Rebound relationships have a bad reputation. After a breakup, people are typically told to take some time off to recover and work on themselves before returning to the dating world. And people dating someone who’s fresh off a breakup are told to keep their eyes peeled on signs of getting used as a band-aid.
A romance that starts shortly after the other ends seems chaotic, careless, and even toxic at times. An age-old adage states that “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else,” but we’re pretty sure that the rebound of the rebound relationship wouldn’t agree with that.
When you’re the one being used as a distraction or being treated poorly by someone who’s struggling to get over a bad breakup, chances are you’re not obsessed with the thought of a rebound relationship. Not all rebound relationships are doomed, but they’re not meant to be “the end game.”
And, here’s the thing – figuring out whether you’re on the receiving end of the abuse caused by a rebound relationship can be a tough task. What’s a rebound relationship? Why do people seek rebound relationships? What are the signs of a rebound relationship? More on that down below.
What’s a rebound relationship?
When you get together with someone who seems like the perfect match for you, you might not want to dig deeper and try to figure out whether there’s something wrong with them. Sussing out someone’s intentions early on can be a tough task, but remember to never turn a blind eye to red flags.
What do we mean by that? We wouldn’t argue that you need to enter every relationship by building a wall between the two of you, but you do need to protect your heart by being observant.
Maybe they talk about their ex every time they get the chance or maybe they’re adamant about having “no strings attached.” Perhaps they’re distant and detached every time you talk about the future or perhaps they’re reluctant to introduce you to their friends and family.
Rebound relationships might not be the worst thing someone can do when trying to get over a breakup, but they’re not everyone’s cup of tea for a reason.
By definition, rebound relationships are short, sweet, and emotionally confusing relationships that serve the purpose of filling a void after a breakup rather than dealing with the aftermath of the breakup head-on.
Whether they’re doing that on purpose or because they’re unable to understand the consequences of rebound relationships, people who effectively replace the old relationship with a new one typically end up even more miserable.
Rebound relationships sometimes work, but it’s hard to deny that they come with various risks that can mess with the person who’s on the receiving end. Why do people seek rebound relationships when they’re doomed from the get-go, though? Let’s find out!
Why do people seek rebound relationships?
People seek rebound relationships for a million different reasons. Whether they’re trying to get over a breakup, get a reaction out of someone, or form an emotional connection with someone, people turn to rebound relationships when they’re going through a tough time.
We do need to underline the fact that not everyone resorts to a rebound relationship on purpose. Sometimes people don’t understand that they’re desperately trying to get over someone by spending time with someone new. More often than not, rebound relationships happen by accident.
If you’re someone’s rebound, you might be struggling to understand the thought process of going on a date with someone or becoming exclusive with someone before you’re ready to move on from your past. It’s about time you figure out why people seek these relationships.
1. To get over a breakup
Breakups are hard, and the person resorting to a rebound relationship might be struggling to recover and move on.
Before you argue that people typically take time off to figure out what went wrong, decide what to do after the breakup, or even consider getting back together, understand that not everyone’s the same. Breakups are debilitating for people who are afraid of being alone, too.
When a person enters a rebound relationship, there’s a chance that they’re desperate or panicking about the prospects of never meeting “the one” or never getting married.
People do strange things for strange reasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Rebound relationships are perfectly healthy when both partners are on the same page. Both of you get to hang out with each other and mend each other’s broken hearts.
But when you’re on the receiving end of a rebound relationship, you might end up regretting your decision.
2. To fill a void
People who suffer from anxious attachment, poor self-esteem, or are simply narcissists might go from one relationship to another to fill a void. When you’re in a relationship, you rely on your partner to fulfill your emotional and physical needs.
Whether the two of you live together, see each other on a regular, or communicate with each other every moment of the waking hour, chances are that you’re dependent on that.
When you break up, you’re suddenly left with a lot of free time to think about everything that went right or wrong and to wonder whether you made the right decision. Some people end up reaching out to their ex and rekindling the old flame, but others turn to rebound relationships to prevent that from happening.
Rebound relationships are a means of distraction. However, they often fail when the person snaps back to reality and realizes that they’ve lowered their standards and entered a relationship that might not be right for them.
3. To get a reaction out of the ex
What better way to make your ex regret dumping you than to get with someone better than them?
We’re aware that getting a reaction out of your ex might not be the healthiest coping mechanism, but that’s something to consider when you’re trying to figure out why a person would seek a rebound relationship.
Whether they’re parading the new relationship on social media, packing on the PDA whenever they’re surrounded by people, or going on and on about how happy they are, there’s a chance that they’re trying to get a reaction out of their ex.
