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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Is This a Rebound Relationship?

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Author Topic: Is This a Rebound Relationship?
pocket_mouse_531
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Hey guys! Sorry for always asking so many questions. I really appreciate all of your help!

So in a lot of my recent posts, I talk about a guy named Austin that I've been dating for about four months now. I really, really like Austin. He is very sweet, he makes me laugh, he enjoys spending time with me, he's intelligent and talented, etc. When I first got into this relationship with him (which initially started as us just dating and not giving the relationship a formal title until about a month in), I was not worried about the state of this relationship at all. I was excited and happy as to the prospect of discovering what it meant to date someone new and take it slow in a way that I've never done before.

However, I have a concern that I am currently in a rebound relationship. About a month before I began dating Austin, I took a break with a long-term boyfriend of mine named Marshall. The relationship had been going sour for about six months, and after we broke up officially and I began to date Austin, I discovered that Marshall had been cheating on me (to clarify: I dated Austin before I realized that I had been cheated on). I did cry it out, and I was very sad for a couple of weeks, but I seemed to get over the pain very quickly.

Now, though, I'm beginning to worry that I haven't fully dealt with the emotional pain of my split from Marshall. Occasionally I will still feel the sting from finding out that I was cheated on, or worse, I'll see that he's suffering and feel sorry for him. For example, the other day he wrote a Tumblr post about being confused about life in college, and I genuinely felt sorry for him and wanted to see if he was alright.

I really like Austin a lot, and I don't want to break up with him. As much as I still hurt over my past relationship with Marshall, I know that things between us are over, and I know I would not take him back if the offer arose. But I still worry that I may have involved somebody I genuinely like in a rebound relationship, and I don't want to hurt somebody I truly like just because I didn't realize I still felt pain about an ex.

What should I do? Is what I'm doing okay?

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Molias
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I don't know that there's an "official" definition of what makes something a rebound relationship vs. any other relationship that comes fairly soon after another one ends, but I wouldn't agree with a statement that says someone has to be 100% "over" or finished processing events of one relationship to be able to have a healthy relationship with someone else.

It's totally fine and, I would say, not unusual for you to still be upset about some things that happened in that last relationship, or to have complicated feelings about Marshall where you're hurt by his actions but still worry about him. So maybe what you could ask yourself is if those feelings of worry or upsetness are so strong that they're distracting you when you're trying to talk to or spend time with your boyfriend now, or if you feel like you're thinking about your ex so much it's taking over other parts of your life.

If the latter situation is true, I don't think that means you have to break up with Austin right now but it might be helpful to take a bigger look at some of those issues and see if there's a way you can help them be less pressing, whether by talking with a counselor, journaling some, and maybe not following Marshall on social media so you aren't confronted with his life as much (as a side note: this may sound harsh or like one step too far, but I think it can be super-helpful to really cut off contact with exes, including reading blogs/facebook/tumblr, even if they are people you like on some level and may want to reconnect with someday. This may be something to give serious thought to).

But it kind of sounds like you're just dealing with some unhappy thoughts about this past relationship that are present and upsetting, but not necessarily taking over your life. And if that's the case, then I wouldn't say it's something to worry about, but those things I mentioned above for exploring and managing your feelings around this may still be helpful.

Also, I did want to follow up on some of the other things you've been asking about your current relationship: have you been able to talk with your boyfriend and get a better sense of how he's feeling about things, and maybe work out ways for you to feel more comfortable with your communication level?

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pocket_mouse_531
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Thank you so much for responding to me Molias! I appreciate it [Big Grin]

I don't think that these confused feelings I have regarding Marshall are so strong that they distract from my time with Austin. When we're together or just talking to one another, I am completely focused on the two of us. The thoughts regarding Marshall usually come up when I'm alone. It's weird though. Sometimes I'll think about him and feel the space that he left behind, and sometimes I'll look at pictures of us and wonder, "Did I really love you?" Like I can't believe I was all that serious about a person that really wasn't worthy of the love I had to offer.

The thing that worries me about the pain of my split from Marshall is the way that it affects my capacity to love and be generous with that love in the moment. When I was with Marshall, I found it very easy to say "I love you" and whatnot. With Austin, there have been times when I can feel those words on the tip of my tongue and I've stopped myself because I'm scared he won't say it back. But I miss my ability to be honest and give love generously in that way.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hi pocket mouse, I thought it might be helpful for me to share: After being a hurt a couple of times I worried the same things that I'd no longer be able to open myself up to another person and be vulnerable in how I approach them.

