Rebound... To Be or Not To Be?

15:00 Lissa Reed 3 Comments

I got this email from a reader earlier today asking about advice and I have to say that the topic intrigued me so I decided to share it with you all:

Dear City Girl,
I would like your advice on this amazing guy I met. To make a long story short, we I met him randomly in a club and we clicked immediately. Funny, unassuming, relaxed and most of all… he gave me butterflies (cheesy, I know). It was an instant connection, something which is very rare for me. So what’s the problem?, you will ask.
I think I’m his rebound. We have a lot of fun together and so far I can really rely on him. But I can see several signs that he’s not over his ex yet. He still wears a ring she gave him, I often catch him staring off into space and when I ask him if he is okay, he snaps at me. I think what annoys me the most though is the picture I found in his drawer of them two hugging. I know those are memories he cherishes and that’s why I feel so selfish.
I am crazy about him. I can’t think of anyone else but him. Is it too selfish that I want him to think of only me? Is it too selfish that I don’t want to be his rebound while he’s my first love? I want me to be what he is to me.
Should I talk to him about it? What do you think I should do?
Looking forward to your response,


Dear I-Don’t-Want-To-Be-A-Rebound Girl,
 How easy is to actually find someone that gives you butterflies? As cheesy as that sounds, we all love it. Connecting with someone is really rare. I know because I’m exactly like you when it comes to men. It’s great that you actually have such a deep connection with your first love.
 However, we all come with baggage. In this case the baggage is an ex-girlfriend. I understand how frustrating this is and how heart-breaking it can be at times. Being with someone that has not fully recovered from his past relationship can be really difficult and of course, a great obstacle to the potential of your relationship. But, you have to understand that falling in love with someone for the first time is all too exciting and fresh, but this is not the case for him. And even though for you, the love scene might be a clean slate, it seems that he’s been around for a while before you showed up.  It’s only reasonable that he might be recovering from a past love, without this necessarily meaning that you are just a rebound. If he made you trust him and showed to you that you can rely on him, then I doubt that this is just something temporary and completely insignificant to him. I know it might be bothering you, but you need to talk to him about it… if this behavior doesn’t stop in a few months or so.
 You can get him to talk about her, if this will make you more comfortable with the situation. Personally, I never like opening the ‘ex-files’ with a current boyfriend, but this is not for everyone. If you ask more about her, for example how their relationship was, how they broke up or how long they were together then this might give you some indication of whether he will be able to get over her sometime soon. For example if the break up was amicable, then chances are he might still be heartbroken about her, but he will soon get over it because he agreed to the break up.
 I don’t think it’s selfish at all to want him to think about you… and only you. But, as I have argued elsewhere (see ‘Where does the love go?’), we are never really over our past relationships, we never really stop loving our ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. We are always, in a way, ‘haunted of spirits from relationships past’. What you need to do however, is not concentrate on how to make him forget her, but on how to make him love you more. You need to get closer to him in every way possible and make him your best friend as well as your lover. You see he will start ‘staring off into space’ a lot less and maybe take off the ring, place it in a drawer… he will not get rid of it though. Don’t expect that. He might keep the photograph as well. I always keep souvenirs of my past relationships, I never throw them away. I consider them a parting gift.  
All in all, you might not have the perfect relationship in your hands as it is, but if this is someone you really want, don’t throw it away. Talk to him about it if this behavior does not stop, but if you keep him close to you with every means possible, then you will see that things will change without opening the ‘ex-files’. Just keep in mind, that there is a time limit. If you see that a few months have gone by and you still feel like the rebound, then there is something wrong, and you might need to face the possibility that walking away might be the only solution. But until then, give him some time to heal and recover… because if you think about it, aren’t we all recovering from something…. Drugs, alcohol, OCDs… past loves?
Hope this helped,

What do you think? Did I give the right advice? Do you agree with me or do you think she should just walk away now before things get even more complicated? I'd love to hear your response on this!

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  1. "What you need to do however, is not concentrate on how to make him forget her, but on how to make him love you more. You need to get closer to him in every way possible and make him your best friend as well as your lover." This is just not true and dangerously bad advice. You can never "make someone love you more," that is a codependent attitude and leads to a lot of heartache. Most rebound relationships do not succeed and if they do have any chance, it is usually only with a very slow approach.

    You have to build a relationship based on your partner recognizing your merits and not be your partner's replacement for the love they are getting over. So if you try to "get close to him in every way possible and make him your best friend as well as your lover," jumping full throttle into the relationship, you WILL BE the replacement. Your partner will not value you and will likely be using you as a human band-aid, which, by the way, is easily tossed out once their use is over. Don't be available all of the time or try to rescue them and be their emotional savior.

    Go very slow, build a solid friendship, be caring but cautious and if your partner is still not seeing your value and still wailing over their lost Lenore after a few months, say goodbye and find someone who is ready for a relationship and will sincerely appreciate you. Unfortunately, no matter how much we may hope and try, we can never make anyone love us more.

  2. Completely agree!

    Rebounds happen - but it has to be what you want - otherwise what's the point?

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