The Rebound Year

by mssinglemama on July 25, 2008

After I left my ex-husband I wanted a new one. Immediately.

I had been craving intimacy with him for two years and I was finally free to find it…with anyone. I was so blinded by my own desperation that I would check every man’s left ring finger… no matter who they were. I just wanted someone. Pizza deliver drivers, mailmen, waiters, old men, young men – didn’t matter.

My friends, family and co-workers would patiently listen as I ran through play by plays of the words a crush had used in an e-mail or the phone tag we were playing. “He hasn’t called me back yet. Should I call him again anyway?” I was even annoying myself.

And then one of them, a single mom herself, gave me advice I didn’t want to hear.

“You’re not ready yet. Just listen to yourself. You need one year before you’ll actually be able to have a relationship.”

“No! No way! I am not crazy. And I am ready. I can’t wait that long!”

I rationalized it, made excuses for myself and kept dating anyway. But, she was right, none of my little flings or mini-relationships turned out. I would overreact or fall too deeply too quickly – unable to see things clearly. Remember the biker?

But every rebounder must rebound…so here are some post-divorce dating tips:

  • You probably aren’t ready. Accept it and you may avoid hurting yourself or someone else.
  • Be friends first. Take it as slow as you can.
  • Focus on yourself and on the kids.
  • Start a journal or a blog, don’t bore your friends to death with your dating stories.

And please don’t shoot the messenger. I remember exactly how you’re feeling and yes, that feeling of loneliness is so incredibly painful … but your year will be over before you know it.

Here’s another great article on dating after divorce.

More of my post-divorce dating posts you might like:

Related posts:

  1. E-Harmony Really Does Suck: Worst web site of the year by Time Magazine
  2. The Single Mama Stud of the Year award goes too…
  3. To find a prince you might have to kiss a lot of frogs.
  4. How to date the childless.

{ 4 trackbacks }

Single Minded Women » Blog Archive » Single Moms you can get Your Boyfriend’s Kids to Tolerate you…maybe even like you!
July 27, 2008 at 9:29 am
How Do I Get Over My Ex?
October 15, 2008 at 7:12 pm
Single Moms Dating Fear
April 30, 2010 at 10:06 am
PerfectDateNow.info - A gift for you.
April 9, 2012 at 10:09 am

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie July 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Just spend some time taking care of you. We give so much of ourselves as single moms, to our children, our career, our family and friends that we somtimes forget our most important relationship. The one with ourselves. Give yourself that time to get to know you and what you are truly looking for in a mate. It took me about a year after splitting with my ex to find my wonderful boyfriend. I dated, sure but nothing ever came of it. I went in a little unsure but towards the end my family and friends would tease me because after two weeks of dating someone I was usually done. I just really knew by then what my dealbreakers were and what kind of relationship I needed and the type of guy I needed it with. Things aren’t perfect right now, because nothing ever is, but it is pretty darn close.

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mssinglemama July 25, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Katie – that’s really, really good advice.

That’s funny they teased you for ditching them so quickly! My family teased me for dating men who were completely wrong for me (I had major rebound blinders). So did you avoid rebound lust and love all together? Smart girl.

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Katie July 25, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Yeah, I wasn’t going to fall for anyone or their b.s.. I had pretty much given up on guys all together right around the time I met my bf. And while at first, he wasn’t really what I would call my type, now I love him like crazy.

Lol, I was Ms. Two Weeks and my cousin was the Third Date Wonder.

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jenn3 July 25, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Good advice. I’ve been a single parent for my daughter’s whole life (almost two years) but I just officially got divorced about three months ago. I suppose some people would say it’s okay to date now, because we’ve been apart so long, but I know I’m not ready. I need to focus on figuring out what I would want in a relationship and on my daughter right now. I wouldn’t have time to date if I wanted to!

Of course, I still find myself checking every guy’s left ring finger, just out of curiousity, or habit, or just in case, or something….

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Single Mom in New England July 25, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Thanks for the relevant post! I filed for divorce over 2.5 years ago. I thought I was ready to date, and have been seeing a wonderful man, but now I’m really vacillating emotionally about him, especially since I have a firm court date coming up soon. (finally, thank God) I don’t know if the reason I’m cooling off towards him is because my divorce could be final soon, or if I just wasn’t into him, or I just wasn’t ready to let him in emotionally . (He wants to move towards a future with me)

I’ve continued seeing him because good men are hard to find. However, I think I am fine dating, just not settling down with another man for good quite yet, no matter how good he is.

