Illustration by: Ashley Fairbourne
There are a few guidelines of dos and don’ts that you are supposed to follow after a break-up. One of those guidelines is to keep a clean break between you and your ex, because if you are seeing them constantly, it will just stir up unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings.
Apparently, I didn’t think that was a rule worth following.
A coworker approached me and asked me about my relationship, to which I said, “That thing is O-V-E-R!”
She was sad for all of two seconds before she lit up and insisted I go out with a friend of hers. We’ll call him Rebound Man.
“You two would be perfect together!” She kept saying.
I’m not really sure why or how this girl thought she knows me so well, and even though the idea of moving onto someone else as quickly as possible sounded like a nice pain- numbing solution then, I figured it was in my best interest to refuse.
She was upset. Probably far more upset than even Rebound Man would be. Still, she saved his number in my phone and reminded me that he was pretty successful. She really meant that he was out of my league, and she was being more than kind by offering him to me.
I didn’t text him. I knew that I needed time to heal and just “do me” for a little while. When you just break up from a relationship with someone you love, the idea of going out on dates is somewhere next to castrating cattle and being skinned alive on the list of enjoyable things to do on a Friday night.
But apparently that is not the case for everyone. I met with my ex about a week later to exchange some things and grab a quick bite. After all, I didn’t want to totally cut him out of my life, right? Wrong.
Halfway into the conversation I was itching to ask him something. A few minutes later my heart was pounding and my leg was shaking. Then it slipped out, my lips unable to stop it.
“Have you been dating?”
He broke eye contact and looked down at his food casually, a response that made me immediately wish I had never opened my mouth. He sort of nodded as he mopped up some ketchup with his fries.
“Yeah. Yeah, a few people.”
A few people? It had hardly been over a week. Was this some weird joke?
“Have you been dating anyone?” He asked back.
“Sort of,” I lie, “Just one person.”
The rest of the conversation was awkward. The whole idea of meeting up was one of the worst ideas I ever had. Seriously, I didn’t really even enjoy my burger after that news.
But it did set a fire in me that I could feel growing as I slammed my car door shut and sped back to my apartment. It was like I wanted to cry, but I could only see red. Did everyone move on that quickly, or was he just a bona fide asshole?
A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed angry people seem to make clearer and more analytical decisions in the heat of the moment. I’m not sure if I am some sort of freak of nature, but most of my regrets in life are things that I did when I was angry, or drunk.
So acting quickly, before I could simmer down and have half a second of clarity, I texted Rebound Man.
He responded quickly and let me know he’d been excited to hear from me. I responded by asking what he was doing that night. A little forward, yes, but I wasn’t in the mood to beat around the bush.
He took a minute before saying he was staying in and having some drinks with friends. After another minute he asked if I wanted to join them.
Another item on the list of things not to do after a break-up is turning into a slut and sexually medicating yourself in an effort to move on from your old flame. It never actually works.
But apparently, I didn’t think that rule was worth following either.