Say what?… When your rebound uses you. Let that sink in for a moment. I’ve been burning to write a piece about this. The reality is human nature can sure be incredibly fickle. And with fickleness, comes both the sharp and insipid. Yes, people use each other all the time, but what really constitutes as mutual usage/rebound-ness? And is it justified if both parties have ulterior motives?

One of my insistent theories is that any new true love connection you have is just simply a rehashing or rebound from the previous one. So to me, it comes down to only three potential outcomes. (Here are some intimate anecdotes to illustrate).

The Rule

This is the very traditional set-up. One party is very clearly in the upper hand while the other is not. And the one that is has either recently gotten out of a relationship, said off the bat from the very start that they weren’t looking for a relationship, has a track history of FWBs/casual flings, and has regularly friend-zoned you (essentially de-romanticize the s**t out of you).

In the beginning, I did really find this guy intriguing as a romantic choice, but somewhere along the line, I realized we fought more than we jived. And that made a lot of riff in our relation to each other. But I mistook the strife as spark. We said we were seeing other people yet constantly talked to each other. I asked to be friends. He asked to be fwb. Lots of mutual orbiting. When he texted to vent about the other girl he broke up with, the momentary “Oh, wow, he’s opening up to me and putting his trust in me,” lasted for about 3 seconds. That image was easily shattered with his actions. Whether it be emotional or physical, the rule of the rebound is very much a direct transaction. End of story. 1 to 0 loss.

The Game

A game implies players. And the rebound game scenario involves just that. Two well-equipped players who both know what they are doing. And either party may or may not know what the other is seeking. Maybe they don’t see it coming, but both will eventually learn the truth in the end. This is no direct transaction like the preceding. This is shady, manipulative but with a bow on top.

I see this as something that could turn into the rule if one player is more avid than the other. But when both players are on the same plane, and have the same hand, both parties can actually tie and come out of it fulfilled and in essence, clean. Free of any emotional clutter, guilt, or baggage. Because of the mutual payoff.

This guy who knew I still had connections with my ex (and contact with him) while I was seeing him… yet, still chose to see me. Therefore, he played the ‘lean on my shoulder’ card. He readily allowed access to his emotions but also, his pants. He was pushy and very validation-seeking, ‘needy’ maybe even. But so was I. I was still transitioning from a fresh break-up. And like attracts like.

I didn’t give everything he wanted. But when I did give a sneak peak of letting him have what he aimed for, he would clam up. Because that’s what happens, when it's just for the game. It's a “have you” not “with you” mentality. And he got to use me once with an emotional and sensitive issue of his own. He got to use that ‘shoulder’ card back on me sooner or later. Then out of nowhere, ghosts me. I was a little angry but not ever significantly because I admit I was barely investing my true self in it. I was enjoying all the surface stuffing of a fake relationship. Neither of us truly lost. 0 to 0 loss.

And the Exception

This is the most rare and most sought for. Where a true love connection can actually blossom. And is the FOIL of the Game. Unlike the game, both parties are honest and open from the very start. They may both be players, but instead of subtly playing it under, they reveal their cards and own up to their identities.

But it becomes deliciously contradictory. Because in an effort to try to be openly casual as possible, they become more serious. “Yeah, we’re just having fun…” turns into “We’re only having fun….” that ultimately ends with “I want to keep having this fun.”

This was the best 1.5 months I ever had with anyone. Our chemistry was out of this, I daresay, lifespan, world, time period, whatever you want to call it. I felt deeply connected to him not just on the emotional, intellectual, and physical level but immaterially too- on the spiritual level. Twin flames, soulmates. If you believe in all that. Call it that. Because true feelings are spontaneous and constant at the same time. They may be sudden but they are so certain and intense that it leaves you no doubt. But you meet in the very ‘rebound’ setting/usage setting. So you may keep this person as a friend, until you escape it. And when you’re ready, then finally you can ‘un’bound your rebound to ultimately have something extraordinarily out of bounds. 1 to 1 loss till then.

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Posted by Sarah Suhaimi

Sarah Suhaimi practices 명음 by day and the art of dark chocolate bar swindling by night. She is currently working closely with a local Pittsburgh non-profit that serves sex-trafficked victims, Living in Liberty, as a volunteer and grant proposal writer. She founded the Southeast Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) at her university, and, as well, the "Offer Islam Campaign." Her works vary from prose to poetry to articles. Her published works include, ‘The Home of an Immigrant’s Daughter’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2012 Dublin Biennial, Dublin, Ireland and ‘Hidden Beauty Reveals Itself (Intellect Vs Instinct)’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2011 Florence Biennale VIII, Florence, Italy.