Carolyn Hax: Rebounding from failed engagement

August 13, 2013 

Hi, Carolyn: My engagement fell through months ago for a variety of very good (though still very sudden and shocking) reasons that just weren't clear before we were engaged. I've since relocated and spent a good bit wallowing, but then turned the corner. I have great friends, family, health, education - life's good, I'll be OK.

I managed to reconnect with an old friend who seemed interested in more … and he's just an incredible person. It's possible it's the best rebound ever, or there's a whole lot more here. I'm trying my darnedest to take it day by day, go pretty slowly, be honest. Fingers crossed no one gets hurt. Fine.

The problem? As much as I'm trying to get over the engagement, my family's really not. They're still angry and a little bitter (mostly at the ex) and dealing with their own feelings of loss and change, and even months later there's no way I could bring New Dude home.

It seems fast, I agree, but I'm very close with my family and it seems weird to manufacture distance in the name of more time, or to not really disclose how much I like this guy. There are also a few events coming up that would be great ways for New Dude to meet my extended family.

Why is this so hard? Am I just rebounding? And should I leave the family out of it?

ON THE REBOUND?

So this is mostly about not wanting to spring the new guy on your family, for your family's sake?

If I've read this correctly, then my advice is to carry on with your life on your schedule and let your family manage whatever they need to manage. It is not your job to present your life to them in a way that orchestrates their feelings just so.

Introduce New Dude to your family, bring him to events if you want, deal with their concerns or questions respectfully but from a proper distance. It's not their life, it's yours.

The subtext of your question seems to be concern about rebounding, but you've already answered that as well as it can be answered. Move slowly, maintain a healthy skepticism, be transparent, see where you end up.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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