Each week, Miami dating expert Nikki Novo gives us advice on finding love in this hopeless place. Have a question for Nikki? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breaking up is hard to do. And it seems like people rarely offer the right amount of sympathy towards someone who is going through a recent split. One day you have your life all planned out with this person, and the very next day you're left alone with no road map or instructions. It's not an easy place to be.
After a breakup, it takes time to bring your ex down from that pedestal you created in your mind, in order to see the situation from a healthy and realistic perspective. In other words: you need time to heal.
But healing requires vulnerability. And who wants to be in that position, publicly nonetheless? It almost feels shameful. Instead of working it out with ourselves, we do our best to numb ourselves in any way possible.
The voices in our head that keep telling us we suck for not being able to keep yet another relationship are so strong that all we want to do is drown the volume. So we'll try drinking a little too much, partying a little too much, working a little too much, and dating a little too early -- AKA rebound dating.
Rebound dating seems innocent at first. But if you do it long enough without being aware of what you're actually doing, this coping tactic can be just as dangerous as hitting LIV three nights a week. And here's why.
1. You're Delaying the Process
Let's be honest: You don't want to be single. You want to move on and find a well-rounded partner who is going love you for who you are -- and for the long haul. That is understandable, and you deserve it. But getting too close to a new person too fast after your last relationship is just delaying the process for you.
Instead of pretending that you're totally fine, and this new person is totally the one (even though you've dated him about four times, and every time seems to be after a breakup) what you really should be doing is taking a breather -- alone. Yes, this is scary because it means you'll be left alone with those mean voices in your head, but once you overcome them -- with time, compassion, and a sense of humor -- you'll be in a much better place where you'll be attracting a better caliber of person. That's what you want, isn't it? A better relationship than the last? Then give yourself the gift of healing time.
2. You're Avoiding Yourself
Regardless if you were the dumper or the dumpee, breakups never make us feel so great about ourselves. In fact, we tend to feel like failures. No wonder we want to jump right into something new. If we find someone new asap, then that must mean we're loveable. That will show those mean voices in our heads, now won't it?
But what happens when this new relationship is a bust, too?
You guessed it. The process starts all over again. We're presented with the same not-so-great situations over and over again until we learn the lesson. In this case, you're supposed to learn about yourself.
I'm serious. Let's get deep. This is the time to figure out who you are, what makes you happiest, what do you stand for, and other self-identifying questions like those. But most importantly this is the time to come to peace with yourself: A time to love and accept who you are at this very moment regardless of your past. If you can do this, your future will be filled with only, well, love.
3. You're Not Leaving Space for Anyone Else
If you have an understudy in place, chances are you'll miss out on spotting your lead role. You may think you'll be able to spot a potential partner while hanging out with your filler, but chances are you'll be pretty consumed.
Think about it. If you have someone filling the temp position, you're less likely to put yourself out there and to attend social events where you can meet a potential date. After all, your rebound offers you a false sense of security that allows you to play safe. Does anything great ever come out of playing it safe?
4. You're Hurting Someone Else
After going through the trauma of a breakup, it's easy to get caught up in yourself. It doesn't mean you're a narcissist. It's just part of the process.
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But with that said, what may feel like an innocent rebound relationship to you might feel like a serious relationship to the other party. And do you really want to lead someone on that way? Do you really want them to feel the pain your ex made you feel?
Chances are you really like this rebound as a person. In fact, this person probably sees you for the wonderful person you really are, which is why you keep them around. Who doesn't like an ego booster especially when you're in the dumps? But if that's all they are -- and ego booster -- then it's time to put your big pants on and set them free. The gesture will show that you believe in yourself enough to be able to heal on your own. You can do it. I know you can.
Nikki Novo will soon be answering her readers' questions about life and love. Email your troubles to email@example.com with the subject line "Relationship Rehab."