Avoiding the Rebound Relationship in your First Dates After Divorce

Rebound Relationship After Divorce

As a divorced man, you’re likely itching to pick up the pieces and get on with your life. You’ve just been through the hellish experience of a failed marriage and divorce. Still, you’re fairly certain that you’re ready to start dating and possibly meet a new partner.Your first date after divorce is an important milestone on the road to rebuilding your life. But when seeking out relationships, it’s important to do so for the right reasons.

If you’re not careful about how you approach dating post-divorce, you could find yourself in a rebound relationship.

Pursuing rebound relationships is one of the most common mistakes divorced men make when dating. But what is a rebound relationship and how do you avoid one?

This article will answer those questions and put you on the road to productive dating in this new phase of your life. If you’re a man looking to start dating after a divorce or long-term relationship, this article is for you.

What exactly is a rebound relationship?

A rebound relationship is one that you normally wouldn’t consider, but do so because of your compromised emotional state following a divorce or long-term relationship. In most cases, people enter these relationships in the pursuit of validation.

This validation is frequently used to mask the personal insecurities developed during a failed marriage or relationship.

For a man, it could be that he isn’t yet over his ex-wife. It might be that the emotional toll of a long divorce hasn’t subsided.

In any case, a man who immediately enters a serious relationship after his divorce is frequently trying to fill some void exposed during his failed marriage- even if it’s with the wrong woman.

Why are the first relationships after divorce rarely successful?

Hurt feelings after rebound relationship

The odds of finding a long-term partner immediately after a failed, long-term relationship are very poor. These odds plummet even further if you pursue a new relationship for the wrong reasons.You want your first relationship after divorce to be meaningful, and that means ensuring your post-divorce wounds have had a chance to heal.

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you? If so, you might be seeking out relationships for the wrong reasons.

It’s not your partner’s job to resolve your insecurities

If your divorce left you with lingering insecurities, it’s your responsibility to spend time addressing these issues. A good partner will provide support and reassurance. But a constant demand for validation from your partner will eventually cause friction in a relationship.

Resolving personal insecurities takes time. If you feel you have work to do in this department, here are 7 tips to help you overcome insecurities. Get yourself squared away before you consider forming new relationships.

Relationships are not a cure for loss

Relationships should not be used to heal the wounds of divorce

If you are still processing grief from your divorce, you might try to convince yourself that you’re in love with a new woman. In all likeliness, this is a case of lust, not love.You’re probably deluding yourself because this new relationship is filling the void of your failed marriage. It’s also possible that you’re having trouble adjusting to being alone after divorce.

This mirage might hold-up for a little while, but sooner or later the emotional clouds of divorce will begin to clear. Once that happens, the relationship will be exposed for what it is, transitional.

A new woman is not a stand-in for your ex-wife

Don't seek-out a stand-in for your ex-wife

If you are not over your ex-wife, you might expect a new partner to assume the role she vacated after you separated. You could find yourself frequently comparing your new relationship to your marriage, highlighting what your ex-wife did that your new partner does not (or vice-versa).A new partner might tolerate these comparisons during the honeymoon phase of the relationship. But once the shininess wears off, and if the comparisons continue, it’s inevitable that a woman will reach her limit and end things.

Someone always ends up getting up hurt in a rebound relationship

These were just a few examples of the common dysfunction that characterizes rebound relationships after divorce. Each example follows a similar pattern:

  1. One or more people enter into a relationship because of their clouded emotional state.
  2. The relationship inevitably fails because they turn out to be incompatible.
  3. Someone gets hurt and both are exiled back into the dating pool.

Dating women on the rebound – when you’re on the rebound

Rebound relationship double

Because of women’s inherent distrust of men who are recently divorced, divorced men are sometimes relegated to dating women who are also recently divorced. This sets the stage for a common, but explosive, event in the dating universe: the double rebound.

Why the double rebound almost always goes horribly wrong

As you can probably guess, the pairing of two rebounding singles only compounds the complex problems facing recent divorcees. This type of relationship usually starts off with a bang, as two people looking to fill a void are able to achieve this through each other.

Could this possibly work out? Sure, but it’s very unlikely.

The most likely scenario is that the relationship ends just as spectacularly as it started. One partner comes to their senses and realizes it was a big mistake, ultimately ending the relationship.

Save yourself the heartache and avoid women on the rebound

Yes, it’s true that men sometimes seek out the weakest damsel in distress. A woman exiting the throws of divorce is also commonly looking for quick validation, making her easy prey for a man seeking NSA sex.