One thing I am sure of, is that I don’t want to settle the next time around! Hope that makes sense. Thanks for the link to the other article too – it was insightful.

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Oakland Mama July 25, 2008 at 11:59 pm

You must have somehow known that this was the post I needed to read today. This is everything I’ve been feeling – the desperate need for intimacy and longing for a relationship. It’s hard to hear, but thank you for saying it.

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Jim Everson (Depot Dad) July 26, 2008 at 12:35 am

MsSingleMama may be right. But I’ll say this. It’s a bitter pill. I mean, I’ve already fought and barely conquered despair during the marriage, and now MsSingleMama, like many others around me, is telling me that the loneliness I’m feeling (after being out of my marriage for 4 months) is my next one year reality? Great. What comes the following year, rabies? I feel like I’ve already expended years of effort with no reward. Frankly, I’d like to see a little sunlight. I’m not anxious to get back into something serious, but I sure am interested in spending time with great women who can remind me that it doesn’t always have to lead to grief and drama. The irony, of course, is that if I look around me, I’ve already left several little wakes of destruction in spite of my best intentions. And this little rant is probably even more evidence of my raw state of mind. Yes, I’ll admit that the hardest thing for me is that, while I instinctively knew how to fight despair (unrelenting effort and thousands of baby steps), when it comes to loneliness, I’m not really sure how to proceed. Clearly it isn’t something that can be fought off. It more like having to sit next to a smelly person on a bus. You just have to endure it. And that is something that I’m simply not very good at. It is not a comfortable companion, nor am I very excited about respecting it. And by respecting it, I mean admitting it. So do you think it is wrong to date, light heartedly, and with perspective, if it helps to alleviate the discomfort, not to mention, pass the time? Am I guaranteed to f’ up every dating situation for the next 12 months?

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Ms. Single Mama July 26, 2008 at 7:19 am

Capital – ; ) I’m so glad it helped.

Jim – Yes, you can date. But it won’t be easy, for some of us it’s better just to wait until we have a clearer head.

Recovering from a divorce is like recovering from a death in the family. Especially if you’ve been married for as long as you were – 8 years, right? – so … it takes time to heal. And this year will be what you make of it. It can be filled with fun and good times with the kids, self-healing and all of that or you can throw in dating – which I did – it just makes it harder. But once that year is over – it won’t be rabies – it will be AWESOME and you’ll completely understand what I’m saying.

Really liked the smelly bus passenger analogy.

New England – yep, maybe he was your rebound? Is that what you’re thinking? Congratulations on the soon to be final divorce – finally! Must feel great.

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Single Mom in New England July 26, 2008 at 8:48 am

Hi Jim – don’t despair – I don’t think there is any hard and fast rule about dating during the year after your divorce. Although most people say wait, there are some people that can manage it, and actually have a darn good time. (That’s the point of dating, right?) Every person’s situation is so different – It’s that old adage – don’t judge a person ’til you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It sounds to me like you’re ready to date, so I say, YES you can date – get out there and live it up a little – you deserve it!

My therapist said that there are two things you owe the people you date during this period: honesty and kindness. I’ve been brutally honest with the man I’ve been dating to let him know how I’m feeling every step of the way. It’s been his decision to stay with me even though it’s clear I’m not sure how I feel about him. We have both had a lot of fun and if we break up, hopefully neither one of us will regret the time we’ve spent together. He’s 49 and I’m 39 – we’re a little too old to play games, and neither one of us wants to make a marriage mistake again.

MSM – I am in the process of examining my relationship with him. And this may continue after my divorce is final (and he knows this). Because to be honest, I really don’t know if he’s my rebound man, or if he just isn’t THE ONE. And next time around, I won’t settle for less than a soulmate to marry!

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mssinglemama July 26, 2008 at 11:43 am

New England – that is wonderful advice!

And yes, I should have made this more apparent in my post – you absolutely CAN date. I did and had a lot of fun. BUT, I also had a really, really hard time because I thought I wanted a relationship so badly … but in reality, I wasn’t ready.

Honesty is the best. But first you have to be able to be honest with yourself and give yourself the time you need to heal. This has to come before you can have a successful relationship. Does that make sense?

You can date. But … at your own risk because you might also get hurt. If you come across a great guy, like you did New England, then you can enjoy it and relax.

So yes, no hard and fast rules at all.

