The 5 Second Rule of Dating

We all know it. You drop something tasty on the floor, and you have to make a mental decision on whether it is still edible, or is it now tainted with germs? How long before it is no longer appealing to you? Is it, perhaps, the absurdly abitrary 5 seconds? For those who are a little less germ-a-phobic, perhaps 30 seconds? Or, as they see it in Russia and my personal favourite, “Promptly picked up is not considered fallen”?

Can we say the same with dating? When someone is freshly fallen, can we apply the same arbitrary timeframe of when that person considers themselves to be edible again? I’ve sometimes heard it takes half the time you are with someone to get over them. So 6 months turns into 3 months, 6 years is 3 years (could you IMAGINE?). I’ve also witnessed the immediate rebound in where two people were living together for a number of years, and once broken up, one was immediately in a happy relationship within a month. Mind you, at the beginning it was extraordinarily rocky due to the obvious baggage, but it seems they have worked it out and are full steam ahead.

I mean, obviously it depends on the person, but I think it also varies on the sex (gender sex, not sex sex, although that sex probably has an influence as well!). It seems, and I’m completely stereotyping based on my personal experiences, that the majority of women look to fill that void immediately. Terrified of the prospect of being alone, they look for immediate comfort. It’s easier to get over someone when you have another person taking up time in your mind. Men, on the other hand, consider it their time to be bachelors, hook up with all the ladies they didn’t get a chance to. They still feel the loneliness, absolutely, but it’s not their forefront concern.

But which way is the right way? Are we fooling ourselves when jumping into an immediate relationship, not taking the appropriate time to heal from a relationship (however long that may be, I believe it to be purely instinctual)? Or do you need to just get back on the horse? On the opposite side of the spectrum, while having meaningless hookups might seem like the right way to be single, will they leave you feeling even more empty and alone, all the while potentially hurting someone on the other end?

I don’t have the be all or end all answer for these questions, but I think it depends on the relationship more than it does the person. I’ve fortunately, and unfortunately, had a variety of relationship types and relationship endings, and I feel that it was the way the relationship ended that had the greatest impact on my après-breakup bounceback timeframe and ritual.

The Dragged Out Relationship

We all know it. The one where no one is surprised when it ends, including yourself. You have stopped having sex, you have gotten extraordinarily comfortable, and, if you fight at all, it’s usually in efforts to try and make an excuse to end it. Mentally, the relationship had ended ages ago, but the timing finally aligned itself and you are free.

Time Frame Recovery? This one is usually out of respect for the other party involved. You have become their best friend, you still love them, but mentally you are ready to move on almost immediately. Speaking only in terms of literal relationship ends here, as most of the mourning of the relationship is done while still in it.

The Passionate-Couldn’t-Quite-Get-The-Rest-Of-It-Right Relationship

If you haven’t experienced this type of relationship, I hope you do because it might be the best teacher of life lessons. Can we say Drama? This is the shit that movies are made of. The screaming and crying in the rain, only to be followed by a dramatic, passionate kiss. This is the rollercoaster of emotions relationship. It leaves you questioning your sanity, brings out sides of you that you may never have known existed. It’s draining, exhausting, yet thrilling. It will never sustain and last, but it teaches you all you need to know about what you need in a relationship, and what you absolutely don’t need. This relationship ends not because you don’t care for each other anymore, but because you have both become so exhausted, that it has to.

Time Frame Recovery? These bad boys are always the longest. Hell, the breakup time usually exceeds that of the actual relationship itself. They are the most emotionally involving, and the break up usually corresponds to the relationship — DRAMATIC. These are where the late night phone calls come into play, the late night emails, the late night booty calls. All that passion, it’s nearly impossible to diffuse. This relationship is best followed with a calm, sensible, mature relationship.

The One Sided Break Up

Do I need to say more?

Time Frame Recovery? If you are breaking up with them, you are completely emotionally detached at this point, so it’s fair game. The rule is DO NOT hook up with their friends. It’s in poor taste. If you are broken up with? Rebound like crazy, especially with their friends. I kid. But bring on the ice cream, and single friends and go buckwild.

What have been your time frames in the past for relationships?

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  • Jeremy Wright

    Having done all three of these (in pretty much that order), I'd say you've covered it. The “relationship that's dead” you probably want to spend a month or two alone just so you're not carrying over old habits into a new relationship.

    The “much passion, complete lack of sanity”, for me took about 6 months (half the time of the relationship). Had to find myself again, become comfortable single again, learn to actually like myself, etc.

  • emilia farrace

    “the dragged out relationship” i'd say i gave about a month of my life to mourn (2.5 years total relationship – 1 year mourning IN relationship). however, those months still included sporadic texting/phone calls – so it's really hard to break free. after that addiction was broken – it's crazy how easy it was to stop paying attention to him.

    ah. break ups. love the post – articulated it quite well and very true. did you go to speed dating this past weekend?

  • unbrelievable

    It wasn't by fluke chance that I posted these relationships, in this order. Isn't that typically the trend? Boring relationships need to be followed by dramatic hurtful passionate relationships, which then need to be followed by one-sided safe relationships where you have the power.

    I'm still recovering from my passionate train wreck. Sigh.

  • unbrelievable

    Thank you cutie! I didn't end up going to the speed dating, because it actually wasn't speed dating, more of a singles party. I had an itchy throat, and an old roomates going away party to get to, but I will be speed dating soon enough! It'll be great material, afterall!

  • Sean Ward

    I have never heard that rule-of-thumb about a getting over period taking half the time of the relationship but I had to laugh because it made me think back to my last relationship. It was a good thing we had, but it was just time to do something else, kind of “high five, good game”. But despite ample opportunity, I couldn't even think of touching another person for at least a year after the break up of the 2 years+ relationship.

    Love your assessment of relationship/breakup types! Dead on.

  • bmose14

    I completely agree that the passionate/emotional relationship is promptly followed by a calm, sensible, mature one. In college, two of the girls I dated got married to the next guy they dated after me. And same with my high school girlfriend now that I think about it. I am now in a serious relationship so I guess all that fooling around with hearts and thoughts really helps bring things into perspective. Great article! Very engaging.

  • unbrelievable

    Isn't it funny the way things work like that? In some relationships I have been completely irrational, totally crazy. Some, I'm almost, boring? Compatibility is a strange thing, and it's phenomenal the way that people really can bring out the best, or worst, in each other.

  • skinny_dip

    Totally agree with you about the passionate-couldn't-get-the-rest-right relationships–for me these have also always taken the longest to get over as well. I think its because with these kinds of relationships the highs are always so high and the lows are so LOW. In the past, initially I'd cling on to the good memories and ignore the really bad stuff. But, eventually (thankfully) something always happened to make me see that the “lows” were never worth it…and I moved on.
    Definitely if both parties are already emotionally moved on OR its a completely one sided break-up, its fair game to move on. However, what I've also learned is that time alone after a break-up is usually way more rewarding than any kind of rebound dating/hook-ups (although those can be a lot of fun!).

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  • alexisoftheinksters

    Hi Breanna! Just discovered your blog and I love loved this entry! I think you got the various break-ups bang on (I've had multiples of all)- well done!

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