Probably one of the most difficult relationships are rebounds, and the aftermath of a rebound relationship breaking up can be a real doozy. When you are trying to figure out how to get over someone who used you as a rebound, your healing process can feel like it's blocked by your anger at feeling invalidated in the relationship. "When we encounter experiences where we are not fully valued and may even have been unconsciously or consciously used to soothe another's aching heart, it can trigger a whole host of feelings of unworthiness, anger, and pain," says spiritual guide and matchmaker Heather Kristian Strang.
All of those emotions are completely valid, and you ought to allow yourself to feel them fully. But Strang says that there are also other layers to breakups and the ensuing grieving period that can allow you to do some deep spiritual work on yourself. On the other side of every loss is an important lesson that can bring you closer to clearly seeing yourself. Eventually, you will be able to take that lesson and leave the rest behind. Once you are able to do that, you'll find yourself moving closer to finding the person you are really supposed to be with because you will be in a better union with yourself.
Here's what you should keep in mind when getting over someone who used you as a rebound.
1. Do Not Let Yourself Be The Victim
People love to hold onto their emotional wounds, and nothing cuts quite as deeply as a breakup. "Romantic relationships place us in our most vulnerable position — will we be loved and accepted fully, or will we not?" says Strang.
If you allow a single romantic relationship to be judge, jury, and executioner over the matter of whether or not you can be loved and accepted, you are headed for a whole host of pain. When there is never a guarantee that any romantic relationship will ever work out, why would you place all of your value on whether or not someone wants to be with you?
It's understandable to be upset after a breakup — it is a loss, and it's natural to grieve. But Strang recommends looking at your relationship through a different lens: It's not about what you lost, but how much you gained.
2. Control The Story Of Your Rebound Relationship
You can heal by remembering that you are the only one who gets to tell the story of your relationship. "What if everyone that was attracted to you and came into your life came in because they were an important part of your story and you were an important part of theirs — no matter if it was for a brief moment in time or several months or years?" asks Strang.
After a breakup, you're going to tell yourself what happened over and over. You're going to rehash the details of your relationship, both good and bad. Eventually, when you tell yourself the story enough times, you find why it had to work out the way it did. You might not be able to do this at first — but just know that you have the power to understand how this person influenced you, and you're the one who will get to see where you go from here.
3. Your Perception Of The Relationship Is The Truth
What a relationship meant to you and what you felt for it are totally real, and those are truths that you will continue to carry on moving forward. Strang says that you may never know the presence or impact you had on someone, just like they will never know how they changed you. You don't know whether the other person really saw you as a rebound in the relationship, or if that is only how you see yourself.
Strang recommends that rather than become bound up by the pain of the parting, reflect on the positive aspects of the relationship and the new self-knowledge it brought you.
4. Talk Back To The Voice That Says You Are Unlovable
One of the worst feelings after being dumped is that of rejection, and this becomes heightened when you think you were in a rebound relationship. Your relationship feels invalidated, because it only happened in the aftermath of another, bigger love. Feeling like an accessory to another person's relationship activates that little voice inside your head that tells you that you are unlovable and are going to die alone. Rather than ignoring this voice or attempting to silence it, push back against it. You did learn something from this relationship, and the lesson wasn't that you are unlovable. List all of the good qualities you bring to a relationship — and that this relationship brought you.
"How are you now more clear than ever about who you truly are and what you truly desire in partnership since this experience came into your life? What did you learn about yourself? What areas are you now more inspired to grow in since having this person enter your life?" ask Strang.
Rebound relationships offer valuable information about the kind of person you want to be with. Conceivably, if you are experiencing anger and resentment in the aftermath of your breakup, it's probably because you want someone who can commit to you fully and isn't holding another person in their heart at the same time as you. You want a love that's all about you and the other person — not a third party. And that's probably just the start of it. What else would you like to see in a future love that didn't happen with this one?
5. Lean In To Your Fears
After you got broken up with, did you start to fear that you would be alone forever? Did you start to imagine that nobody would ever really love you? Did you start to fantasize about how love was always a lie and that nobody could have genuine feelings for you because they would be forever using you? A rebound relationship exacerbates all of these fears that come from every other breakup, and can turn your most negative thoughts into demons that continue to plague you.
You can tell yourself that your fears are irrational, but that won't make them go away. What works better is to completely embrace them. Suppose that you will always be alone with yourself. Then what? How would you live if it was just you and yourself, for the rest of your life? Envision how you would want an ideal lover to treat you and then, pour all of that attention and affection into yourself. When you enter into a union with yourself, you'll find that there's no one who is better able to hold you up than you. You are the only one who will ever be able to know what you need — and the only one who will always be there to give it to yourself.
"Take this situation of feeling as though you were on the negative end of another's experience and use it to empower yourself to greater clarity and to ultimately allow it to lead you right into the arms of your true love," says Strang. And even if that true love is only yourself, it's still going to be OK.
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