Previously published on Meld Magazine.
IT’S funny just how heartless we can be when our hearts are broken. Marcella Purnama reflects on the pain of being a rebound and feeling like a distraction until someone better comes along.
The only thing sadder than being the “other” person in a relationship, is being someone’s rebound. And no – I’m not talking about basketball.
My first experience with being a rebound was in the short period between a farewell party for a friend leaving for Bali (a trip I didn’t end up going on for various reasons, but that’s a different story) and my end-of-school prom night.
The man in question had been my best friend since junior high – right up until he got together with this girl in senior high. Our friendship had crumbled.
But when he broke up with his girlfriend and prom night drew closer, we found ourselves reconciling at the goodbye party.
To my utter disbelief, he then left me a bouquet of roses, complete with a love poem, in front of my house on prom night shortly after – gifts I didn’t discover until the next morning.
While I didn’t really expect the roses or the poems, I knew something was up. I’d heard way too many stories of boys acting strangely after a breakup to take this as just a sweet gesture.
A few days later, he left on his end-of-school trip, leaving me alone with my confusion.
But it didn’t take long for the gossip mill and the miracle of technology to bring me the news: he’d gotten back together with his girlfriend.
Just in case you were wondering, and if you have been following my relationship columns, this is the guy in “My friend, you have been dumped“.
Suffice to say I was shocked. Never before had a guy acted amorously towards me, only to get back with another girl. But as far as first rebound experiences go, I’d say I got off easy. I mean I didn’t even become emotionally attached to him or anything.
But it was crazy to see what a guy can do during his relationship “mourning period”. And I did learn an important lesson from the whole thing – if any of your friends of the opposite sex have just experienced a breakup, never, ever, and I mean, never, try to get close to them, even if it’s just out of genuine sympathy to cheer them up. Let their mates of the same sex do that.
Now if I had only taken my own advice…
My second rebound experience was completely different story. To say the least, it was a bit dramatic. Here’s the fairy tale version:
Once upon a time, there lived the gorgeous, stunning and feminine Princess B. Many handsome, young princes had approached her for her hand, but in the end, it was Prince A from a faraway land that got the honour of being her partner.
After being together for quite some time, Prince A knew in his heart that he wanted to be with her forever. One day, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.
But not long after that, Princess B started to have second thoughts. She decided to flee from the impending nuptials. Feeling betrayed, Prince A jumped off the cliff into depression. With Princess B nowhere in sight, his friend, Commoner M, tried to heroically save him from the pit of gloom.
Suddenly, Prince A became unusually nice, giving Commoner M signals that he was interested. She picked up on these signals but while she was interested in Prince A, fate had a mind of her own. Commoner M chose not to show Prince A how she felt. Instead she disappeared and let the two royal highnesses got back together again – as she knew they would – but it hurt like hell to do it.
Well, I don’t even know what to say about that. Don’t play with fire or it will burn you, maybe?
I guess I should have learnt my lesson the first time around. Being someone else’s rebound can be really painful. You feel used and unwanted, like you’re just there to distract the person until someone better comes along.
But if I ended this article by just bemoaning the terrible experiences I’ve had being a rebound, I’d be a hypocrite.
I’ve been on the other side before.
I remember making someone my own rebound. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.
I was in junior high at that time and in puppy love with a senior. After a short courting period, he gradually made his exit. Someone else tried to court me shortly after, while I was still in my mourning period.
Guess what happened next?
But… my record of being someone’s rebound and making someone my rebound is still two to one – so I guess I’m forgiven, right?
Well, maybe not.
It’s crazy, really crazy, what we can do when we’re broken-hearted. But it’s even crazier for me to think that I can try to cheer my friends up who’ve been through the same ordeal, or try to distinguish between love and loneliness, when I’ve been guilty of being on the other side.
Have you ever been someone’s rebound? Have you ever made someone yours? Share your experiences with us below.