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Updated 29 November 2013

Rebound love disasters

If you're left high and dry after a failed relationship - be careful – you are excellent rebound material!

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No one likes being dumped – or for that matter doing the dumping.

The end of any relationship always means upheaval or turmoil of some kind, whether you're moving house, lost many possessions, a pet or two or the love of your life. These are not easy times.

Especially if you're left high and dry, feeling about as unattractive as a station flowerpot, and quite convinced no one will ever look at you again. Be careful – you are excellent rebound material!

So what are the signs that you may be on the rebound?

Indecent haste. Your ex has hardly left – in fact, she/he still has to come and fetch half of his/her stuff, and you're on the prowl again. The mere thought of spending any time on your own is enough to make you come up in hives. And, frankly, at this point, just about anyone will do – as long as it's now. Sad thing though, is that someone else cannot really make the emptiness go away. Only you can do that.

Flattery will get you everywhere. If someone's halfway nice to you, you immediately see long-term prospects for where this is going. You are also prepared to overlook someone's shortcomings – and at that, someone, whom you would not give a second glance under normal circumstances. A couple of compliments in your direction and you are like putty in his/her hands. Alarm bells should be ringing.

Lowering of standards. If you usually go for people who are educated, good-looking and sophisticated and suddenly you forget all these prerequisites and go for someone simply because they're there and they seem to be interested in you, something is wrong. The fact that they've never finished reading a book, or can hardly finish a sentence or think Red China is something you should never put on a yellow tablecloth, should be a warning. Don't lower your standards. Many a person has ended up spending a lifetime with someone they thought was a one-night-stand.

Your behaviour suddenly changes. You were never much of a smoker or a drinker, but suddenly, with this new person you have become both. You've changed from homebody to life-and-soul of the party – in less than a month. Point is, you cannot adapt who you really are in the long run. Be true to yourself – and don't pretend you are someone other than you are.

You talk about your ex a lot. If your ex is your main topic of conversation, you are not over this relationship. In fact, if you still have a constant need to talk about him or her, you are still very much caught up in this relationship and very definitely not ready for a new one. Rather speak to a counsellor – don't drag someone else into your unsolved problems.

Sudden major decisions. There is some truth in the saying, "Marry in haste, repent at leisure". Many people who have just come out of a relationship do not hold still for a while and gather their strength. They plunge headlong into new major commitments as a diversionary measure. Problem is, getting engaged/married or pregnant are pretty lifelong things – not diversionary measures you can just wiggle yourself out of. Don't do any drastic things, such as resigning, getting engaged or moving to a new city – anyway, not in the first six months.

Your friends don't like him/her. If all your friends are expressing reservations, listen carefully. They are seeing something that you aren't. And by the time you do see it, it may be too late to extricate yourself from this situation. You're blinded by infatuation - they're seeing golddigger, loser, desperado, social misfit. Listen to them while they're still around.

Not such sweet dreams. You still dream about your ex just about every night. For a while this is normal, but after a couple of months, it's time to move on. An ongoing obsession with the ex means you're not focused on your needs right now. An ideal opportunity for a chancer to make his/her entry on central stage.

The opposite of your ex. Choosing someone who is the direct opposite of the person you used to be involved with, could also be a mistake, as your choice is still influenced by your reaction to a previous relationship. Given time, you would probably go for someone who has some of the positive qualities your ex had. If they had none, what were you doing with them in the first place?

What your ex does still concerns you deeply. Finding out that your ex is getting remarried or is having a baby, still affects you deeply, despite the fact that you are in a new relationship. This simply means that you are not over the previous relationship – and being in a new one has actually not changed that. -

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated April 2011)

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