Rebounding With Someone New Only Makes You Miss Your Ex Even More

by Sheena Sharma

I'm confused. I'm in a place in my life right now where I'm trying to find myself, whatever that means. Every evening, I go to the gym, come home and then read a chapter of a book my old boss gave me called "Unworthy: How To Stop Hating Yourself."

Ritual, I'm hoping, is what will save me. So, I'm trying to develop a ritual where I learn how to sit in a room alone and be OK with the silence.

A couple of weeks ago, I did something crazy. Blame it on the sticky summer heat or a heat that'd been building up inside of me, but I showed up announced to my ex-hookup buddy's apartment. There was a letter in my hands.

Because I couldn't get into the apartment building and to his mailbox, I bent the corners of the letter so that it would fit in between the doorknob and the keyhole right above it on the front door. I stuck around for a second to make sure it stayed put and then ran down the block. His name and mine were written on it. It was sealed with my slob.

The letter was filled with all the things I never had the chance to tell him. (OK, I did have the chance more than once, but I was always a little afraid.) I was afraid to be transparent, afraid to just... be me. Still, I kept trying and trying in my own way, and I just couldn't get through to him. And the thing we had died, even though it never got a chance to fully blossom.

I took a hard hit. Low-key, I had fantasies of running away to Ireland with him, buying a country house on the lush, green coast and living happily ever after. But that didn't happen, and my dreams were shattered in the cruelest way because what we had was doomed from the start.

And I knew it, too.

After him, I jumped out of my head and under the covers with someone else. Hey, what else should I have done? I thought this new guy was cute. He thought I was cute. It only made sense.

But after him, some other irresistibly charming guy hit me up, and I was quick to hit him up back. And it was after that exchange I realized there is no shortage of hot guys in the world. I was getting with hot guys because they were hot, available for the taking and made me feel mighty and powerful instead of small and weak.

But then I'd leave the company of these hot guys, and all I was left with was myself and my thoughts about the guy I wished I still had.

I still miss him.

Whenever I'm with guy number two or three or four, all I can think about is how much fun I'd be having doing the same thing with guy number one. I know what you're thinking: You want me to shut up and stop complaining. You want me to quit doing other guys and start dating myself. You want me to set some boundaries and stick to them like any self-respecting woman would.

On the one hand, I agree with you, whoever you are. Having my lot of hot single men to bang with and hang with and drink under the table with is flattering at best. At it's worst, though, it's overwhelming. I don't have to go out with all of them, or any of them at all. No one is holding a gun to my head.

But that's the very problem.

It's the freedom to choose that's the problem. It's the knowing-I'll-self-destruct-when-I'm-alone-so-let-me-hit-up-this-guy-instead that's the problem because none of that helps me get closer to finding myself.

All it does is make it all about him — about them — during this time in my life that's supposed to be about me. And there's no one to follow me around to slap my hand and say, "Sheena, NO! DON'T EAT THAT! That's bad for you!" when I impulsively run off to men. It's too easy to be bad.

And what happens if, say, I hit it off with one or more of these guys? What should I do? Ignore the chemistry I have with someone just because it isn't the “right” time for me? When is it ever the right time? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: No one is ever ready to fall in love.

I'm a gal who spirals easily. If I'm not alone — if I'm not feeling my feelings about that love that could have been — then I don't have to acknowledge the fallout ever happened. It's just easier to smoke a spliff, stay out late with men and get too drunk to remember which key on my key ring opens my front door.

It's just easier to stuff down my feelings and lock them away, where they're inaccessible even to me. I've been numbing the feeling of missing one man with other men.

Besides, isn't that what people do? Move on from one person to the next as if nothing ever happened? Look at Taylor Swift and Tom What's-His-Face. And friends of mine hop on Tinder straight out of broken relationships like it's nothing.

But all the while, I'm sitting back, looking at them in both envy and genuine bewilderment, thinking, "How the hell did they move on so quickly?" Because when I try to do what they're doing, I just feel so fucking empty. Like, cold and lifeless and uninterested with nothing to offer to someone looking for something worth having.

And even if a guy and I are having great conversation, it usually doesn't mean anything on my end. They're just fluffy words. On dates, I often find myself looking up over the guy's head while the guy is looking straight at me because I know deep down I can't give myself to him.

When will be the right time to open up to someone new? And when will I know it? Will I just wake up one day and feel it? Does not thinking about the person all the time mean you're over him, or is that just the beginning of it?

I guess all I'm asking is, if time heals all, how should I spend my time? I've never been in love, and I want it to happen eventually.

I wish I could be one of those girls who opens up with not a care in the world. The fun-loving girl who doesn't just feed you lines because she knows that's the right thing to do, but actually means them.

But, I feel closed off, and I have been for a while. I need to fix myself because it's a tough thing, being the kind of girl who takes a half-hearted relationship too much to heart.