When I use the words “men” and “rebound” in the same sentence, male minds might quickly conjure up thoughts of their favorite NBA teams. Women, however, understand that I am addressing the phenomenon of rushing into a new relationship after the dissolution of an old one. And while men aren’t the only ones guilty of this relationship ricochet, they are, by far, the most-likely to engage in this particular type of reactionary behavior.
So what causes men to so quickly move from a break-up with you to the arms of another woman? Understandably, you might think it has to do with him not being particularly invested in his relationship with you. You could easily believe the rapidity of his action indicates he isn’t at all broken up about your break-up; that he had no deep feelings for you and he cavalierly is humming to himself, “Another One Bites The Dust.” Those assumptions would be perfectly reasonable. They would, however, be completely wrong. You see, when men actually emotionally invest in a relationship, their feelings (whether they show it or not) run as deeply as your own. So when their relationship crumbles before them, it causes a huge emotional void. But unlike you, men don’t have the social support network to buoy them up in their time of pain and sadness. They can’t cry to their friends, seeks solace from their mothers, or drown their feelings in a bucket of “Chunky Monkey.” If they thought that kind behavior would be acceptable, they might engage in it. But men are all too aware that stoicism, soldiering on, and “walking it off” are fundamental guidelines in the male handbook, and breaching these would cause them to be a target of ridicule, pity and serious lampooning from their male “comrades-in-arms.”
So what’s a guy to do? He’s hurting, but he can’t tell anyone. And grieving and wallowing in private are likely to only lead to consuming mass quantities of Jim Beam, to dull his pain. Thus, he realizes, with such limited options available, he must speedily move to contain his about-to-erupt emotions by filling the vacuum created by the demise of his previous relationship. And how does he do this? By seeking out someone else to focus his attention on, both emotional and sexual. And the sooner, the better, for it is this new woman who heals his wounds by allowing him to step back into the comfortable, acceptable space of being the tough, unruffled, man that he is supposed to be. She facilitates his return to a state of being where he can once again feel masculine and in control of himself and his emotions. Order is restored and all is right with the world again.
Thus, it can be stated that the speed in which a man moves from a bitter break-up to a new amorous attachment is directly proportional to the pain he’s feeling: The deeper the hurt the quicker the hook-up. So if you see your ex in the arms of another within days of your break-up, don’t write him off as a horny, uncaring, slime-bucket. Instead, recognize that he was deeply hurt by the end of your relationship and is doing the best he can to mend his broken heart. Then, with that understanding in place, it is perfectly reasonable to go home and cut his head out of all the photos of him you own, and incinerate them in your barbecue. Hey, he deals with his pain one way, you deal with yours another. Who’s to judge?
(C)2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.