Maybe their ex follows them on social media or maybe they’re still in contact. Perhaps their ex keeps track of what they’re doing with their life or the two of them are an on-and-off couple anyway.
Whatever the case might be, that’s something to consider when you’re dating someone who’s fresh out of a relationship.
4. To form an emotional connection
Rebound relationships don’t need to be a bad decision on someone’s part. When a relationship ends, both partners are told to take time off, focus on what matters the most, and recover.
We’d argue that you’re better off taking that route because you’re more likely to open yourself emotionally when you’re ready. But there’s always a but when we’re talking about relationships.
People are different and that’s why we shouldn’t be surprised by people’s different ways of getting by after a breakup (or even divorce). Rebound relationships are a way for people to form emotional connections before they’re ready to form serious relationships.
When people are open and honest about their emotional capacity, rebound relationships can be quite healing and can result in lifelong friendships and even serious relationships. Going on dates and spending time with someone special can make them feel excited about life again after a difficult breakup.
What are the signs of a rebound relationship?
When discussing the dos and don’ts of rebound relationships, we do need to underline that honesty makes a world of difference. Rebound relationships might not be everyone’s way of dealing with difficult emotions, but they’re a great option to consider when you’re struggling to get out of your apartment.
Whether you’re spending your days scoffing down tubs and tubs of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or screaming your heart out whenever a Taylor Swift song comes up, you might need a moment where you get to dress up, go out, and be the center of someone’s attention – a.k.a. a rebound relationship.
We, however, can’t forget about the other side of the story. Rather than being the one who seeks a rebound relationship, you might be the one who’s on the receiving end of a rebound relationship – and you might be wondering what signs you need to keep an eye on before you make up your mind.
1. They’re rushing things with you
When you’re taken aback by the fact that your relationship went from 0 to 100 within the first few weeks of dating, that might be the red flag you’re on the hunt for.
Going from one relationship to another might not mean a thing, but excessive flattery, over-the-top gift-giving, and love-bombing almost always mean that something’s wrong.
Generally speaking, rebound relationships progress faster because the person who’s rebounding experiences a sudden surge of emotions that makes them believe they’re falling for someone new.
Because developing true emotions for someone new takes time, they’re probably experiencing physical attraction that makes them feel like they’ve made the right decision when they broke up with their previous partner.
2. They recently went through a breakup
Determining whether you’re the rebound means digging deeper. We’re aware that you might not want to talk about the exes on your date, but that’s something you need to do to ensure you’re getting the attention you deserve. We’re concerned with the when rather than the why, though.
When a person decides to go on dates, go back onto Tinder, and get back out there a week or two after they’ve gone through a bad breakup, that’s a red flag. Whether they’re heartbroken over the relationship or confused about what happened, chances are they’re not ready for something serious right away.
3. They talk about their ex all the time
We don’t even need to address that one, right? We do, however, need to underline that every emotion your partner might express toward their ex can be seen as a sign of a rebound relationship.
We know that most people deem positive emotions toward exes intolerable and inappropriate, but it’s the same thing with negative emotions, too.
Maybe your partner keeps bringing up every situation in which their ex made them angry or annoyed. Maybe your partner keeps comparing you to their ex or talking about how you’re better, more beautiful, or more open-minded.
When you move on from a breakup, you don’t feel the need to talk about your ex because you’re at peace with what happened between you two. When you don’t, however, you’re compelled to go on and on about your ex no matter who you’re with.
4. They’re bitter
Whenever you’re on a date, you feel like you’re walking on eggshells because you’re afraid you’re going to say something that’s going to trigger them. Sometimes they’re going on and on about their relationship and their ex.
Other times they’re annoyed by the entire gender and they’re blaming everyone for what happened to them. Other than that, they’re constantly complaining about everything. They’re moody. They’re critical of the waiter who served them or the chef who cooked their food.
They’re dissatisfied with their friends and family. There’s no question that these are the signs you need to keep your eyes on. They’re struggling to get over what happened to them and they’re taking you down with them.
5. They are emotionally unavailable
When the two of you are together, you spend most of the time talking to each other, making each other laugh, and having a great time. Whether you’re out on a date or watching Netflix under the covers, the two of you are perfect for each other. Well, except for the fact that your partner’s emotionally unavailable.
Whenever you try to have an open and honest conversation, they push you away. Whenever you’re down in the dumps, they don’t show up the way you need them to. Whenever you’re looking for a little closeness, they don’t fulfill your emotional needs – they simply can’t be there for you no matter what.
