How do I keep my head straight about a girl?
January 14, 2009 12:20 AM   Subscribe

How do I keep my head straight about a girl, while being the rebound, even though I am really interested in her? Very confused.

So I recently had a one night stand with one of my friends who I know from school. This is a girl that I had been interested in since I met her last year, but didn't want to do anything since she was taken. She broke up with her boyfriend, told me about it, and I moved in as the rebound and met with her this past weekend for a night in the city. As a one night stand I'm not sure what to do in this position.

Leading up to the event of us hanging out was fun, it was exciting and we were flirting over the phone by text messaging. The idea of meeting in the city was even both ways. I had a great time in the city with her and it was nice to be with a girl. This was also something that she wanted also, and I was happy to give her comfort and relaxation.

Since then, I feel I am in more of a negative position, more so feeling like a burden rather than a positive influence of comfort. I feel that by talking to her I am overwhelming her, and am maybe being a little obsessive about it.

I obviously am not intending to be overwhelming but I might be coming across that way. I really just want to tell her that I understand that she has a lot going on, that she needs to figure things out, and that she should sort those out and not even worry about my feelings.

I kind of just want to keep the door open for later possibilities because I know that she wants to figure things out right now.

I'm really at a loss for what to do and am definitely confused. I don't want to end up pushing her away, I really want to keep this open and just as positive as it was.

I feel I am always the one trying to make more out of what was there in the end. Situations like this have happened in the past, I get depressed, and honestly, it sucks. I think the one day no call thing really works wonders. How do I come across as being friendly without making myself so vulnerable?

After writing this, I also think I am the one that needs to take is slow and easy.
posted by weh546 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Clearly you're thinking that you overstepped the rebound boundaries, and you're probably right. The one night thing might be all she's got the mental capacity for, and the flirting is cute, but the girl's got to work her shit out. Breaking up with any sort of LTR is a process and something that usually involves a couple weeks of processing followed by a bit longer of mellowing, depending on who did what and how it went down.

You know all this. So now you're worried that you crossed over into "slightly clingy". That's fair.

So step back. Let her initiate, everything. Be supportive, but don't start conversations at every single moment. Let her come to you. Let her talk. And if she wants to talk about you, tell her don't worry about any of that, that you're in no rush and that she should really focus on her, but that you're there if she wants to talk.

It's honest. It's sincere. And it takes the pressure off. But then back off and let that be the case. Don't push or pry or mope or anything. Let her figure her shit out and if she's really interested, she'll come back your way. You're probably first in line.

And if not, well, other fish.
posted by disillusioned at 12:34 AM on January 14, 2009

Be cool.

And don't talk to her about the ex-relationship. This will show you define yourself as a potential next boyfriend rather than a disinterested friend who she can talk over the break-up with. She should understand this and then show you what her real feelings for you, as a potential next boyfriend, really are.
posted by Sitegeist at 1:47 AM on January 14, 2009

You don't have to bring it up, but if she does feel like talking about the past relationship, let her. It doesn't have to muddle things up.

And you don't have to be the rebound guy. I've been in the position of being there as a friend for a guy just fresh off a terrible breakup. He later became my boyfriend.

I really just want to tell her that I understand that she has a lot going on, that she needs to figure things out, and that she should sort those out and not even worry about my feelings.

I kind of just want to keep the door open for later possibilities

Tell her, almost in those exact words.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:02 AM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding the suggestion to just tell her, albeit in a chilled out kind of way.

I agree that she might be a bit overwhelmed by the situation and need some time and space, but I think if you back off without explaining why, she might end up feeling that you were just after one thing, which could add to her stress. Just tell her, and then let her call the shots as to how the friendship progresses at this time.
posted by Emilyisnow at 4:17 AM on January 14, 2009

I met my boyfriend in the middle of a difficult breakup, and we went out for the first time two weeks after I got my stuff back from my ex. He is NOT a rebound. The first person after an LTR does not *have* to be a rebound, but it depends on the person. I thought I was interested in being single for a while, but when I met him and realized how well we clicked, I no longer felt the need to be single just to be single. My ex was furious that I "moved on" so quickly, but the truth is, I did a lot of hard work in a very short amount of time. People move at different rates.

I don't have specific advice for what to do now, other than don't write yourself off as "only a rebound".
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:22 AM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

This is one situation where trying to talk it out with her isn't going to work--she's likely not in the mood to analyze anything at all. Back off, maybe go on some dates with someone else. Let her come to you if she's ready. Be her friend with benefits, it's probably what she needs right about now.

It's hard to judge this though without knowing approximately how old y'all are and how long her relationship was. If you're 24 and the dude was her boyfriend for like 3 months it's different situation than one where you're both 40 and he was with her for 10 years.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:01 AM on January 14, 2009

Yeah, most of the "rules" of dating are bullshit- people and their relationships aren't controlled by when this happened or who was doing what when. The rules are reflective, not predictive. It's about where the two people are in their own minds- if two people are attracted to each other and open to dating each other, then it will go no matter what.

