No matter how much you don't want to believe it, you're rebounding.
You’ve just had the dreaded “it’s over” talk.
It’s gut wrenching but you tell yourself you’re going to finally do all those things you put off because he didn’t get along with your friends, or because she hated football. But days pass and the emptiness of singlehood sets in. You would normally be curled up watching a movie together (or fighting), but the point is – you weren’t alone. And now, suddenly you are. This part is especially hard if your friends are in relationships because they can’t just drop everything to keep you company or console you at the drop of a hat.
It’s gonna suck. The sooner you get used to that, the less you’ll see loneliness as some horrible problem to resolve rather than a perfectly normal stage of a breakup. Embrace it, cry, go for a run, listen to music, or go out with friends. Keep your mind occupied on something positive.
So why don’t we do it? Why do we go from a Monday breakup to a Friday rebound?
We millennials are used to immediate gratification. If we want pad thai, we can order it from our phone in 2 minutes and have it delivered in 30. If we’re bored, we can watch movies on demand.
When temporarily numbing the pain of a breakup is as simple as a few text messages or swipes on a dating app, it’s no wonder some of us just can’t be alone.
Here’s why you should retain your single status after a breakup:
1. When you finally do find someone new, you’ll know it’s because you want them and not because you need them. After a breakup, you still feel your ex’s absence and are more likely to settle for a false image of companionship simply because you want someone/anyone to fill the empty side of the bed. Own that loneliness. Feel it. Conquer it. Do things that make you happy and don’t wait for someone (even a friend) to make plans with you. Just DO YOU. Get comfortable going to dinner alone. Date yourself, as cheesy as it sounds. It WORKS.
2. If you can stay single long enough to actually enjoy it, then you won’t give up your single status to just anyone. It took a year and a half for me to finally get to the point where I was so happy being single, that I had to think twice about whether I wanted to give up that freedom for a boyfriend. And that’s EXACTLY how you should feel!
3. It takes time to see the real reasons why you broke up. We tend to focus on the “final straw” rather than warning signs that happened throughout the relationship. Sure, maybe you broke up because you caught her lying again or because he made his friends a bigger priority than you. But when you step back away from it, there was more to it than that. Understand why it didn’t work so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
4. You need to remind yourself what it’s like to have your own life. That hobby you’ve been neglecting? You have no excuses now. And those friends you’ve neglected seeing? Now is the time to nurture your friendships. If you put them on the backburner during your relationship, you’ve probably realising how important good friends really are – whether you’re single or not.
5. You’re less likely to choose the same type of partner you were incompatible with in the first place. Thinking back on it, I would have repeated my exact same mistakes had I gotten into a relationship right after my last breakup. Sound familiar?
You won’t like this one but…
6. You have to understand what your role was in the breakup. As much as we’d love to believe they were totally in the wrong, the fact is we contributed somehow. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes a partner brings out a side in us that we don’t like. Maybe you changed yourself for them, got revenge, or resented them so much that you stopped seeing the good things they did and only focused on the bad. That doesn’t mean the relationship could’ve been saved. But chances are we could’ve handled something better.
Ultimately, solitude leads to perspective. It’ll hurt like hell for a while. But rebounding only delays the shit-storm of feelings, and will probably make things worse once they do hit.
Besides, why are you in a rush to give up your right to do whatever the f*ck you want?