Rebound relationships are complicated. At the surface, they look like any ordinary love affair but when you dig beneath the surface, it can be a complex ‘entanglement’ of unresolved feelings and impulsivity.
In this article, I want to dissect the idea of a rebound relationship to equip you with enough information to spot it and decide whether it’s worth the trouble or not.
My assumption is that you’re here because something has happened in your rebound relationship and you’re struggling to figure out what to do next. If so, you’re in the right place.
I’ve been in my fair share of rebound relationships which I will talk about below. I hope that by the end of this article, you find some peace, solace and comfort.
Without wasting any time, let’s get into it.
What is a rebound relationship?
A rebound relationship takes place when someone hastily commits to another person straight after a breakup.
Rebound relationships often stem from a desire to escape the shock of a breakup.
Given that the rebounder was in a relationship, transitioning to being single is often jarring, scary, uncomfortable and confusing.
Rather than endure the pain of discomfort, the rebounder quickly seeks out a new relationship to escape those uncomfortable feelings while also attempting to fill the void created by his or her previous relationship.
Another feature of a rebound relationship worth mentioning is heightened physical attraction for someone new without developing the necessary bond and feelings usually associated with the desire to be in a relationship.
As such, the rebounder is functioning mostly on a superficial layer of attraction and connection which can either be nurtured into something real or erased and dismantled with time.
Are rebound relationships real?
Yes, absolutely. Rebound relationships are completely real and so are the feelings of attraction and care, to some degree.
Irrespective of whether you are coming off a breakup or not, you wouldn’t just date someone just for the sake of not being alone or to escape your heartbreak.
There’s always a degree of genuine attraction and feelings associated with all rebound relationships.
This is why one should never rule out the possibility that rebound relationships could last for a long time, if not indefinitely.
With that being said, you’re probably wondering what the average lifespan of a rebound relationship is so let’s talk about that in more detail.
How long do rebound relationships last?
The average rebound relationship lasts between 3 to 6 months before ending. There are cases when rebound relationships can end within the first month or after 6 months.
From personal experience, most of my rebound relationships ended within 3 months.
Very rarely did one of those relationships make it beyond a few months, unfortunately.
However, my best friend had a rebound relationship that lasted at least a year before ending so it truly depends on the individuals involved and the circumstances at play.
Why do rebound relationships fail?
There are a number of common reasons why rebound relationships fail and the most popular is simply that you or your partner have not moved on from their previous relationship.
This often occurs when the rebound relationship came into existence relatively quickly after a breakup.
For instance, during my very early 20’s, I jumped into a relationship with someone I barely knew after a breakup.
I didn’t take the time to process my feelings, come to terms with the end of my previous relationship or deal with the emotional toll of a split.
My rebound relationship was great up until I started thinking about my ex again and experiencing separation anxiety.
At first, I was allowing my rebound relationship to consume my thoughts and feelings.
It felt great. I was smitten. My new partner was fun, caring and beautiful.
The novelty of being with someone new creates wonderful feelings of change and excitement.
But, the novelty eventually wears off and at an increasingly fast rate in rebound relationships because you already know what it feels like to be in a committed relationship.
As soon as the novelty starts to disappear and the reality of your breakup dawns on you, things change.
Suddenly, nostalgia infects your heart and mind.
Something as simple as a fragrance brings back a flood of feelings and memories about your ex.
Those feelings of love and care you still had for your ex during the breakup resurface.
Eventually, your ex starts to occupy more space in your heart and mind again, leaving you with very little room to navigate a rebound relationship out of stormy waters.
By the time you realize what’s happening, you’re too far gone and the relationship you’re in feels like a facade.
You can’t outrun or escape the change and unresolved feelings for an ex after a breakup.
At which point, this causes issues within your rebound relationship and it ends.
Related post: What to do if your ex is in a rebound relationship
Signs you’re in a rebound relationship
If you’ve never been in a rebound relationship before or are unaware of the telltale signs of someone who is rebounding, I would insist that you pay attention to the following signs.
1. You barely know each other
It’s only been about a week or two and things have already progressed to a relationship.
I know that some people make a case for love at first sight but that isn’t exactly realistic or smart.
Relationships are a big deal and require some degree of thought before committing to one.
I remember meeting a woman who had just been separated and divorced.
We hit it off immediately and ended up in a relationship two weeks later. But, the more we learned about each other, the more we realized that we rushed things.
Evidently, she was rebounding and everything that I discussed prior to this came to fruition.
2. The relationship started soon after a breakup
This is the most popular and telltale sign that you’re in a rebound relationship. Jumping from one relationship to another isn’t healthy.
It takes time and effort to work through the effects of a breakup.
Feelings don’t diminish overnight and the baggage from a failed relationship requires patience to sort through.
Jumping into a new relationship a week or month after a break up is a sign of rebounding that shouldn’t be ignored.
3. It’s a ploy to make an ex jealous
This is obviously one of the more disheartening and frustrating signs of a rebound relationship because nobody wants to be used.
Sometimes it’s intentional whereas other times it’s just an unintentional and subconscious move to deal with a breakup.
But, if you find that your new partner or you are constantly flashing the new relationship all over in hopes of an ex seeing it, it’s cause for concern.
4. The ex is a popular or touchy topic
In an ordinary relationship with someone who is truly over their ex, talking about an ex isn’t a big deal.
It’s neither much of a topic.
