Let's talk “The Rebound.” And no, I am not referring to the mediocre and morally questionable Catherine Zeta Jones movie of 2009.
There are many styles of rebounding, some more suitable to others, some less preferable than others, one or two more highly likely than said preferable options.
However, what I have noticed to be the biggest contrast in my current approach to rebounding and previous attempts, is that it is infinitely easier in New York City than it ever could be in Ireland. For obvious reasons.
Most breakups I’ve gone through up until this point have been as a teenager in school or a slightly overgrown teenager in college where making dumb decisions and being a fluorescent adolescent -- AKA a total jerk -- was par for the course. After that was the all too brief period of being in my early twenties before I got into a relatively long-term relationship.
Breakups then were ugly, public affairs that everyone knew about. We were all guilty of conducting aggressive domestic arguments with our Significant Others in plain sight across campus, in the center of the dance floor at a prestigious alumnus event, or in the middle of a lecture -- just to name a few totally arbitrary examples, none of which I have engaged in. Honest.
Rebounds then were ugly, public affairs that everyone knew about. We were all guilty of conducting… you see where this is going.
The exact rebound choices we knew would cause the most drama glistened like flames of temptation, and, like moths, we flew. I’m comforting myself by using the collective “we” in this/all scenarios, but am aware that generalizing the experience in this way is perhaps misleading.
They say that every woman has the love life she wants. By that equation, I suppose for the guts of the last eight years, I’ve wanted the drama. Not anymore.
Breakups now are still ugly, but less public and surprisingly few people know. As we grow, we become more private, more self-aware, and in turn, care less about what garbage other people are sifting through in their own lives.
Our own daily struggles, personal affairs and relationship issues are far more important to us than idle gossip which burns hot for a few days before dissipating into the pool of whispers that has built up over the years.
Rebounds now are also still ugly, but similarly less public and can be secretive too. If you live on separate continents.
I have no idea what my ex is up to. We don’t speak, have zero contact or connections and, thankfully, our mutual friends are respecting those boundaries and not reporting back on each other’s antics like school children.
That being said, I live in a city of blissful anonymity where I could go on 5,000 dates and he would be none the wiser. I could have a summer, fall and winter fling, rebounding like a pinball machine, safe in the knowledge that no toes would be stepped on, no feelings hurt, no private matters made public.
For exes conducting their lives in the same city, that freedom isn’t quite so abundant. My two besties at home who are in a similar boat to me are feeling that strain.
The primary issue seems to lie in dating apps. If you decide to take the plunge and set up a Tinder account, you not only run the risk of your ex seeing your profile, you can never know how you’ll feel if you come across theirs.
What if they got there first? Which pictures did they choose? Are you in any of the pictures? -- true story, that happened to a friend over here.
And are you okay with them being on the same page as you? Moving on, scoping out the other fish in the sea, getting back on the horse, per se.
I think if I saw my ex’s dating profile I would start vomiting and then never stop vomiting until my body completely inverted and I ceased to exist. Please refer to aforementioned affinity to the dramatics.
But I am the injured party, the victim, the one who is allowed to rebound to my heart’s content. And thus comes the question: How soon is too soon to rebound?
Are we all given a generic grace period wherein you should mourn the loss of the relationship, the human, the love, before going back into the world of dating? I’ve never been one to hang around a la Bridget Jones eating ice cream and wishing death upon someone, but I’ve never been particularly badly hurt before.
Until this time. And yet, again, there was still no ice cream.
In my grasshopper experience, less as it may be than that of a woman who has lived a full life, the rebound timeline is entirely subjective. There doesn’t seem to be an objective right or wrong way to do it, especially when you know in your gut that it won’t be anything more than a rebound.
When you’ve been hurt, lost someone and are feeling so raw, vulnerable, and exposed, can you really apply a set of rules to how you reveal yourself to another person again?
When you know that it’s entirely meaningless, that this person will never truly know you, love you or care about you in the same way your ex did -- allegedly -- does that make the experience more liberating or inhibiting? It seems to me, that the rebound is bound to be problematic, and can vary wildly based on your proximity to the particular ex involved.
Can I recommend moving to another continent? Perhaps that’s a little wild, but a new city couldn’t hurt.
When wondering when to begin to move on, you need to constantly check in and ask yourself: How soon is now?