Ouch. You got your heart broken. Or: Yay! You had the guts to end your last relationship because, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t right. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready for a new heavy-duty relationship. Now is the time to get over your ex. And since time heals all wounds, why not pass a lot of that time by dating other people, i.e. rebounds.
Suffice it to say, we can, in part, get over people by getting under others. In the past few years I’ve done this my fair share of times and, recently, a good crop of my friends have, too. In the process we’ve amassed a lot of rebound data; and within that set, some patterns emerged. In an attempt to make up for the defects of our last relationship, we sought specific character types—rebound archetypes—that, momentarily, assuaged some part of our pain.
What we realized in the process is that until this list (give or take) has been worked through, you’re likely not going to be ready to land on a healthy next match. Here then, we’ve written the rebound archetypes down to help you identify your own, work through your grief, and come out ok on the other side.
The Youth: You’re only getting older, and, most likely, you won’t end up with someone significantly younger than yourself. So it’s time to take advantage of your freedom; the robust human body in the prime of life is a beautiful thing. Enjoy it.
The Ex-ex: Remember that guy? The person you dated before you dated the person who broke your heart? He’s still around, and you’re still kind of talking because time really did heal that wound. And now you look pretty good to him and he looks pretty good to you because we forget things. So, you go for it, until you remember precisely why, once again, you should absolutely not be with that person.
The Person Who Looks like Your Ex: The main thing happening in your head right now is: missing your ex. But, hold on a minute: that person over there, they kind of look like your ex! Maybe they also behave kind of like your ex, too, but in a way that is healthy for you. So, you talk to them. And they are nothing like your ex at all. In fact, being around someone who looks like your ex but is not your ex only makes missing them more painful. Au revoir, person who likes like your ex.
The Nurturer: Because of your gaping wound—heartbreak—the number one thing you really want is to be is taken care of. Guess what? There’s an archetype for that. The nurturer, bless his heart, wants nothing more than to make you happy. So he cooks you stuff and shows up on time and texts immediately, because he exists to remind you that people can think about other people (you) before themselves. Which is a very nice experience to have, until you come to terms with the fact that he’s not right for you either. But, nurturer, thanks for the love.
The Emotionally-Unavailable Self-Destructive Poet: Broken people are so hot! They are like the embodiment of Baudelaire’s Les Fleur du Mal. It’s just a thing about people: We find that which is both dark and French very sexy. They must be communing with a sphere of reality so much deeper than your own, and you want to reach those depths with that dark son of a bitch, don’t you? Sure, until, that is, you go down there and realize: Oh, this is not more fascinating, it’s just dark and cold. So you go back upstairs.
The One with Whom You Have Nothing in Common but Great Sex: Which pretty much sums it up. Upon entering public with that person, you understand that you, under no circumstance, want to introduce this person to your friends, let alone your mother. He might linger for a bit, because as mentioned, you have great sex, but great sex does not a relationship make. We are multi-dimensional people! So, thanks, man. You’ve reminded me that good sex is good and possible—and that I want it with someone who wavelengths with the rest of me, too.
Rebound You Never Dated in College and with Whom You Still Have Nothing in Common: We live in New York City so a lot of your college friends live somewhere near you. And then one day that guy who you kind of knew or maybe even were friends with in college surfaces, and he’s single! You didn’t date in college because he didn’t seem like your type. But things, including you, change. Plus you know each other, and that’s comfortable. Maybe it could work ten years later? But it doesn’t, because almost every single time our initial hunches about people are correct.
Alternate Sexual Preference Flirtation: Once you’re in a relationship, you can’t really do exploring like this. So, no time like the present. Trying new things is exciting and fun. But fun can be deceptive. It can make you reassess fundamental things about life choices you thought were correct. Until it becomes apparent that what you like about the arrangement is precisely that it is fun. And having fun is awesome. But fun alone, like good sex, does not a relationship make. On to the next.
The Completely Out of Your Ballpark Rebound: There are certain kinds of people who you never, ever think about dating. And usually it has to do with physical characteristics, or where they are from. But maybe you’re too closed off to that which you generally prefer? Maybe you’re really missing out on something fantastic. So you entertain this idea, or even try it. Until once more you remember: Nope, I really do like that other thing, and there is no arguing with taste.
The Friend-Not-Quite-Boyfriend Rebound: Love is complicated. Maybe it’s just a more intense friendship? And that one friend of yours, you’ve always been more than friends with him. Maybe that is the person you’re supposed to be with. You get along so well, you talk for hours, you love each other, even. You laugh your heads off. You are affectionate with each other. Spending time together is so easy. So you give it a go—but, that fails, too. There’s a reason you’ve always been friends and not a couple, and that’s because you make great friends.
So, there your rebounds are! And there are a lot of them. By the time you’re finished with this list, quite a bit of time has passed. And you’ve learned a lot about yourself, hopefully. Your heartbreak finally feels distant, and your ex finally like a real ex, not someone you still want to be with. You’re re-centered, self-contained, an even better version of the person you were before your heartbreak. You no longer need a rebound. You still want to find a partner. But you’re not anxious about it. Victory has been achieved.
As for all those rebounds that you so callously used to get through your own pain with little to no consideration for their feelings: Sorry about that.