Is it too soon to date again?
March 20, 2008 11:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm on the cusp of dating someone soon after a breakup. Is it too soon?

I'm 29 and male, living in the Midwest.

Back in early February, I broke up with my girlfriend of 10 months. A gulf had been building between us since November. We were in a long distance relationship and my ex had began making a big issue out of us being from different faiths. For the two weeks before we broke up, I was in a lot of pain. She wouldn't talk to me at all, and the breakup was a relief of sorts.

About a week and a half after my breakup, I began talking to another girl. We have been friends since 2003. She went through a divorce last year. She listened about my breakup and offered her own insights.

Then, about a week later, she said that she had always had feelings for me. I also had feelings for her in the past, but due to life circumstances, I did not think it would work.

My "more than friend" lives in Houston, so it's another long distance thing. This time it might work, though. We are both of the same religion, we can talk for hours, and I can't stop thinking about her.

My question is whether it is too soon. I think this relationship has potential, and I don't want it to be a rebound. I hardly think about my ex. I want to talk to this girl all the time, and am already planning a trip down to Houston in late April to see her.

Am I moving too fast?
posted by stedman15 to Human Relations (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Nah. Resorting to cliches is never good, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

Honestly, I've seen some people who are just chronic monogamists who move from one serious relationship to the next within weeks of one another and they seem perfectly happy. I wish I could do that, if I'm honest. I just don't know where they FIND these people. =) Seriously: if it seems like it could work, give it a go. And if it doesn't: you learned something in trying. but it sounds like the previous relationship wasn't "alive" for a while, even if it was on paper. Good luck, yo.
posted by indiebass at 11:05 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

i wouldn't worry about it. it may just be a rebound thing--in fact it probably is--but rebounds aren't necessarily evil, either. sometimes they are just romantic "palate cleansers." sometimes they are temporary, but allow you to heal and relearn how to be a proper partner again. sometimes they are the real deal--love in all its glory.

as long as you're not using this woman to make your ex jealous, or to have a partner to take out some anger on, then enjoy your time with her. who knows? maybe it will work. just be careful, and gentle with her feelings. if you find yourself drifting, address it immediately. it's the kindest way.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2008

No. If you want to be in a new relationship, you can make it happen.

But maybe you should consider whether you want a non–long-distance relationship for once?
posted by grouse at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2008

Sure, it could be a bad rebound.

Or it could be really good.

Or it could simply not work out for its own reasons, other than rebound.

Frankly, I think just being aware of the danger of rebound is enough to ward off the worst of it, and when all's said and done, we regret what we didn't do more than we regret what we did.

So you're moving fast, but... too fast? Impossible to say. Carpe diem and all that.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:08 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, what everyone else said. Mourning periods are for the movies; do what you want. Life's too short. I suppose I was technically in the rebound timeframe when I met my last girlfriend... who is now my wife. That was ten years ago.

The only warning sign is: You're asking MeFites. Are you asking a question or looking for validation? Or looking for someone to talk you out of this thing?

(Not an attack... just an observation)
posted by ImJustRick at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's obviously no right answer - just what's right for you. I can tell you two things from my personal experience that might be relevant, but at the end of the day, all you can do is trust your instincts and take a chance in one or the other direction.

Thing one -- I once spent about a month trying not to date a guy because I thought it was the wise thing to do. My friends agreed. I knew I was right. Most of what I did that month revolved around not dating him. I thought about it. I talked about it. I wrote about it in my journal. Then, I gave in. We were together for well over a year, and it was a wonderful relationship. The lesson I drew from that is this: if you have a real connection with someone, consider letting your heart rule your head.

Thing two -- when that relationship ended, I started dating someone else. THAT WEEK. This was bad insofar as my ex was really hurt by it (I'm so sorry!). Also, I wasn't ready to date someone new and I wasn't over him. However, I worked through those problems in the relationship, and I'm still in it, and its great. The lesson I drew from that: not quite being ready can be a problem without being a dealbreaker.

Good luck!
posted by prefpara at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]

There are no rules. Just guidelines.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:20 AM on March 20, 2008

Given what we can glean from your post, 5 hours and 37 minutes should be adequate.
posted by thomas144 at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2008

posted by thetenthstory at 11:49 AM on March 20, 2008

Given that your previous relationship was long distance and only lasted 10 months I don't think you need a long mourning period. Go for it with the new girl.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:00 PM on March 20, 2008

Back in early February, I broke up with my girlfriend of 10 months.

Probably not long enough to have much weight left. 10 year relationships might need cooling periods, but 10 months? Go for it.
posted by rokusan at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2008

The only point of caution I can offer is based on the question itself. The fact that you're wondering about time frames after a measly 10-month relationship probably suggests some other, deeper, misconceptions about relationships, commitment levels, and some other things I'm too lazy to think of right now. The point is, if the next relationship gets screwed up, it's very likely not going to be because you didn't wait long enough (or waited too long, or whatever...)
posted by wfrgms at 12:27 PM on March 20, 2008

It isn't too soon.

