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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, December 15, 2006

The rules of rebounding: DON'T DO IT!


If you do, you are officially a rebound. You do not want to be a rebound. Rebounds are like new oil or air filters. They are there to catch the crap.

I just heard from a good buddy who has been in love with a woman for years - a woman he became friends with right after her troubled marriage failed, a woman who might easily have lost her job and been on the street if he hadn't been so generous with financial help, a woman he listened to for hours on end, days on end, weeks on end, months on end, as she cried - literally and figuratively - over her naughty ex and the condition he left her and her kids in emotionally and financially, a woman who told him he meant the world to her, but who never quite got around to treating him like anything but a protective sibling.

My buddy just heard from this woman that she has a new boyfriend.

The problem with becoming the rebound is you are unwitting therapy to the recently broken up person. They will work out all the kinks on you, whether they mean to or not. And when they've finally got their heads and hearts right, thanks in large part to your devotion, they will promptly put themselves back on the market leaving you stunned and suddenly realizing that they were never with you, that they had been off the market from the time they broke up with the ex to the time they decided they were "healed." You were a stop gap measure.

To be fair, this woman did not stick a gun to my buddy's head. But she didn't turn him away either.

I feel bad for my buddy. He gave his heart and soul (and wallet) to this woman for years - easily more than five years. He's a grown man. You can argue he should have seen the signs, but we all know that love is blind...and sometimes deaf and mute. He's a good guy, pure heart. But man, I can't emphasize how much this rebound thing was starting to write itself on the wall.

He'll be OK, 'cause he is genuinely good, and in spite of all the clichéd complaints about women only loving bad boys, there are still women out there who appreciate a good, easygoing dude. But for now, this has to hurt.

This is like those anti-drug campaigns. Please do yourselves a favor: DON'T BE A REBOUND.

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  • that is harsh. 5 years? ouch. I hope your friend finds someone that deserves him.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 10:48 AM  

  • I think the unfortunate issue here from a dating perspective was his availability. He definitely earned points for being supportive and being there every time she needed someone, but in the dating field of battle, somehow it always seems to end up that the warm sensitive nice guy who's always available just ends up being that nice guy who doesn't get the girl. That pursuit element, that hot factor is pre-empted when the guy plays that role. I'm not saying it's right, but it's how I've seen it play out time and time again.

    But regardless of that, your message will always hold true: don't be the rebound.

    and btw, Roll Call!

    By Anonymous Dating Dummy, at 10:56 AM  

  • DD, you are correct, I know. But it still sucks. Again, it's a cliche, but prior to meeting my wife, settling down, etc., I can honestly say I made more female "friends" when I was being abrasive than I did when I was just being Average Joe Nice Guy.

    And Claudia, he'll find someone. Now, the shame is 'cause he's been emotionally screwed the next woman he meets could end up being a rebound to him.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:09 AM  

  • I had a rebound marriage...and a rebound divorce.

    By Anonymous mist1, at 11:42 AM  

  • Dude that sucks to say the least. I have been in your friends shoes more than once and cliche or not have to agree both parts do seem to be quite true.(avoid the rebound AND women gravitate towards the bad boy). Wow, 5 years though. I would have thought at some point there had to be a statute of limitations on the rebound rule, and thought it would be much less than 5 years but maybe I was wrong. Good luck to your friend.


    By Blogger briliantdonkey, at 12:07 PM  

  • James:

    On another note, just an FYI. You typed emphasis when I think you meant emphasize. I am sure working for a newspaper you get more than enough 'correcting' at work, and hope this doesn't trigger some 'kill the editor' reflex but thought you would like to know.


    By Blogger briliantdonkey, at 12:12 PM  

  • I just hope he doesn't turn into a bad boy thinking it's something we prefer.

    By Blogger Winter, at 12:26 PM  

  • sad as it is, he may not realize it now, but he is better off in the long run. she doesn't have a new boyfriend, she has a new guy to use! don't give up on love!

    By Blogger acaligurl, at 12:32 PM  

  • I am soooo sorry that your friend has gone through such a tough situation. That really, really sucks. On the up side, maybe this will keep him from ever getting into a situation like this again.

    Also, I agree about the availability to a certain extent, but I disagree that that automatically makes someone unattractive. It's not the lack of pursuit so much as lack of self-respect that has to be a component of an unfulfilling relationship. If someone is willing to stick around in the hope that someone will eventually see how awesome they are, on some level, they must not think they're awesome enough to get what they want NOW. I think that comes through in some way, and no one likes to be someone else's self-esteem. Perhaps a lot of his was tied up in how she felt about him, instead of how he felt about himself.

    By Blogger bc, at 1:03 PM  

  • I would agree with you until life proved me otherwise. My wife was my first relationship after my divorce. If you are mature enough to understand why things happened before and communicate openly, there's no reason to avoid a rebound. I'm glad she didn't read your post!

    That's different than not realizing somebody is using you, not pulling their weight in the relationship and being taken advantage of. All that can happen rebound or no rebound.

    By Anonymous Alex, at 1:27 PM  

  • She used sad. And it's so easy to do, and have done to you.

    So many people don't realize that you have to be COMPLETE ALREADY before beginning a relationship with someone - and not look for someone to "complete you." And there are so many nice men, ready and willing to "save the damsel," not realizing that once she's fixed, she won't need a hero.

    After any long relationship - best to let that person have some space, to help them redefine their lives. Poor guy!

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 1:34 PM  

  • been there done the t-shirt and gave it to someone else....

