DO mingle with people beyond your usual circle.
“Meeting someone outside of your social circle allows things to naturally develop,” says Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., a Los Angeles psychologist who specializes in relationships. You are free from connections to your ex—not to mention reminders of him or her. Plus, just putting yourself out there and meeting people in new ways is an ego-boost. Says Danielle of Montclair, NJ: “After my boyfriend of five years broke up with me, I decided I needed some new hobbies and signed up for a hiking club and furniture-refinishing classes. Not only did I really improve my skills on both fronts, I met a bunch of new guys.”
DO hook up with the opposite of your ex.
“Stop and ask yourself, ‘Why didn’t my last relationship work? What didn’t I like about my ex?’” says Dr. Thomas. “Those are the real things you don’t want to repeat. Don’t go through all that trauma in vain!” Rich Davis of Franklin Square, NY, would agree: “I had a girlfriend who took everything that I did for granted. I opened her doors, paid for everything and she never said thank you for any of it. The rebound after that was a girl who appreciated that I was a good guy.” What’s more, “If the rebound doesn’t remind you of your ex, you miss your ex less in the moment, and can enjoy it more,” says Harris. Dating a different type can also remind you that it’s possible for you to break patterns. So if you’re used to dating serious brunettes, try an outgoing blonde. If you normally choose business managers, hang out with musicians instead. Your rebounds should remind you of what you didn’t know you were missing and make you feel happy to be single again!
DON’T cast off a rebound as a “can’t possibly work in the long term” connection.
Why? Well, because sometimes a rebound can work. In fact, sometimes the fact that you’ve dismissed it as a rebound is precisely why it does work. “In rebound situations, your guard is down and your expectations are low, so you ease into it,” says Thomas. And since you’re being nothing but yourself, it may actually result in one of the most realistic connections you’ve ever made. So keep all your options open when you’re back in the big pond. “People tend to assume that the next person you date chronologically after a breakup is automatically a rebound,” says Harris. “But sometimes he or she is really just the next person you date, so don’t throw the babe out with the bathwater!”