We were so into each other … but was I just a rebound?

We were so into each other … but was I just a rebound?

I was dating someone I met at work for three months at the end of last year. We met on a work conference and hit it off, then began flirting via email and catching up for lunches until hooking up after work over drinks. The next two months were incredible and the best I can remember with a girl. Our chemistry, banter, sex, laughter, desire to be with each other was sky high. We had exchanged ‘I love you’s’, discussed travelling together this year and even alluded to moving out together when our respective leases expired. So we got pretty serious, but both agreed it didn’t feel rushed because of the connection we had. Then her ex (they broke up 9 months prior) found out about us and was contacting her to say he wanted her back (she broke it off with him). Anyway, whenever he contacted her it would drastically affect her mood and she’d go from a bright, bubbly fun girl to being distant and withdrawn. She insisted she was over him, didn’t want to go back to him, that I wasn’t a rebound and that she was so happy we were together. Yet despite this, he seemed to control her life by contacting her repeatedly despite her telling him she didn’t want to be with him again. In the end it all became too much and I said I needed to walk away so she could figure out what she wants. I did this in the hope that my absence would cause her to see what effect this had on the awesome thing we had started. All it’s really done has sent her further into her shell to the point where I have emailed her just about general stuff and her Xmas/NY break, but have received nothing back. Do you think I actually was a rebound and that she only said those things and acted so in love to fill her hurt after the emptiness she’d felt from leaving her ex. Or that her sudden change of mood could mean she’s met someone else? I think the hardest part is not knowing WHY she retreated and changed so much, aside from her ex affecting her mood and her not being completely over him. Anon

We all do the rebound thing. It fills the void after a relationship demise, and helps connect us back to warmth, sex, closeness and other human beings after we think that part of us is closed forever. It feels great, but there are few women who would actually say ‘I love you,’ or allude to moving out with someone they consider a rebound. I’m guessing at the time, she really was having strong, committed feelings towards you. And you were a refreshing, fun tonic after a painful breakup. The problem with this fairytale is that she’s not over her ex. She’s really not. As much as she protests she doesn’t want to see him or be contacted by him, it’s pretty easy to get a mobile phone number changed. She could even move out and start afresh if she didn’t want him popping over uninvited. The fact is – she took his calls. She pressed ACCEPT when he called, talked to him and then went all quiet and distant afterwards. Huge red flags if you ask me. You really did do the right thing walking away from her and the drama. Although it must have been a very tough call, because it sounds like you really liked this girl and were planning for a bright future together. Her further retreat and silence when you emailed her to say hey, means one of a few things. She’s ) back with her ex; b) found a new bloke or c) not ready to take the relationship with you any further. I wish I had better news for you, because you sound super cool. Not knowing why something promising didn’t quite pan out is a mind-trip. Information helps us process break-ups. So if you want to know why, you’re going to have to try to approach her for a meet up and hear it from her directly. Ask the tough questions if you really want the answers. Was she really in love with you? Is she back with her ex? Where do you stand? Is it really over? If she seems like she’s still adrift in indecision, then cut her loose. Don’t make the mistake of getting sucked back into a relationship you’re not entirely happy with, with someone who’s not entirely happy.
Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Cody 6 years ago

    Well I’d like to post my story as well to see what everyone thinks. I’m not sure if I was a rebound or not, but part of me thinks I was. A brief history of my ex. She was with her ex for a total of 7 years (started dating at 19). They got married after 6 years together. They actually even had a child together. After 1 year of marriage my ex broke it off with her then husband. The guy was an asshole, treated her like shit, and eventually she had enough. He was an alcoholic and very controlling. Her family told me she always looked miserable. Well they split last March and we started talking last may. After weeks of talking we started hanging out and after a month we were dating. We were together for 8 months. By the 6 month mark we were telling each other we loved each other, we talked about a future and what we wanted. We were both on the same page. Everythi ng was good, we had a decent sex life, spent a lot of good time together. We were both very happy and even her family said that to me that she looked very happy. By January we moved in together *she had a house and my lease ended). It was actually her idea. I asked if it was too soon and she said that based on how well things were going she thought it would be just fine. (Keep in mind we both have a child as well). After almost 2 months living g together everything still seemed to be going as well as it did the first 6 months. She had a few times she acted distant and I asked her about it and she said she was sorry and that it was just that time of the month. Well at the end of Feb she randomly told me she needed to talk. She told me she wanted to breakup because she was messed up and didn’t know what she wanted. She said she wasn’t sure because her ex of 7 years was the EXACT opposite which is true. He was controlling and an asshole, and I’d like to say I’m more laid back and (the nice guy). She said she needed time to think. So I gave her space. After two weeks I told her that at some point I wanted closure so if she did decide she didn’t want to be together than why? Only took two days after that and she told me she didn’t see a future together. That I may be “too laid back” as she stated. Then she rambled off a bunch of small small things that should never be a deal breaker in a relationship.(almost sounded like she said those things to help herself justify the breakup, idk?) She then said there was no excitement and it felt like we we re going thru the motions. Not one of these things were ever brought up during the relationship so I was totally thrown off guard. I haven’t talked to her now for about a month or so. I guess im.confused as to what happened?? Two weeks prior to breaking up with me she was.still saying she loved me. It was a very confusing and hurtful breakup because I know I was truly in love with her. Could I still have been a rebound? Just a few more things….she told me also at that point again she was not sure what she wanted. But then she said she wants soneone with a strong personality (which if u look up its not usually a good thing – sounds like her ex) That same night I went on match (just to keep my mind distracted). Well that was a mistake because at that same time the 2nd profile on there was hers?!? She sojnds like shes confused personally bevause she tells me she dosnt know what she wants, but then tells me its not me she wants, and that she wqnts someone with a strong personality and treats her as an equal? Is she confused you think about what she wants? She is no longer on match (we both had profiles for like two weeks tops). What is everyone’s opinion in this? I appreciate any feedback.