    I feel for your bud....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:39 PM  

  • I see you Miami people don't know squat about rebounding. You need me.

    By Anonymous Alan Iverson, at 2:06 PM  

  • Briliant, no offense taken. I've corrected it. Only time I've ever wanted to kill the editor, so to speak, is when he/she bumped me off the front page for a story on a baked potato that looked like Jesus or a juggling poodle or something.

    Kidding. That's never happened. As the kids say, it's all good.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:10 PM  

  • You were a stop gap measure.

    what a great analogy. seriously. and you know whats sad? is being the one that loves the hurt person and finding no way to not be the rebound.

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 3:14 PM  

  • i actually think I might have been a seven-year rebound. my name is doormat.

    By Blogger Matt, at 3:21 PM  

  • Easier said than done, James. As you said. Love is blind.

    By Anonymous The Sarcasticynic, at 5:00 PM  

  • Sarc, I'm not preaching perfection. I've done this too - been the worse kind of rebound, the kind in denial and knowing deep down inside that the person I was dedicating myself too was just using me to heal.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 5:24 PM  

  • James,

    Really, really appreciate the advice and I'm sure it's meant well but if I catch ahold of any recently divorced women um all over that!


    By Blogger Matt, at 7:28 PM  

  • I feel for your friend. It's often difficult to think objectively on matters concerning the heart. In time, I'm sure he will bounce back.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 1:19 AM  

  • A 5 year rebound?
    That gives me pause in regards to both of their motives.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 1:45 AM  

  • I wound up marrying the first girl I started dating after I got divorced. I definitely rushed into the relationship and the first couple of years were rough for both of us, but we somehow worked it out and our relationship is great now.

    By Blogger captain corky, at 2:29 AM  

  • I was actually guilty of being the one who dropped the nice guy, but it only took me 6 months. Seems like I was ready to move on, and not only did he remind me of all the pain by being there, he didn't want to stop being the strong shoulder that I no longer needed.

    By Blogger wordsonwater, at 5:34 AM  

  • Matt, I suppose it's what you're after. I ain't mad at ya. You're single and apparently not ready to settle down, so if "warmth" is what you're seeking and nothing more, you're right. A recent divorcee might be a good bet for you.

    Mist, that sounds like a roller coaster.

    Briliant, there probably should be a statute of limitations.

    Winter, he says he's gonna turn into that guy. But I know better. Give him a few days to booze things over and a few months to meditate and reflect, and he'll hang on to his nice guy status.

    Acaligurl, good exhortation and good advice.

    BC, I've always wondered about that availability theory. I can't recall any woman I had a crush on wanting me after I started a relationship with another woman. Then again, maybe my mojo was weak.

    Alex and Capt., you guys are exceptions. That's pretty cool that your first time out the gate after divorce, you found your current spouses/significant others. Proof, I guess, that we can handle what we're mentally prepared for.

    Grizz, Yas, and Tiggerlane good words. I feel for the guy and anyone in that position. Seriously, it can make you bitter and jaded - a Jekyll and Hyde-like transformation.

    Anonymous, I have that t-shirt too.

    AI, here's to you joining the Heat soon.

    Pamela, I guess it would make me wonder if I didn't know the situation. I was friends with both of 'em. And I can tell you my guy was simply 110% devoted to this woman. Why is a better question. While she encouraged the attention, it never quite seemed like she felt as strongly as him. On the other hand, when he would exercise will power and try to show interest in other women - on the assumption his true love would never fully come around - she would get possessive and salty. So his motive: too much dedication to her. Her motive: not quite sure, but even now I'm not sure she started off intending to use him.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:24 AM  

  • btw James, we missed you on the roll call. How did you do with the workouts this week?

    By Anonymous Dating Dummy, at 11:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 1:51 PM  

  • James, your buddy sounds like a good guy that might've done himself a disservice. It sounds like he loved this woman both romantically and as a friend and that he would've supported her any way even if his feelings weren't requited, but did he ever truly declare these feelings? It would've been appropriate for him to assert these feelings after so much time, especially since it sounds like he gave her time to heal. Was this a case of bad timing and hesitation? Was she teasing him that much? Leading him on? I guess I'd want to know more. I mean it sounds like he was never really her boyfriend, but just a best friend who happens to be male, and she was in need, and he was willing to give unconditionally.

    Bottom line, I think, in any case when one is pursuing romantic love, is to get to a point where you know that person is not going to reciprocate and set up the boundaries to honor your own feelings. How else can he move on? This is a lesson for him to be more careful the next time. She "used" because he was giving freely.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 1:57 PM  

  • Hey James, I didn't realize your wife had surgery this week - I hope she's recovering well. We wish her the best.

    By Anonymous Dating Dummy, at 6:40 PM  

  • Your wife had surgery? Is she ok?

    By Blogger Claudia, at 10:04 PM  

  • thanks for the good thoughts. she's fine.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:26 PM  

  • Good, glad to hear it.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 11:44 PM  

  • I don't think I can even comment clearly on this topic because of my history and bitter feelings, so I'll just agree with you that if you can avoid being the rebound then avoid it like the plague.

    By Blogger Dre, at 7:56 PM  

  • I see there are those here who are unfamiliar with the "Ladder Theory" of male/female relationships. Please peruse at your leisure here--
    In the scenario laid out here by JB, his buddy has gone onto the "friend" ladder and will never get off. Pun intended.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 11:05 AM  

  • When people jumping on trampoline then they need to take care about to use of accessories because it can keep safe to human.

    By Anonymous jamesmockery, at 11:22 AM  

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