Be nice, be yourself, don't take advantage of people, is all you really have to do.

In this case, "be cool" is good advice. But that means in your own head- don't get bogged down in "what could be" or "what was"- having these kinds of expectations is unfair to yourself and to her. Just let what happens, happen. If you are somehow being untrue to your expectations, it shows through. If you are mentally picking out houses and baby names and picturing the naughty things you want to do with her, but you are saying "hey, whatever", for most people, that shows and rings alarm bells. Most people get creeped out when they start to get the idea that they are just the actors in the play you have constructed in your head. The only way to proceed in these kinds of situations is to get your mind right, to have no more expectations than "I like her and want to spend time with her."
posted by gjc at 7:26 AM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Dude as far as I can tell she's not telling you she's specifically overwhelmed by you? Just be cool and take it easy and yeah, don't burden her. But you are not necessarily the rebound guy. Unless she's telling you that, I wouldn't assume it.
posted by sully75 at 11:37 AM on January 14, 2009


Seriously. Back away.
posted by nonmerci at 12:06 PM on January 14, 2009

IME, if it's there, it'll be there regardless of "rebound" status or bullshit like that... and if it's not, there's a major risk of getting played. I speak from personal experience here, being told that someone thought I was way awesome, flattery, flattery, flattery, but she wasn't ready for something serious because of "rebound," then getting into something serious with someone else.
posted by paultopia at 2:56 PM on January 14, 2009

Echoing the "there aren't actually rules" idea.

My husband was a "rebound" a month or so after I got out of a two and a half year relationship I was still very upset about, and, like you, I had known him from school. What he did was ask me to go with him to a bunch of stuff without dating first. In other words, I could have not gone, and there wasn't any pressure. After I kept taking him up on his offers and we were pretty much spending 24/7 together for a month, he asked if I wanted to be his girlfriend.

When we were not-dating, he didn't do much of anything to make me worry about a relationship or anything. He listened to me complain about my ex as a friend would. He didn't ask me out until I started flirting with him pretty obviously.

Something along those lines might work well in your situation.
posted by Nattie at 11:51 PM on January 14, 2009

Response by poster: We are both 21, this girl had been dating her boyfriend for about a year and a half and had broken up... it seemed right around the Christmas/New Years time. I keep initiating the conversation to try and keep things relaxed and we did have a fairly nice conversation tonight. I can tell that she is still a little bit edgy with things, so obviously I am taking it slow and I think doing a pretty good job of it.... actually I'm cutting myself short. I'm doing a great job.

Thank you for all your advice. Especially the advice on telling her that "I understand that she's got a lot going on right now and she needs some time to figure things out. Don't worry about me, I'll be alright, I just want to keep the door open for later possibilities."
posted by weh546 at 1:22 AM on January 15, 2009

Yeah I'd run as well.

You've already established yourself as the auxiliary boyfriend - the stand-in for when she is lonely. That's unbalanced. I just got out of a similar situation and dude actually said to me, "I just need someone to be there." You could play the supportive friend (something I could never do) but I still consider that an unbalanced ergo unhealthy relationship.

So there you go.

Let her sort her shit out. It might take her a long time but DO NOT be the shoulder to cry on and hope that it will be enough for her to stay with you. At the moment, she doesn't see you necessarily, she sees an outlet for her emotions. And you have no idea how long it will take her to get over it.

In the meantime, go date other people - it'll keep you sane, keep your options open aaaaaand possibly drive her nuts and convince her to pursue you. And if not, no big loss because you didn't waste your time pining away for an emotionally unavailable person.

I'm also a fan of Peanut's advice - sure, people hurt but if there's a spark and there's chemistry, you can't fight it - you will work it out somehow.
posted by HolyWood at 3:35 PM on January 19, 2009

I agree with peanut_mcgillicuty. I started to date my SO right after a breakup of a very long-term relationship. We had been friends for years and the stars just seemed to be aligned. One thing we didn't do was rushed into anything serious. We didn't even tell anyone for months that we were together because we didn't want to deal with the questions or the pressure. We just hung out like we had before, going to the movies, going to eat...and then had our private time by ourselves. Depending on how the breakup happened and who broke up with who, you could have lucked out and she could have been done with that relationship well before it actually ended. Just keep things friendly, no pressure and no labels. I am sure she enjoyed hanging out with you because, like most long term relationships and the breakups that go with them, being with you was a breath of fresh air. Keep things lighthearted and let her, as Holywood states, "sort her shit out."
posted by penguingrl at 2:58 AM on January 23, 2009

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