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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Rebound Relationships

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Winks | Men Losing Arguments | Rebound Relationships

Quick Access:
How Quickly Should a Wink be Returned?

Why Don't Men Win Arguments?
When is a Rebound Relationship the Real Thing?

How quickly should someone return a ‘wink’ or email if he or she is interested?

This type of issue is caused by self-help books and their ilk that create dilemmas where there should be none. Daters should stop themselves from over-thinking here…it causes the problem of “paralysis by analysis.”   The research is clear. If you’re interested in someone, show it. Don’t play games or “hard to get.” Play it straight.

 If you like someone, then respond promptly. It’s often better to reply with an email than sending a simple “wink.” Both men and women like to see some initiative when someone’s interested, so take the time to send a short but sweet email in reply. If you wait too long, then you risk sending the wrong message that you’re not interested.

Now if you’re not interested then there’s no need to reply soon, but it’s still nice to send an acknowledgment to someone who took the time to let you know how interesting and enticing you seem to be. I mean, it’s the least you can do, right?

Why don't men win arguments in their relationships?

Hey, who says men don’t hold their own in an argument? But, perhaps it’s true that men often give in to keep the peace. Some men can’t admit when they’re wrong under any circumstance, but the smart ones (you know, the ones who have a generally happy love life) know when to shut up and extend the olive branch. In that spirit, let’s have some fun in exploring why such men admit defeat in arguments. I hope David Letterman doesn’t sue me over this list of the top ten reasons why men lose arguments…

  1. She’ll never hear what you’re saying because she’s busy cleaning or cooking something.
  2. She knows how to manipulate your argument.
  3. She’ll withhold affection for as long as it takes until you give in.
  4. She knows 7,500 ways to pout.
  5. She has your mom's number on speed dial.
  6. You love her.
  7. It's faster and easier to admit defeat. After all, she remembers everything you've ever said and done wrong.
  8. Your physician said "control your blood pressure and stress levels."
  9. She has her dad's number on speed dial.
  10. Make up sex often follows her victory over you in an argument.

What are the signs that a “rebound relationship” is actually the real thing and not a fling?

I wouldn’t ever count on finding Mr. or Ms. Right immediately after a bad break up -- especially if you’re coming out of a long-term romance. Your thought patterns and emotions are typically too skewed during this time to allow you to think clearly about connecting with others at that level of intimacy. But who can say that something can never happen?  With that premise, below are some thoughts about how to tell if your current fling is perhaps more than a rebound:

  • You’re not comparing (secretly or publicly) your current partner to your ex. In rebound relationships, we often try to recapture the traits, behaviors and emotions that attracted us to our ex in the first place.
  • You’re current partner is different from your ex. It seems that if you are dating a carbon copy of your ex, you’re probably just trying to emulate the past relationship and it may not work out. If he has a different personality, habits or social circle, there’s a better shot.

  • You want to get over your ex. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll get over your ex immediately after meeting a new person. But if you start to get the urge to move on from your ex, it could be because you see a future with the new prospect as opposed to being merely a fun distraction.
  • You’re taking it slow and setting the pace in the relationship. Moving at warp-speed with a new person could mean you’re just trying to fill a void and not really thinking about if he or she’s right for you. Plus, you are extremely vulnerable to pressure and influence during the rebound period, and this can lead to impulsive, risky decisions. You know you have the real thing when you feel in control of your feelings and actions.

  • You’re able to talk about your past relationships with your new love interest. Rather than hide or repress bad memories or past disappoints, you can talk to your partner about how your experiences have impacted your life, outlook on life and current expectations for a relationship.

  • You’re in the relationship for you. Rebounders are motivated by the need to feel loved, accepted and valued. Often they behave in ways that makes others happy, but not themselves. You know it’s the real thing when pleasing a partner stops being your main priority and it is replaced by being honest and real about yourself and your needs with your partner.


Dr. James Houran's "Office Hours with Dr. Jim" column is published every Monday.

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