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Dating on the Rebound?

October 18, 2019


 If you’re thinking about dating someone who is going through a divorce, here are some things to reflect on.

The Breakup Experience

You’ll know, if you’ve lived through it yourself, that a relationship breakup is one of the most painful experiences in life.

Even when the breakup is mutually agreed and not marked by acrimony and conflict, it’s still painful. And that pain takes time to work through. So, conscious uncoupling or not, it hurts.

Then, when you factor divorce into the equation, there is added complication arising from potential legal matters, including property and custody of children.  These can be very stressful issues to navigate for anybody in that situation.

So, to put it simply, the person you are considering as a dating partner, is going through a lot. That leads us to the next point.

Understanding the Rebound Relationship

It is not uncommon for someone during the time of a relationship breakdown or divorce to knowingly or unknowingly seek a new romantic liaison to distract themselves from their pain.  Relationships formed during this time are commonly called “rebound relationships”.

Rebound relationships have certain characteristics. One is that they tend to be short-lived, because the newly single person is understandably emotionally unstable. Remember, they are grappling with a lot; their emotions are in turmoil.

The upshot is that the person on the rebound is probably not yet ready, in any thoughtful way, to enter into a new intimate relationship. This is despite what they might tell any prospective partner and despite what they might be telling themself.

And, whether, they acknowledge it or not, they’re likely looking for a safe place to land while they’re dealing with their past and adjusting to their new present.

More Things for You to Mull Over

So, now let’s place the focus where it needs to be – on you and your choices.  Here are some ideas and suggestions.

Contemplate What You Need and Desire in A Relationship


Assuming that you are seeking an enduring intimate relationship, it’s important that you are clear about what you most deeply desire and need in that relationship. Be clear about the qualities you desire in a partner. I encourage you to write all of this down.  This will be your guide in pursuing any new relationship.

Once you’ve done that, I invite you to consider whether this relationship, at this time, can meet those needs and desires.

Learn How to Balance Needs in a Relationship


A balanced relationship is one where the needs of both partners are paramount.

So, a relevant question is this:  is this person at this time able to focus on your needs in equal measure with their own? Remember, they’re carrying a load of emotional pain and, consciously or not, they may simply be looking for balm to soothe their wounds.

One way to judge this is the tone and content of their conversation with you. Is it by and large self-focused? Is their dialog (or monologue?) consistently centered on their ex-partner and issues surrounding their divorce? Does this person demonstrate a sincere interest in you, your needs and desires? Do they listen to you or do they use your time together to vent about their own situation?

What you want to avoid is falling into a pattern where you’re the one of doing all the giving while foregoing your legitimate needs in the relationship.

So, I suggest that you look very carefully at your motivation for wanting to get into this relationship, because if you become the ever-giver, you will likely experience dissatisfaction with the relationship sooner rather than later.

Gage Your Lover’s Readiness for a Lasting Relationship


Assuming that you are looking for a long-term relationship with someone who’s ready to be with you in every sense (mentally, physically and emotionally), you need to work out if this person is in a place where they can be that.

One way to know is to ask them e.g. Are they looking to date casually or are they looking for something deeper? Then, honestly share with them what you are seeking in a relationship and see where that conversation leads you.

Consider Backing Away and Giving Your Lover Time


This person may tick a lot of the boxes for you. They may even seem intensely interested in a relationship with you right now.

But keep this in mind: because your lover is likely experiencing disruption and confusion in their life right now, what they may want once the divorce dust settles, may be something completely different than what they are chasing right now.

After all, this person still needs to work out who they are as a single person.

Thus, something you could do is to step back and give them time to get their life in order before you involve yourself in a romantic relationship with them.

How long that might take is difficult to determine, because it’s a journey and not a destination.