  2. Pat Riarchy 8 years ago

    Clearly, this female is NOT exactly what you want. Don’t ever settle for second best. Get rid of her and find The One. Wasting your time, effort, money and emotions on this freak will all be to no avail. Respect yourself. Why would you act like a desperado and think she is the only one who you can form a lasting relationship with?

  3. Standing Tall 10 years ago

    Much appreciated ladies. Seriously, the more the merrier I say…

  4. Reality Chick 10 years ago

    Love it when you guys offer advice and insights too! Thanks Polly, Elise, Karen & Kitty….

  5. Standing Tall 10 years ago

    Yeah I think that her ex was keeping up hope of rekindling something because they’d been on again/off again before. But ultimately, if you’ve broken up twice it’s probably best to move on and not wait 9 months until hearing your ex is happy then ‘sinking your claws in’ and making her feel bad for moving on with her life.

    As you’d mentioned, I think the Friday night drinks deal is probably a good bet. She did actually reply to my email after my OP and we spoke a bit back and forth. Nothing all that telling, but all pleasant. I genuinely will be popping in to catch up with old work friends here and there, so maybe that’s the best bet.

  6. polly 10 years ago

    Gawd, it complicates things more if their relationship was an on-again-off-again type thing. He’s obviously really got his claws in her, because if he didn’t she wouldn’t have had such a knee-jerk reaction to him contacting her and wanting her back etc.
    What if you fronted up to your old work or went to Friday night drinks one week under the guise of catching up with everyone (do you have a friend there who might be able to let you know if she’s going?). THen you could try to get her alone for a quick chat, if possible? That might be a low-key way of doing it. I wouldn’t send any more emails or texts if she’s not responding.

  7. Standing Tall 10 years ago

    Hi Polly, thanks for your response. To break it down, she dated the ex over a 3 year period, but i forgot to mention she ended it with him earlier on, only to get back together then end it again. So they dated for 3 years and broke up in January of 2010. So when we got together they had been broken up for 9 months.

    I would like to remain friends and keep the connection, but this is what got her in trouble with her ex. They remained friends and caught up time to time, but he obviously wanted more and only expressed this when he’d effectively lost her to me. And she’s said all along that she didn’t want to get back with him.

    We never actually ‘broke up’, it turned out that i had to walk away because it wasn’t good enough on her part, and i guess i want to keep the connection so if there are feelings there, she can express/act on them.

    Just not sure how to approach it as we no longer work together (i took a new job at a time when we were going great, so i didn’t leave because of her).

    What you think?

  8. elise 10 years ago

    I was in the same situation as your girl… ended a relationship, jumped very quickly into a rebound that was VERY intense, I love you’s, holidays together, on the phone all the time, spending all our time together. I had barely been single for 3 months after a 5 year relationship. It was full on and eventually I realised I hadn’t grieved at all for what i’d lost. Even though I was glad not to be in that relationship anymore, I was still needing to grieve for it… if that makes sense. So we ended it (the rebound relationship) and it was horrible. There was no going back becuase of too many hurt feelings. THat might not be your case though, especially if you don’t get too heavy and do what Polly says about just trying to stay friends and see what happens. Just my 2 cents

  9. polly 10 years ago

    Hey Standing Tall – assuming you are the letter writer above. I think it depends on how long she was with her ex. THat will really make a difference on how long it takes her to get over him and be ready to embark on something new. It’s no good for either of you if she’s not completely there yet which is what it sounds like. If she was with him for years I reckon you’ll be waiting a while.
    Any chance you can just stay friends and keep the connection going and see what happens?

  10. Standing Tall 10 years ago

    So what I’m curious about is, and this is a case by case thing – but did you take some time apart from ‘rebound guy’ and after a while think you’d let a good thing slip away? I mean, we went from ‘I love you’ to ‘i can’t do this anymore’ in the space of a week after 3 months, so I just wonder if digesting what’s happened and getting some time to actually get over her ex could mean we might be able to rekindle things in time. Because, the connection we had really was something great and deep. Not to mention,as Karen said, the sex was amazing!

    Help/advice is much appreciated.

  11. karen 10 years ago

    I rebounded massively – to my detriment – after my last big break-up. And when that ended (we were both a bit messed up looking back) it just left me an even bigger mess than before.

    That said, I do think rebound sex is the BOMB 🙂

  12. KItty 10 years ago

    I think of my rebound guy every now and again. He was so sweet, so gorgeous (so young!) and so what I needed at the time. But he was on a different path, and so was I.


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