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J-Fo July 26, 2008 at 1:18 pm

I’m going to chime in, mostly because I love to chatter…and I love this blog! My ex left me about 2 seconds into the pregnancy, so I had pretty much 9 months to let the whole “you’ve been left” thing set in. And then, once my daughter was born, the first few months were just craziness of learning how in the H to be a mom.

When my daughter was about 3 1/2 months old, I met someone. We dated for about two years, and just broke up about a month ago.

We had quite a lot of ups and downs during that timeframe, some of which was his stuff…but I’m sure lots of which was, perhaps, because I really wasn’t ready to plunge into a big relationship at that point.

Now, a month since the breakup…I can honestly tell you that I’ve not felt happier with MYSELF and my parenting and my life in general in a long time, probably in forever. I think I’ve just gone from guy to guy to guy for so long. This is really the first time I’ve got the time and energy to, well, just love me for a while. And my daughter, of course. I’ve never felt more enthusiastic about the future, which is funny since it really is so up in the air.

I guess my point is…I’ve done the whole racing off to find the one who’s going to save me thing, and what I’m finding is that, for me, doing the opposite is actually what’s saving me!

And I’m thinking more and more that, when the right guy does come along…I’m really going to be ready!

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laurakim123 July 26, 2008 at 2:01 pm

WOW I can SOOOO relate to this post!!!

I did ALL of this – I actually launched into a year long r/ship the day after I left my ex! It was STUPID and I hurt him! But your friend was right – it took me a year to heal and be ready! LOL the problem is now I am ready but noone else is!

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T July 27, 2008 at 11:39 am

Wow. I love this post and the comments that followed.

I craved intimacy for so long during the final part of my marriage. I was desperate to feel it again after we split. I did try the friends with benefits thing too and realized I was falling for my friend. I nearly lost the friendship in the meantime.

It wasn’t until I realized that I was trying to force a relationship to appear in my life, when I decided that I just needed to focus on myself and my children, when I decided to enjoy being single, that’s when my soldier appeared in my life. I did fall hard and fast and then he was deployed.

I’ve spent this entire deployment learning more about myself. I’m still learning! I’ve always said the best way to learn WHO YOU ARE is in relation with someone else. So, my someone else is 6000 miles away. I am learning to be independent and enjoy that feeling of wanting someone in my life instead of needing someone in my life. Maybe that’s what that first year post-marriage is all about?

Thanks again, MSM for your wonderful insights!

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J July 29, 2008 at 8:15 am

Rebound relationships hurt both yourself and the person you ‘take it out on.. I was married 23 years and most of the years I wished for a reconnection with my High School Sweetheart, searched the world over for him and found him at the end of my marriage. I moved swiftly into this relationship with my HS Sweety only to discover I once again settled for someone because of my fantasy ideal, not the real deal of what I wanted or needed. I do love him deeply but he himself has more problems then you can shake a stick at and I.. well I just wanted more, finally after 2.5 years of struggling through this relationship we broke it off. Very painful, as not only the death of yet another relationship took place, but I spent a lot of time wasting both of our time. I feel, if i was in a better place in my mind, heart, and soul I may have never took one step in his direction (he has major problems with addictions) but I put blinders on because I WANTED, NEEDED someone in my life right away to fill up that space, to take away the pain.. WRONG.. We are recently broken up and I miss him.. because I am scared of being alone.. but I promised myself that I WILL not settle for anything less then I deserve, or anyone less then my children deserve. A new person came into my life, a single Dad who spent the last few years getting to know himself and he has been interested in me for a long time.. but, I will not move forward on this because I don’t want to go from man, to man.. etc.. just to not be alone.. if he is really interested in me, I say.. he will be patient for 6 months or more until I can figure out that I don’t NEED a man. I also don’t want to drag someone into my web of emotions at this point.. as I never took the time to grieve the loss of my first marriage.

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davidrochester July 30, 2008 at 11:18 am

Even without divorce, a 1-year dating moratorium is a good idea after getting out of a significant relationship. I have to say … it baffles me as to why people find this so difficult to do. I suppose this is one of the only benefits of being naturally introverted; I have no problem at all with being alone. I do have a problem with being celibate, but … that’s a different issue.

However, I do tend to think that people who are desperate for intimacy after a relationship simply haven’t spent enough time getting to know themselves, and/or they’re buying into society’s perception that single people are somehow lacking or defective … whereas my perception is that putting a lot of emotional energy into a dead end is defective. :-)

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PT-LawMom October 16, 2008 at 7:38 pm

UGH, I am so with Jim on this. But I hear what you’re saying.

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