For both men and women, ending a marriage can leave you an emotional mess. It is common to cycle through a range of feelings including anger, depression, anxiety, confusion and loneliness.
Divorce can be a shock to the system to go from having a spouse — even one who hasn’t really been there for you — to truly being alone. This emotionally fragile state can make for an extremely difficult adjustment, which leads many recent divorcees to (unhealthily) jump right into another relationship, commonly referred to as a rebound.
This is not a good idea for a number of reasons.
Rebounds seem like a good idea at first
It’s a fairly common attitude that if you want to get over someone who left you feeling hurt, you go out and find someone new to replace them. This is a simple form of distraction that numbs you from feeling the pain of losing a committed relationship, and it really makes a lot of sense — who wants to feel the full force of heartbreak?
Additionally, once the divorce is finalized and you are really on your own, it can be very intimidating. This emotional vulnerability drives a lot of guys to latch on to the first person they can find to avoid being alone, regardless of whether the person is truly a good match for a long-term relationship.
Finally, divorce is a very traumatic and life-changing experience. You will typically be left in a very emotionally fragile state, which can lead you to make… irrational decisions.
Moving in with someone after dating for two months is a stupid idea. You would probably rip your friend apart if they told you that was their plan. However, when the wounds of divorce are still fresh, it is all too easy for this idea to make the most sense in the world.
It will take time for you to come to terms with everything that happened and return to a state of mind where you are able to make informed decisions regarding your love life. While jumping right back into a rebound can help you forget the pain of divorce and potentially years of miserable marriage, it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy.
Someone will likely be hurt
Leaping to the next relationship before you are fully recovered from your divorce is setting yourself up for problems from the start. You are almost always creating a situation where someone will be hurt, whether it is you or the person you begin dating.
First of all, there is a good chance that the new relationship will begin lopsided, as you are basically using the other person to help you cope with your own emotional insecurities.
This can backfire horribly if you become too attached too quickly in an attempt to replace your spouse. There is a good chance you will push the new partner away, leading to another rejection on top of your divorce, which can be devastating.
On the flip side, you may end up using this new person as an emotional escape while you slowly recover. As you begin to heal over time, you may come to realize that this relationship isn’t really what you want, leaving the new partner hurt when you are fully ready to move on.
It is very common to romanticize new relationships and get caught up in the whirlwind of falling in love all over again following a divorce. However, you need to learn to be independent again before you are stable enough to begin a new committed relationship.
Be wary of dating shortly after your divorce. Distracting yourself from the pain does not help you get over the emotional distress, and many guys make the same mistake: They hurdle forward with the first person who gives them a wink and a smile.
Casual dating can be fun, and divorce allows you to experience the dating scene again. However, it takes a state of mind that typically doesn’t exist shortly after divorce to keep it casual.
Be wary of the rebound, as it typically takes fully recovering emotionally before you are able to truly commit and understand what you want out of a relationship.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”