October 11, 2013

Singles take Warning: Rebounds Get Boring

Gary Thomas — 

I see it all the time. A woman comes off a relationship with a jerk or insensitive man who broke her heart, left her weeping in a mess on the floor, and then she comes across a somewhat boring but nice, stable Christian man and decides to marry him on the spot.

A guy suffers through a relationship with a woman who causes him nothing but grief, constantly alternating between hot and cold in her affections for him, then finally dumps him, so he finds a woman who seems supremely grateful for his attention, who is the very picture of loyalty, and he asks her to marry him, even though he’s already rather bored with her. At least she’s not humiliating him.

A tell-tale sign for when people are marrying on the rebound is that they usually apologize for it: “He’s not the kind of guy I’m normally attracted to, but…” “She’s not the type of girl I typically dated, but now I think…”

Friends, if you have to explain or apologize for your attraction and commitment, that’s a problem.

Here’s why I’ll usually ask these couples to wait before they get married: rebound relationships get boring. For the first two years, you’re so thankful that you’re not being treated like you used to be treated. You’re grateful, because you can still vividly remember the past hurt and pain, and you’re so thankful that you’re married to someone who is so different from the man or woman who hurt you.

But at about 2 years, your memories of the past hurt will start to fade; the pain won’t feel quite so intense, the tears you cried may even start to feel like an “overreaction” and silly. Now you live with the present reality of a man or woman that you probably never would have been attracted to had you not been crushed before meeting them. You forget the dysfunction of the previous relationship, but you’re constantly reminded of what your current relationship lacks.

This guy or woman may not treat you like the former one did, but they also don’t measure up to that former partner in other ways. That’s when the frustration builds. You get farther and farther away from the past hurt, and are reminded day after day of the present frustration.

How do singles avoid this?

Don’t choose someone because they’re unlike the last person who broke your heart; choose someone because they’re like Christ. Make your marital decision based on what someone is, not what someone is not. And if you feel like you have to apologize to a pastor or counselor the first time you meet them, trying to explain why you’re in this relationship, that’s not just a red flag. That’s a street barricade.

In the premarital phase, you should be proud of the one you’ve chosen to spend your life with. If you’re not, you may be in a rebound relationship that will satisfy you for about two years, and then frustrate you for the rest of your life.

[photo: Creative Commons, julien haler]

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6 responses to Singles take Warning: Rebounds Get Boring

  1. Well, my ex broke up with me four months ago when i moved to my country and within 3 weeks after break up,he moved on with his neigbhor who was engaged to someone else,and she left the other person for my exbf. The same day of break up, my old school friend started dating me but this is long distance relationship since we were in different countries but very close tho, but we only met once in those four months.Currently i am back in their country for studies but still we dont meet because he works in an other state. As we are speaking now, i feel like dont even want to see my current boyfriend’s text or name in my eyes. i really feel bored with him and i want to say good bye. He is a bad communicator and he does not give me enough care.I think i used him as a rebound and i feel bad for that. I cant force love for sure. Meanwhile, my ex’s current bf always text me ask if i still talk to him or things like that showing that she is totally insecure. My ex told her that he does not talk to me while he always tell me that he misses me a lot and he comes to see me sometimes.
    What confuses me most, is that my ex and my current know each other and my current started dating me just the same day after break up. I guessed they are talking behind my back, but when i asked both of them if they talk, they all said no.I still have strong feelings for my ex and i am feeling really bored with my current relationship, and this bf shows me that he is serious with me and he is committed but i dont trust him at all. I dont even feel him.I fell like i want to say good bye to him not to continue wasting his time.The other side of my heart tells me that its because we didnt spend time together or share anything together so far.I dont know if i can be patient and see if things will improve or just leave him for our goods. Please i know this sounds crazy of me, but i need your advice.
    Thank you

  2. I agree with the unhealthiness of rebound relationships, and the wisdom you’ve expounded here. But one word of caution: often dysfunctional, unhealthy relationships can be very “exciting”, for all the wrong reasons. Whereas a relationship with a more emotionally healthy, dependable, faithful, stable person can feel “boring”. Especially singles from abusive pasts need to be careful they’re not rejecting good, solid prospects because they’re not “exciting” enough. That may actually be exactly what they need. And I think any long-term relationship can get boring…the answer isn’t that you are with the wrong person, just that you need to continually work to keep your marriage fresh and interesting. Just my two cents, based on things I’ve read and my own history. Hope I’m not misrepresenting what you’ve said, but offering another perspective.

  3. Amen Gary. “Anyone” who dabbles in affairs shows a sign of disrespect for themselves and anyone else for that matter. All these single available people in the world and people act like they just have to get with someone who is already taken. People reap what they sow, get karma, what goes around comes around or however people want to phrase it does happen and it is generally a lot worse than what was put out there in the atmosphere. If is willing to cheat on his wife and children baby girl he will do the same to you. That man has no morals NOR fear of God which means he is a complete tool for Satan and people like that only continue to continue in sinful abominable behavior. Besides that I’m sure if you did eventually marry, you would want another woman entertaining your husband just because your going through a ruff patch. But if you did that would be I guess what you deserve since you didn’t care about doing it to another woman. All your doing is showing him how desperate & lonely you are and he underneath it all don’t have respect for you as a woman because if he did he wouldn’t be trying to get you to be his “side-piece” while still in the house with his wife and children.

  4. This happened to my ex boyfriend. We met 20 years ago when he was here in the States for business. I was in the middle of divorcing my abusive/controlling/narcissist husband and father of my 3 year old. We fell in love and he wanted to marry me. I was scared of moving to another country where I didn’t speak the language; my self esteem was in the negative; I financially supported my mother; I was in dept up to my ears; my ex was suing me for custody and threatened to take my son away if I moved over seas; I felt I had the world on my shoulders and was being pulled in so many different directions … I couldn’t make a sound decision if my life depended on it …. so I broke it off. He never pursued me but periodically kept in touch to let me know he found someone who made him happy and again when he married. Why he did this, I don’t know. It killed me to let him go and I’ve missed him for 20 years.

    Recently we found each other on FB. It started out just friendly, but he soon started bringing up the past. It did not take long before we both declared that we had neither one had stopped loving the other. I wrote him once stating that you must love your wife, since he married her. He wrote back that he was embarrassed to explain the details, but “you understand when you are with someone but you are always thinking of someone else.”

    The present situation, he is still married with two teenagers and I am single. We have met on two different occasions. It was magical!! He told his wife he wanted a divorce (he had been unhappy for many years prior to being in contact with me and also had confessed to me that he had been trying to find me for over 10 years) and we started making plans to finally be together …. then in an instant he broke it off.

    I know he loves me and I know his wife is using the kids and guilt to keep him from leaving her. He is a very sensitive soul and it would kill him to hurt his kids. So he is trying to make it work with a woman he does not truly love. And my heart is shattered.

    • Mary, with all due respect, I wouldn’t call those two meetings “magical.” He’s married. If you love him in the way the Bible defines love, you’ll stop contacting him and not respond when he contacts you. I hope you won’t try to pull him away from his wife and his teenagers, even if he seems willing. Many marriages go through difficult, dry times. That doesn’t excuse an affair. I pray you’ll stop this one right here, before it goes any further.

  5. Thank you so much for this!
    My husband started dating a woman while we were in a difficult part of our 12 year marriage. He then divorced me and ignored me asking him to pray and seek God, but he didn’t and married her once our divorce was finalized. I’m so grateful for your post, as it sheds light into what is still coming for him and makes my agony and grief a little easier to bare. Thank you.