However, do you really want another long distance relationship??
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:07 PM on March 20, 2008

I think that being aware of the potential problems might in itself help you to avoid the worst effects of them. Also, the fact that you've known her for a while and had feelings for her in the past makes this less of a typical rebound relationship, in that it's not a quick, casual grab for the first willing girl you laid eyes on post-breakup. Do tread carefully, because if you've been friends for a few years, you may be risking your friendship if the relationship doesn't work out. But have fun, and good luck.
posted by bassjump at 1:28 PM on March 20, 2008

If it feels right, go for it. I got involved with someone shortly after the end of a two-year relationship, and we've been living together happily for the last 6.5 years. I'm really glad she made the first move, since I was making a forced, artificial attempt to "give myself time" and might've missed out on the love of my life because of it. Don't let The Rules stop you.
posted by contraption at 1:44 PM on March 20, 2008

I generally think it's silly for people to apply generalities like "it's too soon to date after a break-up" to their particular lives, if it doesn't feel like it's an issue. If you want to date her, date her. If you feel like you're a complete mess, well, then don't date her yet. It doesn't sound that way from your post, though. Don't worry about being in some imaginary "rebound" stretch of time.

I had a two and a half year relationship with a very painful break-up, and my current fiance was the one that helped me through it by taking me out and cheering me up. I had been friends with him for four years at that point, and was oblivious to how he made me much happier than anyone else I knew (including my ex). We ended up dating only a month or so later. We're going on six years now.

Really, there are no rules about these sorts of things. Often people will throw purported rules around in an attempt to look like an authority on something, not because the rules make sense. She won't be any more of a "rebound" than you make her out to be, and in that sense it won't matter if you wait another month or not. Since you've been friends for years, it doesn't seem to me like you want to be with her for the sake of being with anyone -- a "rebound" -- but because there are things you genuinely value about her, and because you care for each other.

Any relationship can be an act of desperation or loneliness -- and a lot of "rebound" relationships have more substance than other people's normal relationships. In my completely anecdotal experience, the kind of people who throw the term "rebound" around tend to have shallow relationships in general because they think they of dating as a game, and that they'll find true love if they follow arbitrary rules. Those are not the kind of people you want to listen to or worry about. When you hear those people start blabbering about "rebounds," tune them out and listen to yourself. Every person and relationship is different, and just because some people get desperate or lonely after a relationship ends doesn't mean it applies to you. If it does apply to you, there's no shame in it. But it doesn't sound like it does.

Go for it, in my opinion.
posted by Nattie at 3:36 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

All this "too soon" stuff is completely subjective, IMO. I started dating the person who is now my wife about three months after getting out of a really long relationship. And in all honesty, the time between our previous relationships was never an issue at all. People like to say, "I need time" and those sorts of things; my question is always "time for what?" Are you over the last person or aren't you? This stuff is so much simpler than we give it credit for being. I say push ahead. If you find happiness it was a good move; if you don't, then it's a lesson learned. But I'd be willing to bet that "too soon" won't be why a relationship fails.
And I know you didn't ask, but since you mention it: I think extreme distance will kill a relationship faster than dating too soon after a breakup ever will. I understand if you're busy or in an isolated area; but if there's an adequate supply of women that you like or could see yourself dating in your immediate vicinity, you might do yourself a favor by at least trying a shorter distance relationship. Good luck and have fun!
posted by littlerobothead at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2008

It's a rebound if you are still pining after your ex right now while dating someone else.

If you're no longer pining, feel free to go for it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2008

I started dating my other half less than a month after breaking off a 7 year relationship. I was totally on the rebound. He was totally on the rebound.

We are totally married and totally happy five years later.

Go for it. You never know.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:33 PM on March 20, 2008

I broke up with someone after 2 years recently. On a similar timeline as you (T+ 1month and a bit), I decided to start seeing someone, even though my gut told me "whoa too fast!". Things are still going great, after a couple of months together.

I guess my anecdotal advice is: Go for it, what's the worst thing that could happen?
posted by sunshinesky at 5:26 PM on March 20, 2008

After 10 years of knowing each other, my friend and I started a long distance relationship while I was going through a divorce. It had rebound written all over it.

I could go on and on, but the love of my life is about to come home with a pizza. We're going on a year and a half of marriage.
posted by Gucky at 7:23 PM on March 20, 2008

posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 PM on March 20, 2008

I married a rebound. Each relationship on its own merits.
posted by waraw at 10:34 AM on March 25, 2008

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