As I lay upon my couch, entertaining low-grade fever induced delusions and over 200x the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C pumping though my veins, I ruminate upon having once again found myself kicked to the relationship curb.
This time I have been accused of the worst of courtly crimes: dating on the rebound.
Being that I spent the majority of this bright & brisk autumn day providing my body with adequate rest to stave off the impending viral invasion, I stimulated my mind by doing a little research on the topic of Rebound Relationships.
Since I now have some academic knowledge in the subject, I prefer to call them Transitional Relationships. This amended nomenclature is a little easier on a bruised ego.
At its essence, a Rebound (eh-hem, Transitional) Relationship is one that occurs shortly after the break-up of a significant love relationship, in which a person has not fully distanced themselves emotionally from the previous partnership.
Typically a person enters a Transitional Relationship, consciously or unconsciously, seeking a meaningful connection with another person to distract themselves from the pain of the recent break. Maybe you think you are “moving on”. Or perhaps you can’t take the thought of being alone. Whatever your motivation, the company of a new love is much more pleasurable than the empty heartache of a lost love, this we all know. (To learn more about Rebound Relationships, click here)
Let me be clear: I never intended on entering into a relationship of any kind -Transitional, Rebound, or otherwise- after my break up. In fact, I had been looking forward to spending some alone time with myself, taking the opportunity to unravel some of my more maladaptive inner-workings. Additionally, I had been quite distanced from the relationship even prior to the break. The actual break-up was merely a concrete coda to the trajectory we had been traveling.
What started out with this new Chap as a friendly and casual encounter slowly became more familiar and amorous as we spent time getting to know each other. Eventually Chap asked me out and I accepted. What was the harm? It was just a date.
What began as just a date, transpired into an enjoyable evening and several subsequent enjoyable evenings. For me, this remained a light-hearted and easygoing affair. For Chap, it seems he viewed this as going in a slightly different direction.
The climax was yestereve, when an argument (our first!) ensued over what can be most basically described as my actions in this union failing to meet his expectations.
I reminded Chap that I had been honest from the get-go about my emotional availability. Prior to our first date I had been very clear about my most recent relationship status, and what it would mean for any budding romance that may emerge in the near future.
His response at the time? And I quote: “What, me worry”?
It appears that Chap doth now “worry”.
And that was it. With a harsh “goodbye”, a quick click of the phone and an abrupt un-friending on FaceBook, Chap had made himself clear. In a dizzy and with stars swirling around my head, I thought to myself “where did I go wrong”?
According to the popular love & sex advice website YourTango.com, there are five cardinal rules for Transitional Relationships.
1. A Transitional Relationship is not a “Booty Call.” It also cannot be someone you dated already. The TR needs to be someone new. Someone who doesn’t know you or your baggage.
Check. Not a Booty Call. Didn’t know Chap prior to any acquainting.
2. A Transitional Relationship cannot be a one-night stand (see Rule #1.) You must have a “relationship” with this person including prearranged dates, hand holding as well as intimacy. You must know their first, middle and last names. No exception.
Check. One-night stand? See response to Rule #1. Went on lots of prearranged dates, which included hand-holding and intimacy. Knew Chap’s first, middle and last. I also knew his hometown and about his childhood. Even knew his roommate’s cat’s name- even though I never met either of them.
3. A Transitional Relationship must last no less than two weeks and no longer than one month. Whatever you do, do not marry your transitional relationship: See Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, etc.
Check? According to my sources, from the first date to the last (now cancelled) date, it had been just over exactly one month. But if you count the time we “talked” prior, it was about a total of a month and a half. Marriage had never been on the table.
I’ll check this one too.
4. A Transitional Relationship cannot be with anyone in your intimate circle (see Rule #1.) As the Transitional Relationship is a single-serving boyfriend or girlfriend—they must be used up and tossed away, never to be seen or heard from again (except for the case of the “booty call” in between other relationships.) DO NOT ADD THEM AS A FRIEND ON FACEBOOK OR MYSPACE.
Not in my intimate circle? Check.
Not to be added on MySpace or FaceBook? Whoops. No check. My bad.
5. The perfect candidate for a transitional relationship is everything you are not looking for in a relationship. The ideal candidate exhibits behaviors unlike yours. In other words, the transitional relationship is not someone you would bring home to mom. Ever. See Toxic Bachelors, Femme Fatale or the proverbial “WOMANIZER.”
Ehhh… Ok, no check. Chap was a nice guy. I mean like a really, super nice guy. There were times he would say or do something and I would step back thinking, “wow, this is a REALLY good guy. Maybe I should invest in this one a little more”. If you ask Chap, I did not invest.
Of all the articles I read on the matter, including a 2006 Princeton research study titled On the Rebound, they all clearly state: know what these relationships are and take them for exactly that.
I did that. I followed
all of ok, most of the rules. I was upfront from the beginning. So why is it I’m the one left feeling like the bad guy here?
It all boils down to this: Even though Chap had false expectations about the relationship, his feelings were hurt. And I know that I was the one responsible for hurting them.
Nobody likes to be the person who hurt someone else.
Here’s the part I neglected to mention earlier. All these articles also begin with one, very simple, piece of advice. If you want to avoid the pain associated with a Rebound Relationship, stay away from all potential relationships at all costs. Wait until enough time has passed. Otherwise, someone’s gonna get hurt. Probably even the both of you.
The regretful part is I already knew this. I just thought it would be different if I made clear what this was from the beginning. Turns out, being upfront only makes you really honest about the probability that you are going to hurt the other person.
So just how long do you need to wait before you jump back on the dating train? Only you know. The general rule of thumb given is to wait one month for every year you were in the previous relationship. If you’re not so well versed in lunar calculations another good indication is when you aren’t yet able to accommodate emotions associated with significant time spent together, doing couple-like activities.
And if you decide to go on “just a date” anyway? Proceed with caution. Look for me at the finish line; I’ll be the one with ticker tape and the “I told you so” banner in hand.
Unless, of course, you’re both on the rebound. Then go ahead and rebound around as much as you like. It’s only a transitional thing anyway, right?