Countless times in life we will experience being hurt by another. Whether by friend, family, a lover, or even a stranger, we will find ourselves at the receiving end of some pain. This comes in many forms but I’m focusing on that pain which comes from intimate/romantic relationships. In the wake of heartbreak we can frequently find ourselves hurt to such a degree that we feel it impossible to forgive, forget or any other sort of letting go. The pain seems too big, too deep or too familiar to even consider a world where it wouldn’t exist, I get it.
Sometimes the way in which we move past these hurts takes a shape we could not expect. It’s said that “time heals all wounds” but sometimes those wounds are healed with time AND our own introspection, time AND the renewal of past interests or activities, time AND meeting someone new. This leads me to the concept of re-integrating into the dating world and that first relationship. This can be a scary thing, dating, and especially given the state of the world (hello COVID, kissing is now a questionable thing…?), and the pressures put upon us by both our own minds, and then the opinions of well-meaning family and friends.
Let’s talk about that someone new and the term “rebound”. Frequently the “rebound” is painted in quite a negative light, but there is a missing piece in that judgement, context. Rebound relationships are often seen (by others) as “trivial” or “not serious”, and a way in which for someone to simply experience a new person in an attempt to get over the previous. While it’s not unheard of by any means for the first relationship post breakup to perhaps be a tool in healing, I don’t believe that’s always the case.
If someone has been in relationship and exited, eventually they will move on to date again, and that will not always make their next dating scenario meaningless. If, post breakup, someone has done the work to examine the past, taken their appropriate amount of responsibility, grieved the loss of the relationship, attempted to see where they want their future to go and the next relationship to look like, then it’s perfectly reasonable for one to embark on a new relationship with joy, certainty and without feeling the need to downplay the validity of the new experience, or pretend as if the new person is simply a “stepping stone” to the person who can actually mean something special.
I think those who look at the new relationship of a friend or family member with judgement and criticism are often times clearly showcasing their own beliefs and previous experiences, rather than looking at the best interest of a friend. Perhaps they were met with the same pessimistic views when they attempted to start dating again after a breakup. Maybe they feel the “post breakup period” should be a set amount of time because others told them this. Many times people are told to “explore their options” and that they would be “settling” if they chose “the first person they crossed paths with”. Whatever the case may be, it can easily make someone feel as though they are being treated like a child. As if they are somehow not a full grown adult who is capable of making their own informed decisions. Instead of judging our friends/family, we should ask ourselves why we feel the need to dictate their decision making, timelines, or feelings. Are we truly looking at their best interests? Perhaps we’re clinging to their relationship with us and we don’t want to feel like we are losing them to another person. Maybe we believe we know what is best for their heart and their healing, but can we truly? Should we ever think so egotistically, that we believe we could better know what someone’s heart and head actually want? No. We can only govern and understand our own mind, body and spirit. Embrace your friend or family member and allow them to be joyful. Give them support and friendship, without projections or judgement. Trust them to know what they need, and where/who to find it.