Reverse psychology and the "Rebound" relationship
I've been thinking a lot about the situations that a lot of us are in where our exes began dating somebody very soon after the break-up. A lot of people classify these as rebounds, but sometimes they work out.
I have a theory that if the dumpee remains in the picture, the rebound will become a successful relationship; while if the dumpee leaves, the dumper is more likely to become newly attracted to the missing dumpee, and return.
From reading some situations on ENA it seems to me that a dumper's "rebound" relationship is more likely to last if the dumpee remains in the picture in some capacity, whether as a friend or as the ex trying to "win back" the dumper. I feel like this gives the dumper control over the dumpee, knowing that he/she is a sure thing, which therefore decreases the dumper's attraction to the dumpee. The dumper can then freely pursue this new person, while knowing that (just in case) the ex is waiting on the sidelines. I've even read about some of these "rebound" relationships leading to engagement and marriage when the dumpee is still in contact.
One case in particular I have heard of - the dumpee told the dumper that she feared he was going to be engaged soon to the new person, which he wrote off as absurd. But...it came true several months later. It's like in some twisted way the dumper played on the dumpee's fear - made that fear a reality - to maintain control over her feelings. I think it's a completely unconscious decision to manipulate in this way, but in a very twisted way, it makes sense...
It seems that the more often a dumpee wins back the dumper is by exiting the picture completely while the dumper pursues this new person. I think it gives the dumper a chance to realize that the "sure thing" they had (due to his/her initial attempts to reconcile and get back together) is gone and that once the excitement of the new person wears off, they miss their ex.
It's a matter of reverse psychology - we always want what we think we can't have. And we don't miss what we have until it's gone.
Does anyone have examples that would "prove" this theory? Or examples that completely negate it?
"Don't jump FROM something; jump TO something."
I don't have any examples, but I'm gonna try it.
An interesting theory. However, I think that it would be difficult to prove or disprove. People are so individual, so unique that human behavior is (alas) very difficult to predict...
I think that you may have some good points, there. It's been from my experience that shortly after having NC. My ex began pursuing me. The problem was that she was already living with someone and I'm not going to be "on the side" but... it's as you said. They "realize what they lost".
-Even the greenest of grass on the other side of the fence may have a smelly turd in it-
It's amazing how related things come up here all in the same day. this is the third time today.
I agree with your conclusion, but have a different take on why it happens.
When the dumpee stays in the picture, he/she gives the dumper an intense emotional connection to someone.
This leaves the dumper free to form a new purely romantic/physical connection and still feel complete, so the new relationship is encouraged.
But with the dumpee out of the picture, this new relationship is revealed as (sometimes) being empty and devoid of significance, so the new relationship fails.
Just a new theory I'm trying out ... does that make sense?
Last edited by Zackinlaw; 10-07-2007 at 01:04 AM.
i'm kinda testing that theory right now.
you see, me and my ex dated on and off for three years. during that time, i dated someone else, and my ex returned to the picture and wanted me back. i know it's evil to say, but I was happy he was jealous. after all, he'd had four months to get me back, and he chose not to...so I moved on. but i continued to talk to my ex, and yes, I still loved him, despite being with someone else. if he didn't talk to me for a few days, I'd get worried and call him to talk. me and the new guy broke up, and the ex came and tried to win me back.
well, now the tables are turned, and he is with someone else. i went NC the day after he even so much as mentioned there was a girl he was interested in. but he tried the whole, "I'm gonna be there for you forever and do whatever it takes to make you happy" thing on me, but everyone told me, "Don't let him have his cake and eat it too." So its been strict NC for a month now.
I've always come back to him before...but this time, this is the longest it's gone. I'm wondering if this theory is true...but either way, I just want to get over him and be OK without him, regardless of anything.
I'll let you know how it turns out!
never again, will I fall to you...Never...
love4life, I agree with you. That's why I finally decided to disappear from my ex's life.
Someone here, I think it's Clabs, once wrote something so simple yet so true and it caught my attention: Sometimes the best way for a dumpee to get a dumper back is to dump them back themselves.
