THE REBOUND LOGIC

Before we turn to the relationship that went wrong and start to investigate what it has to tell us, it may be a good idea to give ourselves an extra shot of motivation.

People say, “Life is tough, but I prefer it to the alternative.” A witty way of saying it’s not so hard to shoulder life’s load when you consider the other option. That’s also the case with examining the past. It’s a challenging thing to do: it requires honesty, courage, patience and fairness. But the alternative is much worse. If you don’t do it, you end up caught in a thing I call rebound logic. And that is the worst, most botched-up version of being governed by the past. It’s the way not to go. By seeing why, we’ll understand better what we’re trying to do. Our culture warns us about love on the rebound. “Don’t get involved with him,” they say, “he’s still reverberating from his last girl who dumped him.” The (correct) implication is, whatever happens between you and him won’t be real, because he’s still in the grip of the previous disaster.


When you’re on the rebound, your new relationship isn’t about itself; it’s about the old one. There are several ways this can happen, and they aren’t mutually exclusive.
Relief. You fall in love too fast, just to get relief from the pain; but your heart isn’t free, isn’t available yet, so the next person gets a bum deal.
Revenge. “I’ll show him,” you say about your ex. “He thinks I’m lovelorn and bereft; okay, I’ll get involved with a great guy and see how he likes that!”
So the fuel that drives the locomotive of love is not interest in the new person, but desire to show up the old one. Too bad for the great guy.
Any Port in a Storm. You choose a totally inappropriate object, just to have love happening again. You get it on with the next interested guy who appears, even though you have nothing in common with him and don’t even like the way he kisses. Hasty Diagnosis. You misidentify the factors that made the last relationship sicken and die, and armed with that false vaccine, you set out to avoid the same infection in the future—and you walk right into it.

We have already looked at two forms of this mistake. One was the wounded ego’s message, “You loved and look what it did: it got you hurt and got me insulted. The pathogen was love. So let’s avoid that.” The result is future relationships ruined by being too well defended—a state of permanent rebound.
Case two was the victim of cheating. Because dishonesty and leaving characterized the last guy, she sets out to find someone who is wearing a sign saying “Honest” or a sign saying “Won’t leave”. Or she fixates on accidental features of the ex, and looks for their opposites in the next dude.
Flight from the Truth. The new relationship is used as a way of running from, hiding from, the implications of the old one. A way to avoid realizing what just happened to you.
Now we’re at the crux of the matter. You take one glance at the past and it’s too scary. The truth about what went wrong is complicated and facing it would involve really looking at the problems of you and him—and worse than that, of love. That’s right, we want to hang on to our romantic ideals, our fairy-tale illusions; so we tell ourselves “that wasn’t love; it doesn’t count. But this new one will be.”
So we plunge into a new relationship, not because we are paying attention to the past, but to avoid listening to it. We use the new relationship as a distraction. But that just means we won’t be able to honor it.
The new, “rebound” relationship gets short shrift. It is rendered unreal by the feared, hated, misperceived reality of the old relationship. Your past is trying to tell you something. But you’re not listening. It’s like a face at your window, seen in the night, and you ran from it and hid in the closet, when it was really a neighbor trying to tell you that a fire was coming. Playing the Blame Game Badly. When we can’t deal with the
real story, we oversimplify it. This is never more true than when it’s time to hand out blame. It’s much easier to say “It was all his fault” or “It was all my fault” than to say, “okay, we each screwed up in various ways, and we even screwed up as a team.”

But blaming your partner for everything is rebound logic. It exaggerates the destructive power of the other gender.


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