While there’s nothing wrong with having a fling if you’re both on the same page, it’s not exactly cool to take advantage of a woman in a compromised emotional state.

If you do move forward and enter into a double rebound relationship, assume that it’s a just a hook-up until proven otherwise. It’s very likely that you are incompatible.

Avoiding the dangers of a rebound relationship

Rebound relationship danger

The easiest way to stay out of rebound relationships is to avoid relationships altogether until you’ve had time to recover emotionally from your divorce or breakup. After all, the average divorced person remarries in just under 4 years after their previous marriage ends.So relax, you’ve got plenty of time. You can pack a lot of dating into four years. But how long should you wait to date after your divorce? I suggest waiting for at least six months after a divorce or long relationship before you consider anything more than casual dating.

I suggest waiting for at least six months after a divorce or long relationship before you consider anything more than casual dating. This is especially true if you are dating after divorce with kids.

There’s an exception to every rule

You may have heard the argument that in some cases marriages are over well before a divorce is finalized. This is absolutely true. In these cases, a man might actually be emotionally ready to consider a relationship soon after his divorce.

Each situation is unique, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take things slowly.

Signs a man is susceptible to a rebound relationship

If you’re unsure of where you stand, here are some things that a man might do when he hasn’t fully healed from his divorce. These should be clear indications that you aren’t yet ready for a relationship.

  1. He makes generalized, embittered comments about women
  2. He agrees to go on dates with women he normally wouldn’t consider
  3. He spends a lot of time talking about his ex-wife
  4. He considers cohabiting with a woman he’s only dated a few times (for any reason)
  5. He refuses to talk about his ex-wife because the feelings are still too raw

Especially after a divorce, maintain your standards

Coming out of a bad marriage has a way of throwing your standards out of whack. Very few marriages end amicably. Consequently, your expectations regarding relationships are at an all-time low right after your divorce.

When starting from such a low place, it’s natural to initially view any relationship as an improvement.

I frequently found myself dating for the sake of dating right after my divorce. At the time I told myself I was simply expanding my horizons. But deep down I knew these dates were never going to mature into a relationship.

There is nothing wrong with dating to regain your bearings and make new friends. I strongly encourage it. Just be sure not to lead anyone on and to be truthful with your intentions.

Determine your relationship deal-breakers and stick with them

It’s important after divorce take a step back and define your deal-breakers– factors that automatically eliminate women from dating consideration. It took some time for me to figure out my own deal breakers for women.Some of my personal deal-breakers include:

  • Ten or more years age difference
  • Any noticeable hint of anger or jealousy issues
  • An income considerably lower (50%) than mine

If you’ve never sat down and seriously considered deal-breakers before, it’s a great soul-searching exercise. This list of 34 potential deal-breakers will get you started. I have no doubt that some of those will look familiar. If you can expand on this list, tell me about it in the comments at the end of this article.

Deal-breakers increase dating efficiency

The great thing about discovering your deal-breakers (or, alternatively, must-haves) is that you can leverage online dating to specifically target women who meet these criteria. That means no more going on dates, only to discover that religion or some other factor means you’re incompatible.Dating sites like Match.com allow you to search for women based on potential deal-breakers such as age and income. You can learn about Match’s search capabilities and much more in my Match.com review for newly single men. It’s an unbiased evaluation of a site that I use personally to find great dates.

Remember, you’re not simply looking to improve your love life. You’re ultimately seeking a relationship with some substance that will last and be fulfilling. When it comes to post-divorce relationships, never lower your standards or sacrifice your must-haves.

You can find a great relationship after divorce

Your first dates after divorce should be nothing more than dating practice. You won’t regain your pre-marriage swagger overnight.

If your marriage lasted for any significant amount of time, dating norms have likely changed since you were single. Technology has changed how people date and you need some time to learn how to maximize the various online dating tools.

Even if you think you’ve hit it off with a great girl, take your time and let things develop slowly. Remember, it takes some time to really know someone well. Chris Rock famously taught us:

“When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them, you’re meeting their representative.”

Rebound relationships can turn out extremely painful for everyone involved. There is no reason to rush things after a divorce or a long relationship. Remember the symptoms of a rebound relationship and watch for them in yourself and the women you date.

About the Author Brad Pinch

Brad is a divorced father of two who is navigating the brave new world of dating after divorce. A software developer by trade, he experiments with the latest dating applications and tools so that you don’t have to. Brad writes online dating reviews along with other actionable content for men to improve their quality of life after divorce.

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