Relationships are some of our most prized possessions. While they aren’t necessarily “things to possess”, they bring us joy, they help us grow and they remind us of who we are. Although, ultimately, it’s the relationship that we have with ourselves that inform how we move through the world.

So, even when they come to an end, there’s always the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and move forward. And moving forward looks different for everyone. For some, that may be taking time to themselves. And for others, that may be “getting back out there”. 

It can be difficult to know whether you’re truly ready to be alone or to start spending time with someone else. You can actively pursue someone to help you get over a person or situation or you can stumble upon someone and let things happen naturally. Either way, it’s no judgement over here, sis. We do what we can and we try our best whenever we have the capacity. Just know that, if you did just get out of something, and you end up in something else, that something could be a bit of a rebound.

Growing up, whenever I heard rebound, I automatically thought about basketball – mostly because my family is obsessed with the sport and because I was never really good at it. (LOL)

I started hearing it more often in middle and high school whenever my friends or classmates talked about breaking up with someone and wanting to get with someone else. They’d follow that string of thoughts with “I need a rebound” or “he’s just a rebound”. Still a bit confused, I was like, “why do you need to catch the ball after your teammate makes a basket in order to ‘get over’ your ex?” It sounds silly, and a tad nerdy, but I was so serious…that was until I found myself truly crushing on someone and wanting to just feel normal again

Then, I figured out that my basketball comparison wasn’t that bad of a comparison. When one player makes a basket, it’s up to their teammates to get to/already be in the paint to do one of two things: 

  1. give the basketball a love tap to help it go in

      2. to get the ball once it’s gone through the net 

That last part is the rebound, the moment of assistance that can set the team up for success. Now I’m no sports aficionado: my sports knowledge is as basic as the next person with some shouting  and hardcore team-repping sprinkeld in: LAKESHOW, Go Warriors, this is a COWBOY/Saints Nation and Dodgers ‘til I die. Anyways, proper rebounding requires effort from more than one party, no matter how long or short the scoring lasts. 

Particularly as you get older, you have less and less time for games. There’s nothing wrong with being honest from the start especially if you know what you want. However, if you don’t know what you want, things can get sticky. You’ll more than likely figure out what you want while you’re seeing this person, casually or seriously – whatever y’all decided. And there’s nothing wrong with this either. If you’re lucky, you’ll be rebounding with someone who’s rebounding and/or you’ll be able to communicate with one another throughout the process. What may start off as just being about sex could develop into something more and something more doesn’t have to put you on the track to marriage. 

I’ve never really, fully vibed with the “end all, be all” -ness of dating. It’s a little finite for me especially when there’s so much life to live and when people change so often. It doesn’t mean that you can’t find the love of your life or that you shouldn’t want that. It’s just that expectations can get in the way. Leaving room for growth and change is what will lead to having a successful relationship with anyone that crosses your path. Why? Because if you’re growing, you’re knowing!

When you’re knowing, you know that nothing is promised. You know that things may be temporary or more than temporary, but either way, you’re living in the present. It’s hard enough walking away from a relationship that you gave your all to without wondering where you went wrong. So when you find yourself in something new, rather than wondering how long it’ll last or whether feelings are genuine, just be open – in your communication. 

Write your own rules and then, if you need to, consider writing rules with your partner. You may need to set limitations like whether you’re seeing other people, how often you want or don’t want to communicate, what you want to explore sexually, whether you want to give gifts…there’s so much that goes into it. 

And there’s no need to feel scared or overwhelmed. You’ll know you’re in the right situation, whether long or short, when you and the person you’re spending all this time with can talk thins out. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and find ways to express them whether that’s writing in your journal, going for a walk or enjoying a libation/party favor (safely). 

The purpose of dating is for us to get to know ourselves, and you owe to yourself to keep it real with you and put you first while respecting and enjoying whoever’s in your space.

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