Rebound Relationships: What To Look Out For

piggyback man and woman

Getting out of a long-term relationship with someone is undeniably one of the hardest things for us emotionally. It takes a big toll on our emotional wellbeing, and it often takes a large chunk of time to heal. It is tempting to make ourselves feel better by diving right back into the dating game. But, when someone jumps right into another relationship right after their last one ends, this can be a sign of a rebound relationship. Although some rebound relationships work out in the end, a lot of them are initiated for the wrong reasons. If you think you might be in a rebound relationship, here’s what to look out for.

What Is a Rebound Relationship?

A rebound relationship is a relationship directly after a breakup. The person gets into another relationship before taking the time to heal themselves. Sometimes people intentionally rebound, and others do it accidentally.  When somebody is seeking a rebound relationship, whether they are aware of it or not, it’s because they have a lot of negative feelings, including sadness, hurt, and guilt. For people who are purposely getting into a rebound relationship, it is often because they want to make their ex jealous, which only ends in everyone being hurt. 

Signs You’re In a Rebound Relationship

If you’re not sure if you’re in a rebound relationship, here are some tell-tale signs to look out for.  For one, if your partner never stops talking about their ex, they might not be ready to move on to another relationship. It doesn’t matter if they’re saying negative or positive things about their ex. If their ex is still on their mind, they clearly are not ready and have not completely healed. However, if someone opens up to you about their negative past with an ex, don’t automatically assume that you’re a rebound. It’s a good sign if they are being open and honest with you! The only time you need to worry is if they talk about this person constantly.  If the relationship feels like it’s moving too fast, it may be a sign of a rebound relationship. When somebody tries to rush themselves into another relationship and wants to be serious fast, it’s often because they are trying to replace their ex with a new person. You don’t want to be that new person, as this type of relationship almost always fails.  If the majority of the relationship is centered around sex, you may find yourself in a rebound relationship. This doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. If the two of you are on the same page of keeping things casual, this can be a feasible situation. But if it feels like someone is just using you for sex, this can be a major red flag of a rebound relationship. Another sign of a rebound relationship is if the person is giving you mixed signals. A lot of the time, people who have just gotten out of a serious relationship aren’t sure what they want. So, you’ll notice that they act wishy-washy around you. One day they’re confessing their love for you, and the next they’re leaving your text message unread. Don’t let someone play with your feelings. If you’re not sure if they are meaning to send mixed signals, always communicate your concerns before acting on anything. Finally, if it seems like the person only likes you for the attention you give them, it’s most likely a rebound relationship. For example, if this person posts your picture on social media right away without discussing it with you, it might be a sign that they’re doing it for their ex to see. Also, when we are emotionally vulnerable, it’s natural for us to crave attention, as it makes us feel better. It also provides a distraction from all the sadness. But it is certainly not a foundation from which a new, healthy relationship can blossom.   woman and man hugging and smiling

How Soon to Start Dating After a Breakup

After you get out of a long-term relationship, it can be hard to know when you have fully healed. So how do you know when to start dating again? This is a tricky question. A lot of people never really feel ready to love someone again.  Oftentimes, you’ll do a lot of your healing at the beginning of your next relationship regardless of when it is. This is because the unhealthy or negative habits you’ve formed in your past relationship come up again. So it takes a while to rewire your brain on how to form healthy connections with people again.  The thing that really matters when you start dating again is that you’re not thinking about your ex anymore. This means no texting them, no talking to their family, and no stalking on social media; you get the picture. Even if you say you don’t have any feelings left for them, you’re not going to truly move on until you fully delete them from your life. Once you haven’t thought about them for a period of time, then you are ready to get back into the dating pool.

How Long Do Rebound Relationships Normally Last?

The reality is that rebound relationships never really last long. Unless you’ve completely healed from your past relationship, it is nearly impossible to give your everything to someone again. The other person will likely eventually realize this and end things.  When comparing women and men, studies have found that men tend to hop into rebound relationships faster than women do. This is because the emotional breakdown hits men later than it does women. For women, the pain and sadness are often felt right away, whereas with men, a common coping mechanism is finding a distraction and bottling up all their feelings. 

What To Do if You’re Dating Someone Who Is Rebounding

When you realize that the person you’re newly dating might be rebounding, it can be a scary feeling. It leads you to think that everything this person is making you feel is a scam. If they aren’t completely over their ex, how can they put their everything into you? We feel your pain. If you’re with somebody who is rebounding, take a step back and examine the red flags in the relationship. If things feel too good to be true, this person may be trying to replace the love they once had with you, and that’s not cool. If this sounds like you, it’s time to have a serious conversation with your partner. Having this discussion in person rather than over the phone will come across as more sincere and it’ll give you both the opportunity to get everything out on the table. For the other person, this will likely provide them with some clarity and, hopefully, get them to understand the complexity of their emotions. If you are set on ending things with this person, find an appropriate time to let them know that you don’t think things are working out. As they are probably already in a fragile state, be gentle with your tone of voice, but still be clear in your reasoning. There’s nothing worse than being broken up with without a reason. If you are still interested in them, it’s best to suggest that they take their time and space to heal from the breakup before continuing things. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut off all communication. However, you don’t want to continue getting more serious with them until they’ve worked through what happened. 

man and woman hugging in front of grey wall

Can Rebound Relationships Work?

