Whenever you see a friend or family member end a relationship or marriage and immediately get involved with someone new, what is your first thought?
But What is Rebounding, Exactly?
Rebounding occurs when the loss of a relationship creates a sizable void in your life, and you do what most people do when they encounter a void in their personal life: FILL IT. If you’re hungry, you crave food. If you’re thirsty, you crave water. And if you’ve suddenly lost a person you’ve been with for months or years, you crave human connection.
This is true even if the relationship/marriage wasn’t working, even if you wanted it to end, even if you haven’t felt close to your partner in years. Many people don’t realize that a bond with another person changes you, in that you become linked with him or her. Once you break that link, your mind and body must readjust. It’s much like when you quit smoking or drinking caffeine — the initial withdrawals can be brutal, but eventually your body adapts to its new conditions.
Rebounding in Separated and Divorced Men
Rebounding can occur in anyone. I admit I’ve rebounded after ending an important relationship… more than once. But marriage, because it creates such a significant bond, can create an even bigger void when it ends. And while women can rebound, too, some experts agree that men are more prone to it. As I discuss in Dating the Divorced Man, there could be many reasons for this, but one important one is that many men don’t often have people to talk to or to offer support during tough times. They typically turn to the woman in their lives for this, and when she’s gone, it’s tempting to get involved with a new woman to fill that empty space. The problem with this is that these men are usually not ready for something new yet, and they wind up hurting the women they rebound with.
So a question I get from women is:
“How do I know he’s serious about me, rather than on the rebound?”
There are many signs a man is on the rebound from a divorce, but here are some of the more reliable ones:
- He’s recently separated. If a man just moved out of his marital home within the last few months, and/or hasn’t even begun the long process of divorce, the risk he’s rebounding is really high. Many people in this stage of divorce aren’t ready to even date, much less begin a new relationship.
- He comes on strong. This is a classic sign that a man is trying to fill the void. Most men, especially when separated or recently divorced, are naturally cautious about rushing into a new relationship. Any why not? Who wants to go out and get hurt all over again? So when you find one who calls all the time, seems smitten with you, and moves quickly, beware. If he’s been divorced a long time, this isn’t as big a red flag.
- He pulls a 180. If a man is on the rebound and not ready for a relationship, he may get involved in one, move forward quickly, and then suddenly pull away or even disappear altogether. In this case, he filled that empty void and, once filled, realized he wasn’t ready for a relationship.
Of course, there are no guarantees. Some separated and divorced men are ready to move on, and some aren’t. You won’t know for sure until you get to know him a little. Take your time with separated and recently divorced men. Look for signs. If he’s recently separated, postpone dating him until he’s further along. If he comes on strong, be the one who slows down the pace for both of you. Keep your eye out for signs that he’s pulling away, give him the space he needs, and acknowledge that he may not be ready yet.