Why Rebound Relationships Don’t Work

I am recently out of a very serious five-and-a-half year relationship (we lived together for four and a half of those years). Less than a month after the relationship ended, my ex met someone else and began dating. After knowing each other for a week and a half, they moved in together. How can someone do that so quickly?

It’s called rebound, and it’s the reason divorce lawyers are so rich.

See, what you’re really asking is: “How could the woman I loved forget me so quickly?” And the answer is: She can’t. But she can pretend to.

Now it’s always possible that she’s known the new man in her life longer than you believe. Or it may be that after five and a half years, she no longer felt that you were going to offer her what she wanted at this stage in her life, whether that was marriage, family, emotional support or some kind of financial security. In other words, she may have been shopping around before she made her exit.

On the other hand, it’s also quite possible that your ex is one of those people who simply has a hard time being alone. Serial monogamy — jumping from one long-term relationship into the next — isn’t an uncommon behavior pattern. Obviously those of us on the outside can, and often do, question the wisdom of marrying or moving in with a partner after knowing them for only a few weeks. More often than not, such impromptu relationships are short-lived. But if your ex is of an age where she’s starting to look in the mirror and watch herself grow older, or if she wants children, she may have been eager to move on, and she may have been frightened by the prospect of going it solo.

Finally, there is the ever-popular concept of the transitional relationship — the person we date between our longer-term social contracts. Needless to say, moving in with a transitional lover is always a bad idea, because it won’t last and someone will get hurt emotionally. But many of us make that mistake anyway.

If you and your lover parted on good terms, you can always ask her about her new life. Just be prepared if she gives you an answer that reopens old wounds.