Ask Wendy

Am I the Rebound?

Reprinted from February 17, 2016
Hey Wendy,

I am starting to get the feeling I will be the rebound for the man I am dating right now. Do I stay or go?

Vanna E. - Portland, OR

Hey Vanna,

I’m sorry! And good job catching this early instead of trying to convince yourself otherwise. We’re usually not eyes-wide-open about this stuff.

So…should you stay or should you go? This question is not for me—it’s for you. You know you can move on to what’s next if need be; that’s a given. But can you stay and have something mutually beneficial and life-enriching with him? Can you afford to take the hit to your heart, give up the time on your calendar, and put your energy into him instead of someone else who really wants to stick around? A few of my 121 first dates were rebounding so I’ve had the experience of both walking and staying, and I didn’t regret either, but each were intentional decisions.

If you stay, you might use the opportunity to practice being yourself. Dial your self-expression up to one hundred percent. Practice asking for things you need, want, and desire even if you think he won’t give them to you. Being on the receiving end of a rebound can be a prime opportunity to sharpen these skills because when we’re dating someone we’re hoping to “catch” for a stable relationship, we often don’t ask for everything we most desire for fear of scaring them away. What have you got to lose?

If you stay, don’t be your own best con artist by employing magical thinking that this relationship is going to lead somewhere long-term if you just hang out long enough being the perfect right-now girlfriend. It has nothing to do with how hard you try, and everything to do with where his head’s at.

If you stay, be willing for it to end—possibly before you are ready for him to go.

And if you stay, don’t beat yourself up if when he leaves you, he marries the next one who comes along. That’s not even remotely on you—that’s the nature of the rebound. The committed relationship usually follows the rebound; it’s kind of a law of nature.

Think of it this way: When you met him, he was likely in a dark place. You came along and brought sunlight, good conversation, probably really great blowjobs, and one other very special ingredient: you brought him hope. You, my love, were the ladder that dropped down into that deep hole he was in so that he could rejoin the world. He used the ladder (you) to climb out of the well. Almost every time a guy emerges from the well, it doesn’t occur to him to take the ladder with him. It sucks being someone’s ladder, but you’ve probably used a guy for a leg up out of a post-relationship pit sometime in the past, right?

What you get out of this situation depends on your expectations.

Happy dating!

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