For a few days now, I have been thinking about that space in between relationships, oftentimes called the “rebound” period. Why? Well, because I am in it, but not just in it…
I am actually recognising and admitting to myself that I am in it.
Now, for some people, this may seem quite a strange concept. The inevitable question is: how could you not know that you were on the rebound?
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Well, the answer is easy enough. I just never thought about it. I simply lived with a kind of go with the flow mentality that led me easily from one relationship to another from the age of fifteen.
I am sure I am not alone in this. More than likely, there are many, who just never seem to be out of a relationship or out of the dating experience.
Of course, there are some people who might say, “Hold up, D! I know you were single from years XXXX to YYYY! I was there listening to you complain!”
And while that may be technically true, i.e. that I was not in an established relationship, I was most definitely casually or seriously dating on a regular basis in between and complaining about those dating experiences…and not my last relationship. 😉
The other day, I was talking with my friend, V. about being single. V. is about eleven years younger than I am and told me that since he had started his dating life, he had spent more time being legitimately single than not. His words gave me a serious pause for thought…especially as I was just about to head out the door to what could be seen as a–oh, I don’t know–date.
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His words acted like a very loud warning bell, stating oh so clearly, that I needed to back up and think about what I was about to get myself into! (Thanks, V.!)
Seriously, if I were to add up all the times when I was not in a relationship and not dating in any fashion between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five, I think I would come up with less than five years (and that figure is really generous on my part).
Five years of being single out of twenty years is really not a great deal of time. Not only was I operating on a permanent rebound status, I was also not being fair to the people who dated me, either casually or seriously.
Even more importantly, I wasn’t being fair to myself. I wasn’t allowing myself to heal and to learn lessons from my experiences, so that I could make better choices moving forward–not that I am not grateful for everyone and all the experiences I have had.
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Still, it would have been far better for me and for those who had been involved with me had I waited and sorted through the feelings that can emerge when a relationship ends, such as sadness, fear, anger, jealousy, envy, guilt, shame, and that general sense of abbandonment (even if I had been the one to end the relationship).
Instead, I found myself in many emotional tug of wars. However, I was the one working both sides of the rope, attempting to pull people closer to me when they seemed too far away from me at one moment, only to pull them far away from me when they seemed too close to me in the next moment.
After my conversation with V. and subsequently my therapist (yes, I have started therapy again ), I began asking myself why was it that I hadn’t chosen to remain single for long periods of time.
Certainly, some might imagine that it would be an issue of fearing being alone…but anyone who knows me would easily refute that. I love being alone, even in a relationship. Furthermore, I rarely experience loneliness.
Seriously, I really enjoy solitude. 🙂
Julie Andrews, Sound of Music. Image Found: TheAge.com
Perhaps I thought that that was what ought to be doing, i.e. dating and “moving on with my life.” You know, gallivanting in meadow with the magical spring weather that forces you to embrace the warmth of new love…or something like that.
I am of the mindset that it is more than likely this.
Perhaps it was an effort to “reset” my last experience, which oftentimes enough had provoked some kind of painful emotional response. Thus, being with someone new was a lesson that intimacy wasn’t something to be feared–remember, I really like my own company and so it is easy for me to isolate.
Well, the point is that I am embarking on a journey to understand this experience of being on the rebound and also working through it. Thus, when the time comes for me to actually have another relationship, I will be better able to understand what I want from it and what I can give it.
If you are like me or the contrary to me (actively staying away from dating and relationships), then taking a moment to pause for thought on this subject might not be such a terrible idea. 😉
Until Next Time,