What I have learnt is that with really cool partners, it doesn't matter much to tell them I 'love' them or not, or the fact that I protect myself from hurt. When I have needed to look after myself, according to my past, the relationships that have felt best are the ones that just take that pressure right off, where we've been able to enjoy things for what they are and without rush we've felt comfortable to share or even not share thoughts we might struggle to express because of past experiences.

That hesitation, in my opinion, is just an acknowledgement of our past. Hurtful things did happen and we learn't that we wanted to protect ourselves.

Heading into new relationships or continuing in a different direction, its so important that we feel able to care for ourselves. So I'd say the stuff you describe about not feeling ready to express certain feelings is a really healthy thing to feel able to do.

[ 07-07-2013, 05:26 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Jacob! Thanks for your feedback!

I had another question for you regarding the possibility of this being a rebound relationship. I noticed that over the past few days, I have not missed Austin. I've gone on with my work and been hanging out with friends, and honestly, there hasn't really been a moment during that time where I've thought to myself, "Wow, I really wish Austin were here right now instead of my friends." Is this a bad thing, to not be missing him right now? Does that increase the likelihood of my rebounding?

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pocket_mouse_531
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Any advice on the above?
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Molias
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Maybe you're just in a place where your relationship isn't the focus of your life right now; that doesn't mean it's a "rebound" relationship or that how you're feeling is bad. Sometimes romantic relationships aren't the most important things in our lives, and that's ok. It doesn't mean they're not still important or healthy.

I do think that some of your worries about this relationship might be resolved if you had a chance to talk to your boyfriend about some of what you've mentioned before in terms of the relationship dynamic in general. Have you been able to do that.

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Molias! Thanks for your input!

I have talked about some of these and other things with my boyfriend before. The problem is, I don't always get an explicit verbal clarification that he did in fact acknowledge and understand what I was explaining. Usually when we discuss things, we both tend to be defensive people, so we both tend to talk about ourselves rather than listening to one another and saying that we understand. How can I work on this with him?

Additionally, sometimes my boyfriend can be a little bit of a smart-aleck. Most of the time I find it funny because I know that he's making a joke, but sometimes he rubs me up the wrong way. How do I express this to him?

Am I being very demanding with this, or is it fair for me to say that these are things that I want in a relationship?

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pocket_mouse_531
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Any advice on the above?
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Heather
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Really, to me, this sounds like personal growth stuff.

In other words, if neither of you are able to actively listen to the other (which really isn't a personality trait, it's a matter of growing to learn those skills), that sounds like maybe you both need to grow in that department. Ideally, before getting into an intimate relationship where that's really quite required, but alas, here you are.

Mind, maybe this is a crossroads and one other reason to reconsider an ongoing dating relationship right now.

I'd say talking about big personal growth to work on per problems in a relationship of only one month isn't so sound: if already you just can't actively listen to each other, that, to me, says that's a cue this just isn't a sound fit. After all, digging in to do deep relationship work doesn't make a lot of sense when we're in something brand spanking new.

But, for yourself, you can certainly work on active listening, regardless, and I do find when you model it, others tend to pick it up over time.

I like this page on active listening as an online place to start:http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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pocket_mouse_531
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Hi Heather!

Well, we've been dating for nearly five months now, which still isn't very long, so I see your point. So do you think I should just call it quits with Austin? It's not something I really want to do, but if it sounds like we aren't a good match, I don't want to waste anybody's time, you know?

And it's not that we won't hear each other out, because we do! It's just that we don't always agree. And sometimes, all I want to hear from Austin is "okay, I understand what you're saying," or "I understand how that hurt you," but that's not something I always get from him. Sometimes our discussions will seem to keep going without a clear end because we both seem to like to be the person with the last word.

Is this still a relationship I should end? I know I sound silly right now, but I do really like Austin, and I still want to see where this relationship could grow. Or is it not worth finding out if this relationship has more potential?

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Heather
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I can't tell you that, it's really up to you. And five months vs. one is, I'd say, a noteable difference.

It sounds like YOU would like to keep pursuing it.

So, what if you just try to say things like: "Sometimes, all I want to hear from you is "Okay, I understand what you're saying," or "I understand how that hurt you," and see how that goes?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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