Zack, interesting thing to say.
If I got it right you mean when a dumpee stays in touch he/she indirectly gives the dumper a sense of fulfillment which the dumper erroneously attributes to the new person in their life. And thus, the dumper pursues the new person more and more thinking they are the source of their completeness.
When, on the other hand, the dumpee disappears a sudden feeling of emptiness fills the dumper and he/she realizes the new person is not the source of their emotional wholeness as they had imagined.
Last edited by dreamguy; 10-07-2007 at 03:00 AM.
Have you noticed that when you stress too much about something & keep waiting for it anxiously, it just won't happen? This is true for everything in life. When you want something so desperately you won't get it. But when you can let go of your obsessive feelings & learn to care less about it, you will achieve your goal.
Would it still work if the EX has gone back to his EX....wouldn't that make the dumpee a complete rebound in the true sense ?
I think love4life has a very good point here and I've seen it happen. I would also say I've seen more women do this to dumpees.
OK my theory? Bear in mind this is my experience of women from the point of view of a man and I've seen far more women than men do this and far more women than men do the rebound route in my humble opinion. The other way around may be different. I've dropped in here from time to time so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents worth(oh oh)
If the dumpee sticks around trying to be "friends" with the dumper, the rebound person has a much easier time of it. The rebound person doesn't have to be that emotionally supportive, because someone else is taking up the slack. A someone else who knows the dumper far better. This goes back and forth until the rebound learns enough to take over from the dumpee and that's when the dumpee is pushed out(or they find someone completely new).
Basically, if the ex is a long termer and the couple have gone past the honeymoon stage and are in the attachment stage, they are still in that attachment stage even with the split, especially if they were very close and the split wasn't an aggressive one. The dumpers are in the honeymoon stage with the rebound. The dumper gets the best of both worlds. Great deal for the rebound as well, as they get all the fun of a couple without the hassle. The dumpee get's to be a shoulder to cry on, sleepless nights and no sex. Not a good deal.
When people say they're torn between two lovers this is generally what they mean. They can be in love with both, but at different stages in the relationship. They're making one lover out of two essentially. They get the excitement of the new with the comfort of the old. This is why the "lets be friends" stuff happens. It's also one of the reasons why affairs in otherwise strong relationships can happen. You can be in love with two. the ideal is to stay with one through the attachment, but all too often people want the easy or more exiting option. Work is old fashioned.
You'll hear this quite plainly if you listen to the dumper. They say things like "you're my best friend/brother/sister etc" or "I love you, but I'm not in love with you". That's attachment. The basic reason they're not in love with you and are with the rebound? The fact is they are more sexually attracted to the rebound. They have more desire and excitement for the rebound. Simple as that. Now I know some will be saying that the split was because of their commitment issues/mother/friends/job/party phase/stress/distance etc etc etc. Yes they are some of the causes, but if the ex was still very sexually attracted to you and desired you on a basic level, they would stick around.
Find out the reason why you think that happened. Find out the causes and if they're in your power to fix them, then fix them as you're next relationship will probably founder for the same reasons. Most importantly do this for you.
Don't buy this? OK look around objectively at relationships you know that have had bigger stresses on them than yours. The ones where they're always fighting, breaking up, cheating, yet still stay together. Look at the women and men you know in what you see to be bad relationships that seem to have no future and are always up and down. The men you know with dense, needy, weird, bítches and the women you know with broke bad boy hairy bikers. Why? Beyond the obvious like bullying or possessive scenarios, they still have that sexual chemistry and attraction going on. Look at the early honeymoon part of your own relationships. You will take far more crap and outside stresses at that stage than later. You don't even notice the problems then. Usually the exact same problems that will usually split you up as a couple down the line.
I digressed... Back to the rebound/dumpee situation.
The dumpee is like a pair of comfortable slippers, the rebound is like a pair of expensive pumps. As I say, over time with the dumpees help, the rebound becomes like a pair of expensive pumps with more comfortable heels. OK very stretched out anology but you get my drift...
