There are many coping mechanisms that people use to heal or distract themselves from the pain of a breakup. None of them, however, is as popular as the rebound relationship.
Often frowned upon as a technique to suppress what one is truly feeling, rebound relationships have developed a bad rep in pop culture. Well-intentioned people often advise close ones who might be rebounding to process their relationship trauma before jumping into another relationship. However, is it really that bad to have a short-term romance right after you get out of a long-term one?
The world of scientific research says no. Here are three science-backed benefits one can get from a rebound.
1. Acceptance of your breakup.
Contrary to popular belief, the mental health of people who opt for rebound relationships isn’t really worse off than people who choose to remain single after a significant breakup. In fact, according to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people who went for new relationships shortly after ending one tended to be more resolute about their decision to break up with their ex-partner.
Not just that, the study also suggests that they gained more confidence in their desirability because of these new relationships. Moreover, the speed with which they began these new relationships was also associated with greater psychological and relationship healing.
These findings might help break the myth that anyone who gets into a new relationship right after the dissolution of an older one is trying to run away from something. Processing of emotions and thoughts does not stop because one is in a new relationship. If anything, the new relationship might help people gain insight about themselves as a romantic partner.
2. Distance from your partner.
Some of us struggle more than others when it comes to letting go of our ex-partners. The tendency to keep hanging on to one’s ex-partner is especially pronounced in anxiously attached individuals. Anxious attachment makes you crave your partner’s attention constantly, and this need might persist even after the breakup.
Research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that focusing on a new partner might actually help you let go of your unhealthy attachment to your ex-partner. Therefore, the attention and affection of a new partner, even if it is short-lived, might be an adaptive way out of the ‘yearning trap’ one might find themselves in after a significant breakup.
3. A boost to your self-esteem.
The grief and wallowing that follows a breakup naturally affects our self-confidence. We might find it convenient to isolate ourselves in the wake of a newly broken relationship. While it isn’t advisable to force yourself out of a safe place during a hard time, confining yourself to your room and ruminating about your former lover won’t do you any favors either.
You may feel unattractive, lonely, and just generally low in this phase, and going out and meeting someone new might be exactly what you need to kick your mental health back into gear.
Psychologist Claudia Brumbaugh told BBC in an interview that, according to her research, rebound relationships can help people feel “more confident, desirable, (and) loveable. Possibly because they had proven it to themselves. They had more feelings of personal growth and independence. They were more over their ex, they felt more secure. There were no cases where people who were single were better off.”
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