The Science Behind The Rebound Relationship 

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I recently bought a new laptop and was sorting through my old files. I came across a folder of articles I wrote five years ago and giggled a little to myself.

My very own time capsule of a 22-year-old me.

I thought it would be fitting to republish them in the lead up to my wedding to a guy I wouldn’t have dreamed existed.

For those still looking for love, I hope these stories help you see it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes love hurts but from this, we grow and find something a lot more meaningful.

28-year-old me now realises that each life stage plays a part in laying a foundation. Without the previous experience, you’re not able to build something solid.

Happy reading!

– tgfs x

I was never good at science. I spent more time gossiping with my best friend than paying attention, but from what I remember, scientists have the objective of repeating the same experiment, in hopes of proving themselves wrong. Mixing chemicals together observing their reactions, some combinations creating beautiful colours or changing states, whilst others blowing up in your face. 

Taking the first step towards dating after coming out of a break up is dangerous, and should not be attempted without the correct safety getup: safety goggles, a lab coat and a clear mind. If not approached properly you could get burnt, zapped or cut. 

I hate the word rebound, it feels so cheap and heartless. I prefer the term it a ‘transitional’ relationship. Something that helps ease the pain and lonely nights.

Do you remember those dreaded science lab reports we had to fill in before every experiment? We had to hypothesise, include our materials and procedure, and end with the results. When it comes to the ‘transitional’ relationships sometimes we skip over the rules and just see what happens.

They say you feel an instant spark when you find ‘the one,’ and let’s just say when I met this guy I think it felt more like a bush fire. We were crazy about each other and couldn’t believe how right everything felt, defying all logic and rationality, this was definitely something new to me and I wasn’t going to walk away from this explosion in my life.

Whenever I’d fight it, it was as if the world kept pushing us together. Like the North and South between 2 magnets, we couldn’t keep away from each other (I did pay attention during that class!)

Once we were walking along the beach (Oh yes, so cliché) and we stumbled across our names already etched side-by-side into one of the rock faces- if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.

Having another crack at the experiment, I thought this was my second shot at finding Mr Right and dived in without really thinking about the whole picture. Within months we were talking about marriage, moving in and all the stuff usually reserved to those relationships who’ve been tested a couple of times. All the while in the back of my mind, I thought this could be the exception to the rules?

People put such an emphasis on if you feel ‘chemistry’ together it’s the basis of any good relationship. I think this is what clouds our judgement, as we don’t hypothesise the likely outcome. Side by side in our beakers we looked perfect but when added together we were unstable and dangerous. 

We just were living different lives, he a lot older than me and immersed in a job that kept him away from me most nights and weekends; me a uni student with plans of packing up and travelling the world upon graduation. We’d constantly repel when discussing our aspirations and goals for the future. Had I ignored the overwhelming chemistry we felt for one another and would I have realised that this relationship had an expiration date? 

On paper, we could have been the next great love story, but together we just couldn’t make it work. I never went into the relationship with the idea that he’d change but I’d hope we’d find a way to make it work out.

Having failed at my previous relationship, I felt I had an overwhelming duty to repeat the experiment over and over again, even though the results were not what I was looking for. Transitional relationships are dangerous because I feel we bring the baggage from the last relationship and insert into the new experiment, even though it is irrelevant. 

Many sleepless nights I laid in bed trying to wrap my head around the thought that maybe we just couldn’t work together. Some elements when combined just react with each other negatively.

The results were proven to me day after day:

Me + Him = Unstable.

Him + Me = Unstable.

No matter which way I tried it, I wanted something that was never going to present different results to change.

When I reached the results portion of my science report, although it hurt, I had to confirm that the experiment was tried, tested and unsuccessful. The thought of being alone was scary, but that period between relationships is so important to evaluate what went wrong, what you learned and focus on yourself. 

Science is all about new discoveries and instead of fighting it, I took some time out for myself to discover new things about me. A valuable lesson I learned is not to be discouraged when something goes wrong, that’s how we grow and learn.

Too often we focus on being perfect and flawless when in fact we fail to see those bad relationships are actually good. From failure, we learn, from success, not so much.

As for me, I think I’ll stick to writing and hang up my lab coat.



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