The rebound will generally fail in the long term because the dumper hasn't had enough time to get over the previous relationship. The faster the rebound happens and the faster the "I love you"'s are exchanged in the rebound, the faster the rebound fails. This is an advantage to the dumpee if they use it. They use it by letting the rebound do all the work. After all they are getting "paid" for it.
If you're a dumpee in this case and if you want your ex back. Which let's be honest this is what most here want. Do NC or very LC. I would go against some of the advice here and say if you are on good terms with the dumper, don't do cold NC. Don't just drop off the face of the earth. Yes the dumper may panic at the sudden loss, but the rebound is there to comfort them and take over. The longer the dumpee has been taking up the slack of the rebound, the more likely NC will have little effect. At least little effect in the way most here are truly looking for. It'll look like you're punishing them. It can also look petulant and childish. In this case the only way they'll come back is if the rebound dumps them or hurts them.
When you go NC, tell them and tell them in a nice way. Tell them that you both need to move on(that's the big point to make), wish them your love and all the best in their new relationship and actually move on. If they ask, "is this forever" or "do you think we can be friends in the future", point out you don't think that's such a good idea but you never know what the future may bring. Leave it at that. If they call and they will, sooner or later, keep the conversation short and sweet. Do not bring up the old relationship and if they bring up the new one, wish them luck. Mean it. If you don't want the best for her/him, you din't love them in the first place. You're just in selfish panic mode.
Do all the usual. Get fit, make yourself better, date others, get out, etc and actually move on.
If they do come back into your life down the line(and they will if you do this and there was a good connection in the past), then the new more attractive, more self sufficient you that doesn't need anyone, but may want to share your life with someone, will really get their minds and more importantly their hearts thinking. It'll also get their sexual side thinking too and that's what really split you up in the first place. The lack of neediness, added strength is a BIG plus point if you're a man. If a woman felt they left you as a boy and then she finds you as a man six months later, then you are in with more than a chance with her(and every other woman). This will also increase your mystery to her as it should come as a bit of a surprise to her. All good. Especially for you as a person. Men are more visual creatures in general, so if they see the ex and she's lost weight and looks sexier and more confident, he will think twice. Women are both visual and emotional, so even if you show up like Brad Pitt and are still the needy, weak, non committal boy they left, the most you can hope for is "ex sex".
Yes it's true that you can't make anyone fall in love with you, but you can increase the chances that they will. These chances are far higher in one way with an ex as they've already fallen in love with you before. Time apart and you acting like an adult, not being needy, getting physically fitter and more attractive will attract them or any other person far quicker.
It often boils down to this. Humans are attracted to what they can't have. They are really attracted to what they thought they had but now don't. That's one of the big reasons dumpees go into a panic when the split first happens. That's why dumpees forget about the dumpers bad points and concentrate on the good. If you want them back reverse that. Basic human nature.
I've seen this work time and time again(with men who have been dumped). Before anyone says this is playing games. It isn't. In any case we all play games and hide our true intent when we want to get someone new. We all have tactics for that. Put it this way, on your first date do you belch, scratch yourself, show up in old smelly clothes, with your hair in a mess or with no makeup? No you don't. You "play the game" of attraction. Same deal here, with the advantage that during this NC if you do it right, you're making yourself a better person for whomever you end up with.
Use this split to your advantage. The ball is in your court. Use the pain to make you the best you that you can be. If you don't you'll be going through this again and again and you'll have no one but yourself to blame.
It was a bit rambling, but I hope I got the bones of my weirdo theory across.
Awaits the flames.......
PS In your time apart look at the ex. I mean really look at them. Did they make your life better or did you just think they did? Also look at your exes new relationship. Is the new person bad for them or are they better for them than you were? Only you know the answers to these questions and you don't need a psychologist/counselor/shrink to tell you either as if you're honest with yourself you know the truth.
Last edited by Zorba; 10-07-2007 at 05:28 AM.
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