Last night, I went out for impromptu drinks with a guy. It's not like I went to my night class thinking, "Whelp, it's the last class of the semester and everyone is ridiculously stressed in Hell Week before Finals, so why don't we choose now to find someone to go out with, eh?" But that's what happened. As we chatted instead of working, and added each other on Facebook (the "hey, I'm interested in you" move of the 21st century,) we realized we had some mutual acquaintances in common-- namely, my most recent ex and all of his friends. It's official. I have to move out of Vermont. I have dated EVERYONE.
This got me thinking about one of the most ugly terms in the dating world-- the "rebound." While both my new friend and I were very open with each other about the fact that we had both recently gotten out of serious relationships and were still recovering from them, I knew what word would be on everyone else's lips were they to know that three weeks after the Hindenburg crash-and-burn-in-flames end of my last relationship, I was downtown slinging back beers on someone else's tab. While the most recent ex is undoubtedly taking a new girl out on the town, it makes me wonder-- what's the double-standard for switching dating interests so quickly? Do his friends care? Do they miss me? And do rebounds really matter anymore, or are they just another way to brush the dust of your last relationship off of yourself?
While my friends are glad that I'm back on the horse that so uncharacteristically bucked me off with aplomb, I find myself questioning what my dating and relationship mentality has evolved to. Though I still mourn the loss of my last romance, as it was a great one right up until the point we suddenly weren't together anymore, I've realized something that's become equally evident to others-- after over half a decade of dating, it's become harder to get as attached to someone (or the IDEA of someone,) and easier to deal with and mend from failed attempts at love than it used to be. For the five-plus month duration of my last relationship, I always maintained the mentality that nothing was guaranteed; it could end the next day. I was guarded with my mother and friends; less than hopeful when making reservations for one extra seat for my graduation dinner. So when it suddenly ended, I was somehow more prepared and less affected than I'd ever been previously. And healthy or not, that's how I found myself out last night with someone who potentially knows my ex even better than I do. (Slightly hilarious, I'll admit.) It wasn't because I'm some callous bitch who thinks all men are expendable and I don't know how to be or want to be single-- it's because I want to NOT be a callous bitch and learn how to acknowledge and move on from the end of a previous relationship as best as I can.
We tend to look at rebounds as some meaningless, interim fun. But the best part about last night for me wasn't getting the validation that I still got it, but rather, bonding with a guy over getting past the past, and having us both realize that we could have a good time out with a member of the opposite sex again. (It was a little bit like Heartbreaks Un-anonymous, not gonna lie.) To me, THAT was more valuable than scoring a second date, though, this girl's still got it in her. So, to make it clear, people, it's not a rebound-- it's a growth opportunity.