6. They compare you to their ex
It’s a normal, healthy part of a new relationship to talk about past relationships and partners. If your partner tells you that they’ve been in a relationship for three years and that they’ve broken up because grew apart, that’s OK. If your partner talks about their ex’s food preferences and hobbies, that’s odd.
When your partner starts comparing you to their ex, that’s a sign for you to reevaluate your decision to be with them. Rebound relationships are a burden when your partner expects you to behave and appear the same way as their ex – too much ex-talk screams a continued attachment.
7. They’re constantly posting about you on social media
When you get together with someone you’re obsessed with, you want to scream to the rest of the world that you’re taken – so you post them on social media. What might seem like a little “soft launch” of your relationship on Instagram might be your partner’s way of getting a reaction out of their ex.
When do you need to draw the line?
A simple selfie here and there doesn’t mean a thing – but when your partner continues to post about you on a regular, takes a million selfies with you even when you’re trying to watch a movie or do the dishes, and raves about you to everyone even though you’ve been together for a little while, there’s a chance they’re trying to make their ex regret breaking up with them.
Rebound relationships are oftentimes a way for people to get back at their exes.
8. They’re using you as a distraction
Trust that gut feeling that’s telling you you’re out of place when you’re with your partner. When you’re the rebound, you’re probably not aware of everything that’s going on when you’re not around, but you do know what’s going on when you’re with your partner.
Whether they’re adamant about watching Netflix and ordering takeout because they’re “homebodies” or they’re showing you off to everyone because they’re enamored with you one week after meeting you, they’re probably using you and hiding something from you.
Do rebound relationships last?
Rebound relationships typically last between one month and one year, but there’s no way of knowing whether a rebound relationship might grow into something more serious with time. Rebounds are based on the initial infatuation and that’s why they’re not that likely to go past the “honeymoon stage.”
When the relationship progresses, the two might start to notice the differences, the little things that annoy them about each other, and the big things that prevent them from having a future together.
What happens with rebound relationships, too, seems to be that the partners don’t even get to know each other beforehand. They rush things because they’re desperate and they end up hurting each other in the process. But that’s not the case with every rebound relationship ever.
When the two bond over bad breakups, tough times when they’ve been there for each other, and difficult decisions they’ve made, there’s a chance that a rebound relationship might become something much, much more.
Are rebound relationships healthy?
Rebound relationships aren’t right for everyone, there’s no question about that.
On one hand, rebounds are unhealthy when they’re used as a way of getting back at your ex, mantling your emotions, and fleeing your responsibility. On the other, they’re healthy when they’re formed between two consenting people who know what they’re doing.
Rebound relationships come with various risks, though, and that’s something to consider when deciding whether or not you’re ready to be a part of one. Where do we even start?
When you enter a relationship with someone who went through a bad breakup a week or two ago, the two of you might not be on the same page. Whether they’re trying to forget about the breakup, get over the relationship, or fill the void, they’re probably not on the market for a commitment.
Moreover, people who seek rebound relationships oftentimes go for partners that look exactly like their partner or look like the exact opposite. When you figure out that the reason why your date wanted to go out with you was because you reminded them of their ex, you might want to throw a punch or two.
With that out of the way, we’d argue that rebound relationships aren’t the right way to go. When you get out of a relationship, you need time to go through “the cycle of grief” to make sure you don’t bring the baggage of your previous relationship into your new one.
What should you do if you’re in a rebound relationship?
When you find yourself in a rebound relationship, ask yourself if that’s a healthy situation for you. We’d argue that it’s your partner’s responsibility to be upfront with you from the get-go, but it’s your responsibility to decide whether a rebound relationship is something you’re up for.
Now, your perception of the situation might differ depending on whether you’re recovering from a bad breakup or going out with someone who’s recovering from a bad breakup. If you’re on the receiving end of a rebound relationship, ask yourself the following questions:
“How do I feel?”
“What do I want?”
“What would I say to someone in my position?”
“Do I feel lonely in this relationship?”
“Do I feel like the third wheel in this relationship?”
“Does this relationship meet my emotional and physical needs?”
If you’re thinking of seeking a rebound relationship after a bad breakup, ask yourself the following questions:
“Am I ready for a relationship?”
“Am I processing the past relationship?”
“Did I learn anything from the past relationship?”
“Am I being honest with myself?”
“Am I being honest with my partner?”
“Am I relying on someone else to validate my worth?”
When you’re done digging deeper, make sure you make a decision that’s going to honor your needs. Whatever you do, remember that it’s never healthy to use another person as a band-aid for your own pain and that you are far too worthy of a healthy relationship to be that band-aid, either.