There's no right way to handle a breakup, so in this article, I'm not really talking about the people who engage in rebound sex and it works out but to the fellow hot messes. This is for the people who keep trying to fill the empty hole where their self-esteem is supposed to be, the people who don't know how to handle their emotional (and physical) pain.
A lot of college students need therapy. I'm speaking from only my personal experience since I hear it on campus all the time. From friends, classmates, colleagues, "I need therapy" is a response to their behavior. Now the conversation about how accessibility to therapy is a whole other conversation, but why do so many of my female peers say the same thing over and over to themselves? Because they've acknowledged that their self-destructive or unhealthy behavior is exactly that, self-destructive and unhealthy but don't know what to do about it.
Rebound sex (or revenge sex) is one of the worst offenses, in my opinion.
Many of the young women I've come across engage in rebound sex as a response to pain, yet it always seems like a bad idea. I've interviewed some of my friends about this topic, and the general consensus is that it's not healthy, but people do it for a variety of unhealthy reasons. The first is that the response to rejection is becoming numb.
"I did it because I wanted to feel something." To feel something other than numbness, pain, or sadness. Hooking up with random people at parties, going on so many Tinder dates you end up feeling emptier, becoming a drunk mess at a frat house, or blacking out in the middle of the street. All of these things are just bandaids that we slap onto a wound, the short term activity that'll maybe make us feel good in the moment, but only end up making us feel worse later.
Or alternatively, it's to feel attractive again. Or to confirm that you're worthy of romance and attention. And in this era, it's super easy to do. All you need to do is hop onto Tinder and swipe for a couple of minutes and boom, a match. To try and heal self-esteem, we'll go out and hook up with these people to confirm that "well, someone wants me even if he didn't." It never works.
Relying on other people in order to heal your own self-esteem will never work because all of that work needs to be done by yourself. Getting hit on by a thousand guys won't change the fact that you think that no one will love you.
Maybe you're having rebound sex because you want to get back at your ex or the person who rejected you. You're not alone because apparently the primary reason for rebound sex is to get back at your ex. According to this study, people try to lessen their emotional hurt by having revenge sex. This study claims that those who were rejected were more likely to engage in revenge sex. The problem with revenge sex is that you're trying to fill a void in yourself
All of these "self-destructive behaviors" are unhealthy because they're a response to the trauma that you have. If you're trying to feel better by doing these things, take it from me and all the girls who look back on their past behavior, just sit down and cry it out. And go invest and indulge yourself in your favorite activities.
Negative emotions don't go away that easily, but it'll be easier if you can acknowledge your problems and forgive yourself for whatever happened. If you fall into these habits time and time again, I'd like to ask you to take a moment and reflect. And I'd like all my readers to keep it in mind that it's OK that you have these emotions.
You're allowed to feel. Stop punishing yourself for having feelings, stop punishing yourself for making mistakes, and stop punishing yourself because you think it's your fault or that you're unlovable. Everyone is worthy of love. And things make suck now, but they'll suck a whole lot less when one day you can think about your experiences and you don't feel a pang in your heart anymore.
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