Your first few dates were fantastic—until you discovered they had just recently broken up with a long-term partner, and you were the first person they dated after the breakup. Enter the rebound relationship.
Upon learning this, all you think is, “Red Flag Alert!” And guess what? You may be right. No matter how well you get along with them, no one wants to be the rebound in a relationship. It’s not healthy for you or them.
Rebound Relationship-What Is It?
Rebound relationships are those where one partner is still grieving and healing after the demise of a prior relationship, typically a recent one.
“Rebounds,” as they’re commonly called, distract people while they take their time getting over their lost (or unrequited) love. Sadly, they often end in heartache for one or both parties involved. This is because the one with the heartbreak needs to spend time healing instead of getting involved in a new relationship.
Before becoming involved with someone new, a person should sort through what went wrong with their previous relationship and figure out what they need and desire in their next one. Often, people don’t do that, figuring it’s easier to get over their ex with someone new.
Do Rebounds Ever Work?
People often feel that rebound relationships don’t work because a person needs time to recover and heal from a breakup without becoming involved in another relationship.
Usually, with rebounds, emotions snowball and become intense much faster than if they had taken time to heal. They often become highly attached, which puts the intimacy of the past relationship on the rebound.
A rebound can feel exhilarating because you are crushing hard, which can be fun, and it also helps alleviate the pain from the previous loss.
This is a form of self-medication, and the rebound is considered more like a “treatment” than a partner. And like any form of self-medication, you almost always come crashing down.
Of course, you want them to consider you something more than the replacement, only to be dumped a few weeks or months later. So it’s best to keep a watchful eye on a person you’re dating to ensure they’re not on the rebound.
To help, we’ve made a list of specific things to watch for when dating a person who’s fresh off a breakup
Signs You’re the Rebound in Your Relationship
1. You’re Involved with a Constant Monogamist
You know serial monogamists–they’ve had a string of monogamous relationships for years, one right behind the other. If the individual you’re dating seems to have a high body count of “serious” relationships, you may be the filler until the next relationship comes along.
This means you’re not as special as they’re telling you. In other words, you’re the preview they enjoy while waiting for the main attraction.
What you should do: If you have a serial monogamist on your hands, your options are to
- ditch them and head for the hills or
- roll the dice and bet on being the next “main attraction”
It’s a fifty-fifty shot at winning “the prize,” and only you know where you stand within the relationship. If you like this person and feel like you could be The One for them and they are for you, it may be a risk worth taking.
However, if your relationship is on its last legs before it even gets started, you may want to cut your losses and move on before you become too invested.
2. They Recently Broke up with Someone Else
This may seem obvious, but it’s not always clear when you’ve fallen for someone new. When people move on too quickly and try to speed up the healing process, they waste their time and yours! It takes time to fall in love, but also, it takes time to fall out of love.
What you should do: Take a step away from the relationship. Do you know when they broke up? If you don’t, be sure to get all the details.
If it was a recent parting–or if they have been hooking up with randoms or recently hanging out, end it.
However, you can consider keeping in touch with them and maintaining a possible friendship or a casual DM/texting situation.
This isn’t a game, so don’t keep them in the dark about why you’re backing off. Instead, inform them why you’re setting your boundaries. You’re attempting to make the best choice for yourself while setting up healthy limitations.
3. They’re Still in Love with Their Ex (Or They Despise Them)
If they say they’re still in love with their ex, you have a problem. If you’re on a first date and all they can do is talk about how great their ex was, they may be dating too soon.
However, also watch out for the hate talk. This demonstrates that you’d better watch out because you’re probably a rebound. In any case, extreme emotions toward an ex indicate unresolved feelings.
What should you do: Watch for how they talk about their ex. If there’s indifference, your crush has healed from their past and is ready to date.
You can easily find this out when you ask why their last relationship ended. If they rant about how awful their ex was or rattle on about how wonderful and caring they were and how much they miss them, it’s time to move on because you’re wasting your time.
Also, watch for more than what they say because they may not be telling the truth. So, don’t be fooled–if you see their ex’s pictures prominently displayed all over their place, including the nightstand table, they’re still in the picture in more ways than one. Move on!
4. They Immediately Want You All to Themselves
If you’ve only been on one or two dates and they’re already asking, “Are we exclusive?” your relationship–if you can even call it that–is moving way too fast. Even if it’s not a rebound relationship, it’s moving too fast!
This type of person doesn’t necessarily want you, but they want to be in a relationship, and you happen to be that “lucky” person. They’re missing those times of having one person to hang out with on a Friday night or someone to cuddle with on a cold Sunday morning. Since their ex is gone, they need another applicant, and you’ll do for now.
These kinds of relationships usually don’t last for long because they progress too soon before getting to know someone genuinely. So, once they find out who you really are (and vice versa), they realize you’re not the one.
What you should do: This is a big-time red flag. When someone pushes a relationship quickly, before you’re ready, it wreaks of desperation. Or worse, they may have a controlling personality.
5. Their Friends Try to Warn You
When you meet their friends, and it appears they’re trying to give you the side eye to warn you about something, you may want to take heed.
You can instantly feel the tension and sense their discomfort when you walk into the room. Take that as a sign that something is going on. Your crush may still be involved with their ex, or their relationship with their ex isn’t over.
Friends know all about the history of their past relationships, including their latest one, so they understand the relationship patterns their friend typically defaults to. Always listen to their friend’s signs because you can learn a lot about them.
What you should do: Keep a watchful eye on how your crush acts around their friends before making sudden moves. If they say something “jokingly” about the recent breakup or how their friend, your crush, has a bad habit of rushing into relationships, take the hint because, most likely, they aren’t joking.
