I covered this briefly in my recent “How to Move On” post, but the rebound love situation is one in which I exhibited phenomenally poor decision making skills after the end of my marriage. It deserves more than an honorable mention, at least in the realm of terrible life lessons that maybe I could learn the hard way and save someone else the trouble.
When you find yourself at the end of any relationship, really, look out for your heart in the aftermath. It is easy to look for love. Someone to fill the holes in your heart that were part of a deteriorating marriage, and smooth the rough spots. It’s nice to have someone to confide in and trust with the admission that you may have made a mistake or failed in a commitment you made in front of everyone you know.
A divorce doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, a culmination of isolation, insecurity and bitterness makes you feel fragile. Unimportant. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could ease the loneliness and make you feel normal? Lovable? If he or she could erase – or at least ease – the harsh statements spewed in the chaos of a breakup?
The pressure and expectations you apply to a new love to repair the damage of an internal hurricane are great. This love will feel important. It will seem like a necessity. That ache in the core of your chest will make you feel as if you need your rebound love to breathe.
Just when you should be claiming your independence, you will be falling headlong into the worst kind of dependence: the one you’re convinced you can’t live without.
You will be the center of someone’s universe. You will all at once feel lovable, attractive, needed, appreciated and worthy of love. You will love boldly. With no reservations, you will be convinced that THIS TIME it’s right. It just feels as such.
It feels like the universal answer people provide in response to how they knew their soulmate was their soulmate: you just know.
Now that you’ve met this new love, you get it. Your marriage fell short in the “knowing it” realm. But this love? This love is so full of all of the feelings that it seems you can’t keep it all inside. What you were missing before; a full blown firework display. The promise of a partnership. You will not be abandoned, and your feelings will be heard and reciprocated over and over.
You will feel rescued.
But you won’t realize that you don’t need to be rescued. You’ve got this. You are stronger than you have ever been given credit. You’ve lived through the hurricane of a divorce. You can save yourself.
And you should save yourself. My rebound love broke me in ways I never would have dreamed of being broken within the stifling confines of my marriage. I wish I would have just saved myself.