Is it a bad idea to get over someone by getting under someone?
September 23, 2021 1:37 PM   Subscribe

When you're feeling blue and constantly thinking about someone after a breakup, is it harmful to hook up with someone just to get over them?

This is assuming that everything about the encounter is safe, of course.

Is there something to be gained by muscling/sitting through the pain, while the bad feelings negatively affect other parts of your life? Is a quick rebound taking the easy way out? Am I skipping a life lesson by doing this?
posted by thesockpuppet to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have no fear, you're gonna get to do both!

It's not like hooking up with someone is going to make your loss pain magically go away, but it may be nice to remind yourself of how desirable you are, how fun sex is, and how full of pleasure life can be. Bonus points for being open with that partner about where you're at/availability/stuff if you think there's like a risk of catching feelings or if you want to continue to know them.
posted by sibboleth at 1:53 PM on September 23, 2021 [13 favorites]

I would think about whether it's emotionally safe: are you someone who gets attached to people when you sleep with them? Is the other person clear that this is what you're doing?
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:54 PM on September 23, 2021 [7 favorites]

It's kind of using the person you're planning to get under. I guess as long as they know that, it's okay.
posted by theora55 at 1:58 PM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Pro: it's good to feel desirable again, sex is fun, proves that there is life after the ex
Con: if you tend to develop strong feelings for people after you have sex with them, then you may end up with two problems where you had one

Personally what helped me was making myself think through the logical consequences of staying with ex, taking into account the problems, and the real likelihood of change, and seeing that things only would have got worse. In other words stop dreaming about everything being fixed and start justifying why it was ll for the best. Getting laid again didn't really help with the recovery process, although it was enjoyable at the time.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:05 PM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

That's what flings are for! This internet stranger says: enjoy!

In these non-travel times some of the traditional routes for time-limited fun (e.g. cruises) are closed, but presumably there's apps for that.
posted by inexorably_forward at 2:07 PM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You don't get over "better" (whatever that means) by suffering through it. Suffering can also be wallowing, which is to say, immersing yourself in misery in an unhealthy way. Some of the best break-up advice is to keep busy, which is to say... distract yourself from the hurt. It's not like keeping busy or dating or having sex with someone else is a cheat code or something.

If you find yourself jumping from one relationship to the next, without pause, that's not great. But, if after a break-up, you have some fun, casual rebound sex with a consenting partner, and you are someone who is generally okay with casual sex, then that can be a lovely distraction from the pain and a great way to reconnect with yourself as a sexual person outside of your old relationship.

I think there's this idea out there that after a break up, you are supposed to stay single for X amount of time, to reflect and recover and blah blah blah. But having a fun date, or rebound sex, can also be part of a process of moving forward.

So, in a nutshell: Go have sex. Have fun. Your sadness and hurt and recovery will still continue, and you'll have had a nice interlude and break from it. Good luck.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:08 PM on September 23, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I think it really depends on the person you would be sleeping with, and your personal emotional tendencies. Like if you are a "relationship person" who doesn't tend to enjoy no strings attached, short lived flings or tends to feel strong emotions from sexual encounters, probably not going to be helpful to jump into bed with someone when you're feeling raw. However, if casual relations have worked before, a better chance of positive feelings from it.
posted by amycup at 2:09 PM on September 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

I find it helpful because it is a great distraction and reminds me how much darn fun there is in the world. It's hard for me to enjoy most things when I'm grieving, but sex is something I can almost always enjoy. That helps me get past unproductive rumination/ wallowing and move on.
posted by metasarah at 2:16 PM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's not a shortcut, more like a (potentially) pleasant band-aid. I do think being honest with yourself and with the other person is a good way to prevent a future, painful ripped-off-band-aid feeling.
posted by sm1tten at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2021

I think there's a lot of puritanical bullshit about relationships that says you have to muscle through the pain, learn to be alone, blah blah. I don't buy it at all. Sexual healing is a thing! They write songs about it! With your caveat that everything about the encounter is safe, I say do it.
posted by HotToddy at 2:24 PM on September 23, 2021 [5 favorites]

It’s called a palate cleanser. Enjoy!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:08 PM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

When you're feeling blue and constantly thinking about someone after a breakup, is it harmful to [hang out with friends] just to get over them?

When you're feeling blue and constantly thinking about someone after a breakup, is it harmful to [lose yourself in a good book] just to get over them?

When you're feeling blue and constantly thinking about someone after a breakup, is it harmful to [travel to beautiful destinations] just to get over them?

Obviously sexual relations are more emotionally fraught than these examples, but the comments above have covered that. I just wanted to focus on why you’d think that doing something you’d enjoy to get past a shitty breakup could be considered “harmful.” If it’s safe, then go for it!
posted by ejs at 3:11 PM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yes, both parts can be true: flings are fun AND you'll still need to do the work.

I found post-breakup hookups to be a (very, very) fun distraction, an ego boost at a time I really needed it, and a fantastic way to learn more about myself. I knew I was not at high risk for developing feels for those casual opportunities, so I explored and enjoyed and experimented and reinvented, and it was great. I wouldn't necessarily say they were an aid to healing with regard to the particular person I was trying to move past, but nor was I going into them with the mindset that they would be. Only time and distance and immensely supportive friends helped with that part.

Mostly it helped me remember that there were a lot of other awesome people in the world I had yet to meet, so many friendships and relationships and adventures still to be had, and that I wouldn't always feel so terrible and sad about the one I was grieving.
posted by anderjen at 3:57 PM on September 23, 2021 [6 favorites]

As long as you are careful with the feelings of the other person, I think it's fine!
The end of a relationship, like any other grieving process, is going to have its ups and downs, and sometimes random things can set you off, so I think it's a good idea to be open with the other person about where your head is at.
posted by exceptinsects at 4:34 PM on September 23, 2021

Real talk, this never helped me move on any faster. But it passed the time and getting out to meet/flirt/sleep with new people helps you see yourself in contexts without your ex. You just need to start putting days behind you, and it’s a pretty fun way to do it provided you’re being mindful of not leading anyone on when/if your partners develop feelings.
posted by superfluousm at 5:43 PM on September 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

I just keep thinking, "I wouldn't want someone to treat me as disposable and that they're just fucking me to get over an ex and don't really care about me." I guess if the other person is only in it for the orgasms and everyone's consenting and low expectations, go to it, but I attach instantly and wouldn't want to try treating someone as a disposable orgasm or be treated like this myself.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:21 PM on September 23, 2021 [9 favorites]

[...] wouldn't want to try treating someone as a disposable orgasm or be treated like this myself.

Yeah, that would be awful. But, that's not what the situation has to be. Lots of people have mutually enjoyable sexual relationships while fully aware of the fact that they are not in (and are not working towards) a long-term relationship. Lots of people have flings. Be honest, be upfront, and have fun.
posted by hepta at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

Yeah, but some folks ah, catch feelings more than others. I would rather not date the emotionally unavailable since I am a feelings-catcher.

posted by jenfullmoon at 6:39 PM on September 24, 2021

Yes, because it’s not ok to use people like that.

People get hurt in these scenarios. Maybe not always, but often. If you’re not getting hurt and think you’re not hurting anyone, there’s still a strong possibility that you’re hurting the other person.
posted by Violet Hour at 11:36 PM on September 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

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