So, you’re the rebound guy.
The one she runs to when her heart is shattered into a million pieces. You pick up the pieces and try to glue them back together, but you know deep down that you’ll never be able to fix what’s broken. It’s not your job to fix her, it’s your job to make her feel better – at least for a little while.
We reached out to Annie Patterson, a sex therapist in Dallas, to get her thoughts on rebound relationships. “Being the rebound guy is tough. You have to be strong enough to deal with her baggage, but understanding enough to know that she’s not ready for anything serious,” she said.
“It’s a thankless job, but you’ll find a large majority of men are willing to do it.”
You might not get the same level of commitment that you would with a long-term relationship, but you get something else; you get to be the one person that she can turn to in her time of need.
Plus you get to help her through her darkest hours and be her source of comfort and solace. That in itself can be quite fulfilling.
And that’s not all. Rebound sex can be pretty amazing too. “It really is a perfect scenario for any commitment fearing guy who just wants to have a good time,” Annie pointed out. “Not only that, rebound sex tends to be super charged with emotions and intensity, which can make it even better.”
So how does one be a good rebound guy? According to Annie, there are several things to keep in mind when taking on the rebound role.
Communication is Key
When it comes to rebound relationships, communication is key. This is something that both partners need to be on the same page about from the very beginning. “There’s nothing wrong with rebounds, as long as both parties are consenting adults and are honest about their intentions,” says Annie.
“The biggest mistake people make is assuming that their partner feels the same way about the relationship as they do.”
If you’re not sure what your partner’s intentions are, it’s important to have a conversation about it. This way, there are no misunderstandings down the road.
It’s also important to communicate about your own feelings and needs. Rebound relationships can be a great way to heal from a previous relationship, but they can also be a lot of work. Make sure you’re ready for it before you dive in.
Identify Your Desires
For casual hookups, tread lightly. Whether it’s someone you’ve only just met or someone you’ve known for a while, it’s important to remember that the emotions involved may be fragile depending on the way the relationship ended. Respect her feelings and be conscious of how you approach her.
Being too kind can leave you exposed to being taken advantage of. Don’t feel the need to give advice, such as ‘He doesn’t recognize your worth’ or ‘He’ll soon regret what he lost’. And refrain from buying gifts, especially flowers, as it can be a sign of affection rather than genuine support.
Instead, console her in a casual manner. Talk to her like a friend, not a lover. Take her out to places you’d go to with your buddies. Whether it’s a bar or pizza place.
Stay away from anything too romantic or “lovey dovey”.
A breakup can leave a girl feeling lost. Providing a light-hearted atmosphere, over a pint of beer or a glass of vino, can go a long way toward lightening her load. Being the person to offer such a refuge from the heartache can pay dividends for the both of you.
If you are hoping for a meaningful relationship to bloom, allow a period of time to pass after the separation for her to process the anguish of the situation.
After two weeks, reach out to them via text and show them you are sensitive to their struggles by expressing that you understand what they are going through (which should be done in a supportive way so they cannot sense any romantic intentions yet).
It is important to let her take the lead in deciding when to get together. If you move too quickly, you may regret the situation the next morning.
Avoid any behavior that could be seen as overbearing. Directing the conversation in this manner will keep things comfortable and give her control of the situation.
Don’t Dredge Up the Past
For casual hookups, be sure you never bring up her past relationships. Tread lightly. If she’s let down her guard and allowed you in, then the last thing you need to do is make comments concerning her ex-partner.
And don’t even think of cracking a joke about the breakup – it’s far too risky; an alarming number of guys have made this misstep.
When it comes to discussing the previous relationships of your current partner, the best course of action is to remain respectful.
There is no purpose in blaming their past experiences – causing any unnecessary hurt by referencing their past partner in a derogatory manner is counter-productive. Instead, focus on getting to know your partner and allow them to decide what works for them.
If you wish to connect on a deeper level with her, create an avenue of discussion about her ex-relationships. If you have revealed that you are someone who can lend a listening ear, she will have already begun these conversations.
Simply listen attentively and enter the conversation where appropriate. Remain an interested listener, versus a typical friend, and build a rapport that shows you are interested in getting to know her better.
If a woman is consistently talking about a particular topic, ask her to focus on her own plans. Establish your mutual attraction but be respectful of boundaries. If the interest is not reciprocated, she will make that evident. If she’s putting off any sign that she’s not ready for a relationship, then she’s not the ideal partner for now.
For casual hookups, have a light-hearted outlook. Don’t come on too strong or seem strange. It’s all about having a fun moment that doesn’t last, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
If you’re trying too hard to be a good rebound, it could be a sign that you’re not over something in your past. Let her take the lead.
If you’re habitually somebody’s rebound, it might be worth contemplating why that’s the case. If she’s attracted to casualness, strive to be a pleasant companion and keep things lighthearted. Enjoy the moment and just try to do right by her.
If a long-term relationship is what you’re seeking, remain true to yourself and avoid trying too hard to garner any one girl’s approval. Dating can be a thrilling adventure, don’t make it a chore.
Don’t fall for the illusion of a female in need of rescue, or let yourself be pulled into the role of hero, you may be the one left with a broken heart in the end.
One woman may be the focus of your thoughts right now; however, you should never forget to love yourself first. Express your desire and admiration openly. Allow the situation to develop without expectations and see what comes of it.
Being a good rebound guy requires a lot of emotional fortitude, but it can be done. Annie explains, “When it comes to being a rebound guy, it’s all about having a positive outlook on the situation. Although you may not be the person they’re ultimately in love with, you can still be a comforting and helpful presence in that person’s life.”
As a rebound guy, it’s important to remember that your role is just that: a helpful presence for the other person as they get back up on their feet.
A good attitude and optimism will go a long way when it comes to being a successful rebound guy. Despite the difficult circumstances, try to stay upbeat and keep in mind that your positive energy can make a difference.
Being the rebound is not necessarily an ideal situation, but it can be an opportunity to demonstrate your emotional maturity and understanding.
Be honest and straightforward with your communication. Be sure to keep your expectations realistic and refrain from asking too much from the other person. If they need to talk, let them talk, but be aware of when it is time to move on to lighter subjects.
Keep Your Options Open
Rebounding can be a great way to distract yourself from a breakup and fill the void of no longer being in a relationship. However, it is important to remember that most rebound relationships don’t tend to last.
Unless both you and your partner are open to the possibility of a long-term relationship, it is best to keep your options open and not become too emotionally invested.
As Annie explains, “It is important to remember that a rebound relationship should not be taken too seriously, but rather seen as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and what kind of relationship you may want in the future.”
A rebound partner should be looked at more like a dating prospect rather than a serious commitment.
That way, if you are looking for something more serious and the right girl comes along you won’t feel too guilty when you end the rebound relationship.
Don’t Get Too Attached
A lot of guys fall victim to this and it usually leads to heartache. As Annie points out, “Rebound relationships are often based on convenience and aren’t always the most emotionally fulfilling, so it’s important to keep your expectations in check.”
Rebounds are notoriously unpredictable so just remember to keep your heart open but your guard up. Don’t be afraid to take a step back when things start to get too intense.
It’s important to remain independent and make sure you take care of yourself first and foremost.