6. You Sense You’re Only a Hookup
As much as we sometimes hate to admit it, we know when the relationship is more about the physical and less about the getting-to-know-each-other part.
Unfortunately, if they only call you after hours instead of taking you on a proper date, you’re a convenient hookup for them while they’re on the rebound.
What you should do: If you’re in a real relationship, you both will open up to explore your deeper emotions and show vulnerability instead of giving the ol’ “U up?” texts.
It’s not about being a prude, either. You’re simply setting healthy boundaries that keep you from being the 3:00 am hookup.
7. They’re Still Extra Friendly with the Ex
Maybe they just broke up, but even so, they shouldn’t still be hanging out with their ex–even if they claim it was a friendly breakup. There should be some boundaries for remaining friends with your ex; most times, those limitations don’t happen immediately.
These boundaries go for Snapchatting, texting, calling, and other ways of remaining connected with the ex.
It’s not that they can’t eventually become friends, but if you’re the person who is just coming into the situation, your crush should be reassuring you that their old relationship is dunzo.
What you should do: When a relationship is over, your crush should change the relationship status, and their ex needs to be dropped (at least for the time being) from being their friend. However, you don’t have the right to tell them who they can and can’t be friends with.
They need to do this independently if they’re interested in pursuing a relationship with you. If they can’t, that’s fine. Tell them to call when they’ve truly moved on from their ex (or, at the very least, created some healthy boundaries.)
Why Do Some Rebounds Fail?
The reality is that at some point, most romantic relationships are going to fail. Otherwise, the first or second person you dated would end up being your spouse.
One research was performed to study those factors that lead some relationships to last a long time while others don’t.
The study follows over 3000 people, and the fascinating point is that time is a factor that determines a relationship’s risk of failing. In other words, the longer you’re with your partner, the less likely you are to end the relationship.
In 2014, the study noted that the longer a couple remained together in a relationship, the more issues and hurdles they had to deal with, the more time and effort they had each invested into their relationship, and the stronger the bond was that they had together.
Whether or not it’s a rebound relationship, if you are already a year into it, you’re less likely to break up than if you were only a few weeks (or months) in. So, don’t allow a rebound situation to deter you too much.
Another published study followed people who had broken up recently and tracked the ones who quickly got into a new relationship (a rebound.)
The study found that the ones in a rebound relationship reported that people who were single for a short time after the breakup had higher levels of happiness, self-esteem, trust, and well-being.
It was also reported that they felt more vengeful toward their ex and compared their current relationship with their old one more than those who were single for a more significant amount of time (the non-rebounds.)
However, the research found that rebound relationships weren’t always bad, and there were even a few decent aspects to them. This proved that not all rebound relationships are destined for failure.
But are you willing to take that chance? It’s always worth it to pay attention to the red flags and signs in any new relationship–and someone being on the rebound is one of them. To do what’s best for yourself, ensure your eyes are open, set healthy boundaries, and be realistic.
How Long Do Relationships Typically Last?
Every relationship is different, so there is no typical timeframe for a rebound to last. There have been examples of relationships that began as rebounds and turned into marriages, but those are relatively rare.
Any relationship you enter into, rebound or not, has a risk of ending sooner than preferred, but what is the average timeframe?
Generally speaking, if a rebound relationship began because the hurt partner just wanted to find someone to help them through their tough time, it won’t last very long.
Until that person can move on without using you as a remedy to their heartbreak, they won’t be ready for a long-term relationship, and you should get out.
That’s one big risk with dating a person on the rebound. As they heal, they may figure out they’d rather be alone or, worse, ready to get back together with their ex.
So, even though every timeline varies for relationships, this is the timeframe to watch out for. But also remember not all rebounds are doomed for disaster.
Why Do Guys Move On Faster than Women after a Breakup?
No sooner than she walks out the front door does he call the next one over to “hang out.” Before she can bring herself to rip down his pictures on her wall, he’s coupled up with your successor. These situations are not always the case, but why does it always feel like a guy moves on faster than a girl after a breakup?
Understandably, you might believe it has much to do with him not caring about you or not being truly invested in their relationship.
You might believe he moved on so quickly because it’s a sign that he isn’t broken up about your relationship’s demise and that he never had deep feelings for you in the first place. You picture him shrugging his shoulders as he hums cavalierly, “Another One bites the Dust.”
While these assumptions are reasonable, they’re entirely incorrect. Whether or not they show it, when men invest emotionally in a relationship, their feelings are as deep as yours. So, when their relationship tanks, they can hurt just as much as you, sometimes more.
Unlike most women, men don’t have a circle of friends who can support them through their times of sadness. They can’t cry to their family or friends because society doesn’t consider that behavior acceptable to men. If it were, more men would engage in it.
Instead, society tells men to “suck it up” and “walk it off.” So, how do men get these hurt emotions out of their system? They seek out a person to focus their attention on, both sexually and emotionally.
And for them, the sooner, the better because the new woman will heal his wounds by letting him return to the comfortable world of being the unruffled, tough man that society says he is. This new woman will help him return to feeling masculine and allow him to control himself and his emotions again. Once that happens, order is restored, and all is right in the world again.
So, to answer the age-old question as to why it seems men can move on faster after a relationship than women–moving on is proportional to his pain. The faster the hookup, the deeper the hurt.
If you’re in a rebound relationship, it’s okay because it happens. Hopefully, you’ll find out you’re the rebound early enough in the relationship to break things off easily. Take as much time as you need to heal, and then pick yourself up and start the search again.
However, you may want to try a reliable dating app this time. This way, you know before meeting whether your match is on the rebound, and if so, you can move on.