Most of us have heard of a rebound relationship. It is a do-over, a repeat, almost like a mini-marriage. There isn’t a lot of choosing, but more a falling into relationship with the first willing person with whom we feel comfortable. There may be a feeling that this new person is perfect for you, having many good traits your Ex lacked, and none of the bad ones. There is hope that “this is the one.” Many people don’t want to get involved in this kind of relationship because they know they don’t often turn out well, but what if you could use your rebound relationship to learn some stuff?

Learning From Your Rebound Relationship

Going through a divorce, especially if we do it in a conscious way, reveals many of our shortcomings. After all, relationships end for a reason. Maybe we are overbearing or its opposite afraid to set limits and ask for what we want. There are dozens of ways our own behaviors contribute to a relationship’s demise. So here are a few things you can do to practice doing things differently. A rebound relationship is the perfect practicing ground.

  1. If you felt controlled in your last relationship, use your boundary-setting skills.
  2. If you were a caretaker, allow yourself to be loved and cared for. Say “no” once in a while.
  3. If you were passive, own your feelings and express them openly.
  4. If you’ve taken charge of the happiness of others, focus on your happiness instead.
  5. If you are over-responsible, let go of control and your need to be seen as perfect. Let the other person decide where to eat or what movie to watch.
  6. If you have been under-responsible, practice being powerful. Take charge of yourself.

What else did you learn about yourself as you were divorcing? What other behaviors would you like to practice? You can also practice skills like open and honest communication, taking emotional risks to find a workable balance of safety and vulnerability, discerning the line between being loving and caretaking, finding the balance between speaking your needs and being aware of the needs of the other, staying present, taking one day at a time, avoiding projecting yourself and the relationship into an imagined future, and the often-forgotten skill of having fun and not being so serious, lost, or downhearted.

See Also: 5 Ways Relationship Coaching Supports Your Structured Separation

This rebound relationship may feel different—more alive, honest, real—than the relationship you had with your Ex, or maybe any relationship you’ve ever had. It’s easy to believe it is because of this new person you are with, but the truth is it’s different because you are different. It’s exhilarating to finally be yourself.