Usually, rebound relationships don't work. This is because people hop into them way too quickly without allowing themselves time to heal. In some instances, however, rebound relationships are able to have some success.  When the person who has gotten out of a breakup heals within the initial parts of the new relationship, it can transform into something healthy. At first, it was purely a rebound situation where the person who was broken up with is trying to mask feelings of sadness. But over time, this person can start to realize there is better out there and naturally heal from the breakup. If the rebound relationship has lasted long enough, there is definitely potential for a long-term, committed partnership.  Not sure if the relationship has moved into something more healthy? Look no further. Here are some signs that your once rebound relationship has transformed into a healthy relationship. For one, things are now moving at a steady and natural pace. Healthy love comes naturally; it cannot be forced. Both people in the relationship feel comfortable with where things are, and there is open communication about the stage the relationship is in.  Another component of a healthy relationship, and arguably the most important, is trust. You shouldn’t have to question the other person’s intentions or be worried that they’ll hurt you. Of course, we all have our walls put up somewhat. But if you don’t have any confidence in your partner, it’s a sign that there’s a lack of trust, which is not healthy. One of the most essential parts of a healthy relationship is honesty, which goes hand-in-hand with trust. When you’re always honest with someone, it doesn’t give your partner any reason not to trust you. A healthy relationship is built up from a solid foundation of honesty and trust. Also, it’s crucial that you and your partner have respect for each other. You should be able to set boundaries and not worry that they won’t be honored. Any person who doesn’t respect your needs is not a person you want in your life.  Lastly, all healthy relationships should have some sort of healthy conflict. When you have a disagreement with your partner, which will inevitably happen, it’s important that you are comfortable discussing it with them without the fear that something bad will happen. When you engage in healthy conflict, you are solving the root of the issue and coming up with a solution so that it won’t happen again. 

Why Do Rebound Relationships Feel Like Love?

When someone gets into a rebound relationship, it’s often because they miss the feeling of being in love with someone. Since all the habits and routines they once had with their ex are gone, they search for someone else to fulfill those needs. In other words, they are trying to replicate the feeling they once had with somebody else, which never really works out in the end. 

Pros of a Rebound Relationship

When you engage in a rebound relationship, most of the time you end up playing with the other person’s feelings. For this reason, it’s never recommended to jump into any relationship without the intent of seriously being with a person. However, if you notice you are in a rebound, and you’re almost or all the way healed from your breakup, there are definitely some pros of rebound relationships worth mentioning.  Firstly, a rebound relationship can boost your confidence. We all know that feeling when you get out of a breakup where your self-esteem is shot and you feel like you’ll never love or be loved again. So when someone gives you the attention that you were lacking before, it greatly improves your confidence levels.   Rebound relationships provide one of the best distractions for getting over your ex for good. Thus, they’ll make you get over your ex faster and more easily. When you have someone treating you better than your ex did, you’ll start to realize that there is better out there.  Also, rebound relationships encourage us to be more adventurous. Oftentimes, when you get out of a long-term relationship that was perhaps toxic or unhealthy, you begin to go past your comfort zones. This can be a good thing for you, as it can make you realize that you want different things than you once thought you did. Lastly, rebound relationships can give you hope for the future. This goes hand-in-hand with the last point, but when you get into a new relationship with someone who treats you better, you realize that there is much better out there. You’re also proving to yourself that you are strong enough to get through this (because you are!) and ready to move on to bigger and better things.  woman and man having fun outside

Cons of a Rebound Relationship

With the pros of a rebound relationship come the cons. Arguably, there are plenty more cons that outweigh the pros. This doesn’t mean you should avoid rebound relationships altogether, but be aware of the cons that come with them.  If you hop into a new relationship within days of a breakup, you really haven’t had any time to reflect on your feelings. So one of the main cons is that a rebound relationship is only a temporary distraction. When your rebound leaves, you’ll be sent into a spiral of negative emotions that you’ve bottled up for a long time.  Also, a rebound relationship hinders you from facing the conflict that ended the long-term relationship. More often than not, both parties are somewhat at fault for the end of a relationship. Whether you were equally at fault or the other person was almost completely at fault, we all have some sort of unresolved conflict within ourselves that we have to face at some point. So when you dive into a rebound relationship right away, it can prohibit you from facing this conflict, and it will only internalize and cause more issues down the line.  Another con of a rebound relationship occurs if there are any petty emotions, and a lot of times there are! Once you get out of a relationship with your long-term ex, you may feel a lot of resentment towards them. So, you go ahead and jump into another relationship to try to make them jealous. This is undoubtedly unhealthy for all parties. It sends mixed signals to your new partner and often ends in feelings being hurt. For you, it’s not solving any problems, and it’s definitely not helping your case of getting back with your ex (if that’s your goal).  Lastly, a lot of people who get into a rebound relationship do it with someone who is eerily similar to their ex. This goes back to the point of trying to mimic the feelings you once had which are now gone. There is a reason you and your ex broke up, so getting with someone who is just like them isn’t going to solve anything. It’s completely normal to miss your ex from time to time, but finding someone like them will likely end in the same result.

The Bottom Line

Rebound relationships are a natural part of the dating experience, so don’t be down on yourself if you’re in one. However, it’s important to identify the reasons behind you being with this new person. If it’s purely to get over your ex, maybe it’s time to end things before you majorly hurt someone’s feelings. But if you think you’re ready to finally move on, some long-lasting couples have found success after initially being labeled a rebound. 

Was this article helpful?

About Zeen

Power your creative ideas with pixel-perfect design and cutting-edge technology. Create your beautiful website with Zeen now.