3 Lessons learnt from a Rebound relationship

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I remember my best friend saying “He’s definitely a rebound after your ex” and me reacting “Nooo! It’s such a special connection!”.

2 years later, reflecting back on it, I admit it: It was a bloody rebound.

Back then, the most impactful relationship I’ve had in my life until that point ended, due to immense pain that we’ve caused each other. He started seeing someone and continued to talk to both of us — being an anxiously attached person, I just couldn’t handle it.

2 days later (not proud of it) I started seeing one of his closest friends (not proud of it either).

This is the long-story-short version of how I ended up in a (clearly) rebound, which for me wasn’t so clear back then.

Lessons learnt from my rebound “situationship”

1. It’s easier to jump on to the next (easiest) person rather than fully experiencing the impact of a breakup

My (first proper) boyfriend back then was very important to me: I learnt a lot of values that I have today from him, I broke most of my “unhealthy” relationship beliefs by problem-solving with him our daily issues, most of my relationship skills today are owed to him. Clearly, we’re talking about a very impactful person in my life.

When sh*t hit the fan and we broke up, I felt so much pain & heartbreak that I fully entered a “denial” phase:

  • I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day— I never smoked in my life before
  • Drank way too much
  • Ended up quickly in a romantic connection that I normally wouldn’t have entered — I shoved the grief under the rug, and replaced pain with the “butterfly” feeling from the beginning of a “situationship”

2. Fully grieving a past relationship is crucial for our growth & moving on

Little did I know, that I would grieve my past relationship only 1 year later, after my “distraction” connection ended.

Initially I felt “This was the best decision I could make. I didn’t even suffer after the breakup! I don’t get why people judge rebound relationships”. Little did I know, that after the rebound connection I would find myself missing and fully experiencing the loss of my previous long-term partner.

I distracted myself so much from that pain, denied the happening for so long that all the feelings which had to be felt broke out when I found myself alone with my thoughts.

All the 5 Kubler-Ross stages of grief arose 1 year later:

  • Denial: would say that I experienced denial while experiencing the situationship. I didn’t feel my ex’s loss as someone else distracted my attention fully.
  • Anger: When I ended the rebound-connection, a wave of anger hit me for both guys. I didn’t even want to hear about any of them.
  • Bargaining: Spending more time alone without anyone texting me all the time, without having anyone like a partner to tell how my day went, I started to slowly learn that I was fully single without any potential-love-interest on horizon. I was left alone with my feelings which I have been avoiding all this time.
  • Depression: I realized 1 year later that I truly missed my ex and started to miss all the wonderful moments we shared together. This was the stage where I realized what I lost and didn't want to see anyone, not even leave the house. Depression mode activated.
  • Acceptance: As I started processing everything that happened, and have started meeting people, it was easier to make peace with my past & learn the lessons which needed to be learnt.

I realised that all this time, the rebound relationship was a “safety box” that I entered not to go through all the pain that had to be felt.

It was easier to feel a “constructed” and self-imposed romance — rather than the grief of losing someone so special.

3. When we are in NEED of a relationship — we forget our boundaries & worth

After that breakup I needed to be with someone. Back then, my self-worth fully depended on how desired I was by someone and by being in a relationship. I remember thinking that I couldn’t be single because otherwise my anxiety would overtake my thoughts and I would have to face the pain I so strongly wished not to feel.

Slowly, by placing the importance of being in a relationship above my needs, I started to lose my identity and my self. I stopped doing the hobbies I loved, I had few friends of my own, I had no life outside of the relationship.

Unfortunately, this very easily led to me not knowing what is healthy in a relationship and not to have any boundaries, which eventually led to emotional and physical abuse.

When we are in need of a “relationship” we settle for anything and we accept anyone who comes along.

I literally jumped on to the first person who came my way in a club and literally PUSHED for a relationship with this person without considering:

  • Do we have shared values?
  • Do we see life in a similar way?
  • Do we want the same things in life?
  • Do I like this person physically? (Which I didn’t, but my low self-worth was able to accept anything)

Do I regret having a rebound?

Absolutely not.

Would I repeat it now? Absolutely not.

I’m trying to see every action or decision as a necessary “Step” in our growth. I also believe that we’re bound to commit a mistake as many times as it takes for us to learn a lesson.

I did the most I could do for my well-being at a time when I didn't know what else to do to make myself feel better.

I think that if I wouldn’t have moved to the next person quick I would’ve stayed alone in my house thinking that my worth depends fully on the actions of my ex. I’ve been struggling for quite a while to sepparate my own worth from how people perceive me, especially romantic interests. It’s a work in progress but I came to learn that:

People’s actions have nothing to do with our own worth.

In a way, I learnt who I don’t want to spend my life with, and which values to appreciate when you have them. I also learnt about verbal and sexual abuse — which I wouldn’t have fully been able to distinguish from what’s healthy and what’s not if having not lived it.

I strongly believe that we should commit as many mistakes in this life as we can to learn as many lessons as life offers us. Even if a story hurt us deeply, there’s always a part we can discover about ourselves and know better next time.

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Hanna

Reflections, psychology, art, UX, UI Design & everything in between. 🌿 www.hazza.design