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Ashlee Simpson Revenge Romance? 6 Simple Rules

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Six Simple Rules on Why Not to Rebound and 3 Ways to Make the Best of It

Poll: Dating your ex-husband's BFF? Is it a do, or a don't?

Here's what's (allegedly) going on, in a nutshell: Singer Ashlee Simpson is getting divorced from bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy). Their mutual friend, Craig Owens, who's Wentz's BFF and colleague (Owens' band, D.R.U.G.S. is signed to Wentz's music label, Decaydance). The ink was barely dry on the divorce Petition before Ashlee and Craig were out and about, looking very couple-like. Despite protests of, "We're just friends" that's not what it looks like in the photos. Not even remotely.

What happened to band before solo project?

Rebound Relationships. I get it. Your marriage is over. You're bummed. You're mad. You want to know you've still got "it." And how convenient---dating your husband's best friend and colleague will not only scratch the itch, it'll probably make him wild. A win/win, right?

Assuming that my source is correct, and that Ashlee and Craig are an item, it's a really straightforward example of the shortsighted thinking (or maybe not thinking) of rebounding before the ink is dry on your divorce petition.

Let's face it, jumping back into the dating pool too quickly is a trap for the unwary.

While the giddy hormone surge you get when you first flirt with that attractive person you've never seen naked before lets you know you''re still desirable and scintillating, and it's a really enticing escape from the weight of the failed relationship, getting involved too fast with new partners only leads to trouble.

Here's 6 Simple Reasons Why:

  1. Your discretion and decision making skills are at their all time low. They're so low, in fact, you probably don't even realize how low they are. The possibility for stupid decisions in the new few months is at an all time high.
  2. You'll either choose a partner exactly like your ex or someone who's completely unsuited for you, both of which are bad news. Isn't one breakup this year enough?
  3. No matter who decided to end the marriage, when your ex finds out he or she will inevitably go wild and make your life miserable. It's crazy, but it's true.
  4. You need time to grieve the death of your relationship, even if you don't think that you do. That's how out of touch the typical divorce can make even the most sensible person. You don't even realize that you need to take care of yourself, much less how.
  5. Little Bronx is only 2, and Ashlee won't be able to shield him from her (or Pete's) new dating activity, she's inadvertently sending a very confusing message about marriage and parenting. Little kids are so concrete in their thinking, and younger kids only have an inkling of the difference between today and tomorrow. Weren't mommy and daddy supposed to be forever? And the abstract idea that we're still your parents even though we live across town is a tough concept for little ones to grasp.
  6. Since only 3% of these transition relationships ultimately work out, you risk showing your child that mommy's (or daddy's) bedroom is a revolving door and that they shouldn't get attached to any of these new partners because they're going to disappear, too.

So while I understand why celebrities and other newly separated people go out on the town, sowing their wild oats either to celebrate their new found smorgasbord of potential partners or to search for evidence that they're still desirable, it's still not a good idea. It's super fun to kiss someone new, but like so many decisions that seem like a good idea at the time, later on, not so much.

And if you've got kids, explaining the dating game to them is next to impossible, IMHO. For example, developmentally, toddlers are just figuring out the difference between you and me and others, friends vs. strangers, and learning to navigate the world. Isn't that enough? Do you really need to add meeting mom's new boyfriend after dad just moved out? Or vice versa?

If you Must Date Right After Filing for Divorce, I've Got 3 Simple Rules:
  1. Keep it private. Date when your child is with the other parent. Don't talk about it with your child and do your flirting and texting when your child isn't around. And for celebrities this is either difficult or impossible. Why not just chill for awhile? Even if you're being discreet, chances are good that nobody else is being discreet. Despite your best intentions, your new flame could easily be the topic of conversation for the moms at preschool. A good divorce is a boring divorce. And your goal is a boring divorce.
  2. Your child is not happy for you when you find the new love of your life. Most still harbor hope that mommy and daddy will get back together, so when a new person appears on the scene and makes reconciliation impossible, expect push back. Call some remarried friends who have step families and ask how much fun it is to deal with all that blended families bring.
  3. Take your time jumping into a new relationship. Play the field. Keep it casual and use if for the ego boost you seek, not to find a new spouse in record time. Do you really trust the person who picked your last spouse to pick your new one, especially just a couple of months after you pulled the trigger on your last relationship? There's no hurry. Statistically men are remarried one year following their divorce, and women in 2 years. 75% of 2nd marriages end in divorce, and even more 3rd and 4th marriages do. Seems to me that waiting a little longer to re-commit makes more sense.
Diana Mercer is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin 2010), and Your Divorce Advisor (Simon & Schuster 2001) and a mediator at ADR Services Peace Talks Mediation Services, Inc.