“Help: I’m crushing on a guy but I don’t want to be his rebound”

Dear Sarah,

I’m writing to you at one in the morning because I can’t sleep, and I need to talk out my problem with someone. A few months ago, I started seeing this guy who had just broken up with his girlfriend two months before. He was really nice and he never pushed for anything past a goodbye kiss for weeks. I believed that he wasn’t like some other guys who just wanted a hookup after ending a long-term relationship. I was wrong.

One night he came over and things went farther than our usual kiss, but I wouldn’t sleep with him because it was too soon for me. The minute I said no, he assumed it meant that I wanted a relationship and he said, he “thought I knew that wasn’t something he wanted.” I was a little upset and thrown off by it, but things ended that night, and I moved on with my life.

Skip to a few weeks later when I met another guy who is the absolute sweetest person I’ve ever known. Here’s the problem: when we first met he was only TWO WEEKS out of a relationship. Now, it’s been almost a month of dating and he continues to be incredible to me. We talk every day and he tells me how amazing I am and how much he likes being around me. He’s making me crush hard! I’ve brought up the fact that he’s recently out of a relationship and every time he says, “It doesn’t even matter. I know why that makes you uncomfortable, but I think about you every day.” 

I was just starting to feel at ease with whatever it is we’re doing until a few days ago when the other guy messaged me apologizing for the way things ended. But he still said that I should have known better because he was just out of a relationship so obviously he didn’t want anything serious. Now I’m re-evaluating everything. I really like this new guy but I’m worried I’m going to get hurt and it could easily be the worst heartbreak I’ve ever had.

I’m 20 and have never had a real boyfriend, never had a crush like this on anyone before. I really want to keep seeing this guy but what if I’m just the girl that helps him get over the breakup so he can move on with someone else? Should I end it now to avoid getting hurt or should I wait it out because he may actually like me too? Can this ever really go anywhere?


—Rebound Girl from Canada

Dear Rebound,

Just because old guy acted like a jerk, doesn’t mean new guy will.  Saying that YOU should have known he only wanted a hookup because he had recently ended a relationship sounds to me like a lame excuse for his unclear and rather exploitative behavior. I give him (a tiny little weensy bit of) credit for apologizing, but he still didn’t take responsibility for his actions. And who made old guy a relationship expert anyway? Don’t get thrown off your game by his assertion that there is some specific and universal time period after breaking up with someone that people only want to have meaningless sex. What? Trust, romance is more art than science. 

Yes, falling in love is jumping into the deep end, but life is richer if we take the plunge instead of paddling around in the shallows. You’ve done your due diligence by asking new guy about his intentions and he’s tried to reassure you. He hasn’t shown any signs of being manipulative or mean, right? So, I recommend trusting him and feeling the feelings. Its not like you are getting engaged, you’re dating. The alternative is shutting down and being scared. Take this as a metaphor for many life choices you have ahead of you. As the old saying goes: no risk, no reward.

That doesn’t mean that you should be foolish or reckless. Indeed, you didn’t sleep with old guy and when you figured out what he actually wanted, you “moved on.” Sounds to me like your instincts are actually pretty good. Can I promise you’ll never be hurt by new guy? No. Nor can I promise he’ll be perfect for you and you’ll love him for ever and ever. Meanwhile, forget about about old guy and live.

Love, Sarah

Have an issue that could use a mom’s-eye-view? Our advice column features a real live mother of three who is ready to discuss any of your burning questions judgment—and baggage—free. Email [email protected] with the subject line “Dear Mom.” Please include your first name or nickname and where you are from. Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

(Image via iStock)

Filed Under