option to take a cleansing break for a few months, or lovingly go your separate ways. It’s not punishment. It’s not leverage. It’s about love, healing, growth, maturity, and wisdom. You can’t fully and honestly love them if you’re not positively loving yourself.
I truly hope these words help someone. I know it would’ve saved me years of grief and conflict, relationship after relationship. I would’ve learned to let go of people who couldn’t let go of their exes. I would’ve learned to not enter a relationship when I wasn’t healed from the last one. I would’ve been mature enough to take those cleansing breaks to assess things in a loving way.
We owe it to ourselves and others to do no harm. When we willfully enter a relationship knowing we are damaged, frayed, on edge, and can easily cut and be cut —we are intentionally causing and inviting harm.
It’s time to heal!
Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.