Diving into a new relationship immediately after a breakup gets a bad rap, but according to new research out of Queens College and the University of Illinois, rebound relationships are actually good for you. Scientists found that people who moved directly into new relationships — even before their feelings about their exes were fully resolved — felt more confident, more desirable, and more over their exes than people who stayed single after the split.
That’s not inherently surprising: a rebound relationship is pretty much irrefutable evidence that, despite what certain people might think, you are still an attractive and datable person worthy of love — of course that feels nice. It’s also convenient. Researchers point out that moving straight from one relationship to another is less disruptive to your overall sense of self. Your partner has changed, but your identity as “person in a relationship” stays the same — and, accordingly, your breakup might have “fewer global effects” on your psychological health.
But does the boost last? Conventional wisdom says no — after a breakup, you’re supposed to mourn and “emotionally prepare” for your next relationship. A rebound relationship only delays the inevitable. But while there’s probably some truth to the idea that feelings are feelings and you have to have them sometime, scientists aren’t convinced a rebound blocks recovery. There’s followup to be done, but for now, they say, “we can speculate that the rebounds appear to be beneficial both in the short and long-term.” Whether or not they’re short-term/long-term beneficial to the person you’re rebounding with is less clear — again, more followup necessary.
That said, though, post-breakup, you’ve gotta do what feels right to you. But if what feels right to you is dinner and a movie and maybe some other things with the cute coffee shop stranger — well, you’ve got science’s blessing.