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What Happens When a Rebound Relationship Ends?

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

by Kayla McCullough

Photography by Desmond Gatimu

Have you ever heard the saying “to get over someone you must get under someone else”? Well if you haven’t, great. But, if you have ever been on the receiving end of this statement, you know exactly what kind of pressure that phrase puts on someone. When you are dumped, left for the next, discarded, not texted back, inevitably your friends will offer up words of encouragement with the intent to make you feel better. Invariably, you will hear from somebody that the best way to get over somebody is to get under someone else. This person is usually jaded about relationships but analyzing the type of person that says something like this is a topic for another time. So, you take what little advice they gave you and you decide to move on – or as best as one can in this situation. Which ultimately means, you resolve to get under somebody else.

The breakup has probably left you feeling a bit self-conscious, undesirable, unwanted, un-a lot of things. Your self-esteem has probably been totaled by somebody that you trusted, and you feel an acute, crushing sense of panic that nobody will find you attractive ever again. But, inevitably, somebody does. Whether you meet this new somebody while at a big party or casually, accidentally in line at the closest coffee shop, this somebody finds you attractive, and sooner (three drinks) or later (three dates) you find yourself under this person. Your first reaction might be to jump for joy because you feel a slight tinge of triumph – yes! you’ve moved on! You have successfully expanded your list of sex stories, your most recent is now no longer your most tragic, and you have somebody new to think and obsess about. You can occupy your brain with this new person, analyzing all his or her movements, words, music choices, weekend activities, texts, Instagram posts, tweets, and so on. Your friends are relieved to hear about somebody else, and life is great. Ex who? Then swoops in memories from your previous relationships. You sit and stare off into space thinking of all the nice things your ex did for you – the way he would tuck your hair behind your ear, surprise you with flowers, or set the coffee pot to ensure you had your dose of espresso in the morning. In the end, you start to feel uneasy about the choice of getting underneath someone else. What were you thinking in allowing someone else to share your bed while you still haven’t properly grieved the void of someone you loved? This is when the whole idea of a new relationship falls apart. Because soon, your new suitor won’t be new anymore.

Whether the novelty wears off after a few hours or a few weeks or months or years, soon, this new partner is complacent too, and you will begin to miss how it was with the one who came before. Suddenly, you can’t take this new person sleeping beside you anymore and you can’t remember why you liked them in the first place. You antagonize them until they break up with you or you gently let them down yourself, but in the end, you still feel alone and unwanted. And once again, someone will unavoidably tell you that to get over someone you have to get under someone else.

This type of thinking is not as uncommon as you may think. Many people get wrapped up in the idea that they must automatically replace the person that left instead of taking the time to understand what’s going on in their internal world. Cheryl Muir is a leading expert in relationship patterns and specializes in helping creative women overcome their dating drama fast. Cheryl is the creator of the Dating Drama Empowerment Method and The 6 Dating Drama Archetypes. Through a combination of these models and her powerful transformational coaching, Cheryl frees women from a lifetime of painful patterns in love and relationships. Cheryl is based in Bristol, England. She has been featured in The Daily Mail, Metro News, Bustle, and Woman’s Own Magazine, as well as top-rated podcasts including The Confused Millennial, Addicted2Success, and The Ashley Hann Show. She advises, “If any woman is struggling within her relationships, I would invite her to do that deep dive within herself because the things that we think we are looking for that will make us feel differently are never outside of ourselves. I advise all women to do the inner work before allowing someone else to fill the gap that was left.” This inspiring woman advises to dive deep into a dating detox, meaning to not date anyone for a little while. This detox will ultimately give you time to emotionally recalibrate, Cheryl states, “This part may look a bit messy. If your detox looks like the ice cream or the movies or talking with friends, so be it it’s not supposed to look clean. During this time, I advise women to get to know their feelings – What was the most painful part of the breakup? Because we have the emotions associated with the breakup, the ones where we will miss him, and we are sad. And then we have the emotions that get brought up when the break-up becomes a sort of trigger and then they start to hit on childhood wounds. So, are you feeling painful and sad in a way that feels manageable, or is it so devastating that it completely wipes us out to the point we can’t get out of bed?” If you are resonating with the later, the pain you are experiencing is coming from a childhood wound – one that you might not remember. So, if your breakup has resorted to a rebound remedy that ultimately ended in a breakup once again, the most important thing that you can do is to start focusing on you more.

As you move through the different stages of learning to accept yourself and becoming aware of your deepest emotions, try to enjoy the journey; hopefully one day, you’ll find that the nagging feeling of incompleteness that is so typical of perfectionism has left you. Instead, you’ll have cultivated a kinder, more self-forgiving feeling of wholeness. If you’re someone who has freshly cut ties with a lover, Cheryl advises you to understand what you want from life, “If you could have anything and it wasn’t wrong, what would it be? Because what comes up might just surprise you.”

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