Rebound vs. slam dunk

Theeradech SaninFlashback to January 11, 2013 …

People often ask if Christian is a “rebound relationship” for me. Ah, the dreaded term. You know, he even asked me himself once. Rebound relationship. What does that even mean? It sounds so insulting. It minimizes the importance of the relationship to pretty much nil, doesn’t it? It makes it a joke, makes it sound temporary, like the person is some sort of a toy–disposable–to be used and then cast aside. Right? So I guess you probably know what I’m going to say. Is Christian a “rebound” for me? Um … no. Heck no. That is a resounding “NO.”

Christian. Is a SLAM DUNK.

It’s funny, though. Having so many people ask me about “THE REBOUND RELATIONSHIP” made me stop and think. Is this a requirement for a divorcee? Must I have a rebound relationship in order to get it out of my system and then move on to a substantial relationship? Divorced ladies out there? Or therapists? Single people? Anyone? What are your thoughts?

In any case, I suppose I did have a rebound relationship before Christian. An unexpected one. I guess it was a relationship? More like a crush? I don’t really know what to call it. But I didn’t let it get physical at all. I mean not even a little bit. Because at the time I was technically not divorced yet. I was sorely tempted, but I didn’t. Anyone who really knows me knows I’m stronger than that. 🙂

But first let me back up a little and set this up a bit, because I think it’s important to note that, um … guys in my life again? This was not originally in my plan. When I left my now ex-husband, I was done. I mean, completely turned off. No more sex drive. I mean, not even a little. Ready to raise my kids on my own. Not because I was a feminist or a man-hater. I just didn’t feel it anymore. No zing. No tingle. No desire to ever be in love again, to date, and certainly no desire to be involved in another serious relationship. That would require trust, something I had no understanding of anymore … something I’m still struggling with. A lot.

So meanwhile back in June … I’m hanging out, doing my thing: surviving, being a mom, going through a divorce. And then my kids have their first visitation with their father. All of a sudden I’m “single” again for six weeks. At first I was so disoriented. I felt so alone. But then something funny happened. I was at the grocery store, and a cute guy winked at me. Wha? I was seriously startled. I think I looked around to see if he was winking at someone else, but he watched me walk away too. And I smiled back. Whaaa? Weird. And something stirred inside me.All of a sudden it hit me: I’m appealing? Weird. The opposite gender finds me attractive? Uh? It had been so long since I had felt that way that I guess I’d forgotten what it felt like. I had just assumed that my general style screamed, “I’M A FRUMPY EXHAUSTED MOTHER OF TWO!” And I guess it just so happens that when I don’t have two preschoolers hanging all over me and all over my shopping cart, I’m a little more wink-at-able at the grocery store. Cool.

Actually, it made me feel a little guilty at first. But then I thought, Why? Why should I feel guilty about a guy winking at me? I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just walking into the grocery store. After a while I started getting used to it again. Male attention, I mean. But it did feel really strange at first.

So, there were the random guys. Handsome strangers offering a wink, a smile, or a whistle. But then there was one in particular, Cute Guy. Cute Guy was a ladies’ man, huge flirt, God-fearing, sweet, and … divorced. Plus, he had two kids, same as me. He offered what most of my friends and family couldn’t: a complete understanding of my situation. But, he was also a guy. And, woah. All of a sudden there was chemistry. Chemistry?! I was not prepared for that.

Then Cute Guy started asking me out. I told him, no, not until my divorce decree was issued, and he laughed at me. After that, every day he would ask, “Are you divorced yet? Wanna go out?” Every day. It was a fun few weeks. I enjoyed his company. But I never did go on a date with him because the decree was issued–ironically–on the day I got on the plane to fly home.

For a long time I regretted the fact that we never got past friendship and the “crush” phase. But in retrospect I know everything happened the way it needed to. Cute Guy played his part. He taught me how to feel again. I didn’t know it was possible. And even though we never really had a “relationship” per se, he definitely helped me rebound back into the game. And I will always be thankful for that.

When I met Christian, post-rebound, my heart was softer than it had been before. I was ready for the slam dunk. I can’t say I was completely prepared for what lay ahead for us, but I was more prepared. Which is nothing short of a miracle.

 
Basketball Image (top) courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Theeradech Sanin
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