You may share things about the past with each other in a non-invested but sincere way as a means of opening up to your partner.
However, when you or your partner constantly talk about an ex and the relationship, it could be regarded as a sign of rebounding.
That was something that ruined a short lived rebound relationship for me.
On the flip side, not being able to talk about an ex without turning aggressive or hypersensitive can also be a sign of someone who is rebounding.
Related post: Signs your ex is pretending to be over you
How to have a rebound relationship that lasts
There seems to be an overarching idea floating around the internet that rebound relationships are toxic and destined for doom. I, myself, have advocated the very same message on countless occasions.
Even in this article, I would caution most people against rebound relationships but not in all situations.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that a rebound relationship can transition in a long-lasting authentic relationship that exists beyond the effects on any breakup.
But, there’s a lot of work involved in making a rebound relationship work and we should discuss that now.
Communication is of utmost importance.
Without the ability to discuss your previous breakup or your partner’s breakup, it can be difficult to weather the storm that follows.
You could be a sounding board and support structure that helps your partner work through their unresolved feelings for their ex or the break up until they are completely over it.
Sometimes, this may require you to back off or take things slow and give your partner some space to work through their feelings.
I would say that you need an infinite amount of patience, thick skin and the ability to avoid judging your partner for how they feel.
If you can muster up the mental strength and emotional maturity to deal with that, you’re in the clear.
At some point or another, your partner will come face to face with the pain and complex feelings they tried to evade from their breakup.
You can never outrun it.
When it does happen, you can’t predict how someone may respond or react to it.
That’s why being patient, supportive, secure and non-judgmental is imperative.
On the flip side, if you’re the one who is rebounding, the only way you can make this new relationship work is if you put in the work to deal with your emotions without laying it all on your partner.
Find a healthy balance.
Speak to other people in your life about the breakup, don’t just dump everything on your new partner.
Most importantly, be honest to each other.
Brutal honesty and transparency will work wonders in saving the relationship so long as you both have the desire to do so.
Rebound relationships have the potential to teach you many valuable lessons without them falling apart.
It can teach you to be resilient when fighting for true love as well as how to be infinitely patient with someone you care about.
Personally, rebound relationships taught me to be more compassionate and appreciative of love.
It’s a gift and should be cherished.
Love must be nurtured for it to thrive and not used a tool for escaping discomfort.
When should you end a rebound relationship?
A rebound relationship should end when it becomes toxic.
It’s not always the case that they become unhealthy which is why it’s important to be aware of the signs of a toxic relationship.
So that you can make a fair assessment of the relationship and what needs to happen.
Usually, if there’s a lot of arguments, insecurity, jealousy, coldness and an inability to trust each other, it might be time to walk away.
The biggest sign would be if the rebounder has doubts about their feelings regarding the relationship.
This is usually the beginning of the end. Chasing and trying to logically break things down will barely help. If anything, it may be detrimental.
As hard as it may be, taking a break or parting ways may be the only solution for now.
The possibility of rekindling things down the road is an option so long as the rebound relationship doesn’t turn ugly or nasty.
Reasons to avoid rebound relationships
Up until now, the information in this article has been catered around explaining the mechanics of a rebound relationship but I want to talk about why it would be wise to avoid it from my own perspective and experience.
Just because a rebound relationship can be short-lived or destined to fail doesn’t mean you walk away feeling okay or unharmed by it.
The end of any relationship is painful.
The complexity of the emotions involved after the end of a rebound relationship is uncanny.
Imagine accumulating all this separation anxiety, sadness, discomfort, uncertainty and confusion from two relationships, back to back, without working through either of them before the other!
You’ll be worse off than you ever were.
Realistically speaking, the rebounder has to be prepared to shoulder the guilt of hurting a new person who may genuinely like or love them.
That’s very difficult to deal with.
It can leave a person feeling horrible about themselves and I’d hate for that to happen to you.
Let’s say that there were genuine feelings involved in the rebound relationship, now the rebounder is left with unresolved feelings for two people.
All this can be avoided by just taking things very slow.
I read an article recently by a popular publication that really rubbed me the wrong way.
The author or writer tried to sell this idea that rebound relationships are a good way to help you forget your ex while also enjoying a non-committal relationship with the benefits of sex without strings attached from your end.
But what about the other person?
Is it okay to just use someone to run away from the pain of your breakup?
Is it justifiable to lead someone on just to get a dose of confidence whilst they are investing themselves seriously into the rebound relationship?
I don’t think so.
Morally and ethically, I think that’s reprehensible and for some reason, this author is trying to create a different narrative.
The end does not justify the means.
You might as well engage in casual dating to meet new people who are interested in and attracted to you.
I’m willing to bet that you would derive the same psychological benefits from casual dating as you would from using someone through a rebound relationship.
The author kept linking to a study conducted by the University of Toronto about people who derived some benefits from rebound relationships but in my opinion, it’s flawed.
None of what was shared actually proved that rebound relationships actually provide long term benefits.
If anything, I would argue for the opposite.
Someone who is terribly insecure, upset and bothered by their weight may derive enjoyment from cheating on their diet or skipping a workout but that enjoyment is short-lived and is eventually followed by guilt, self-loathing, disappointment and setbacks.
In other words, I’m making the argument that entering a rebound relationship with the intention of forgetting your ex or to feel better is nothing more than an example of instant gratification that often leads to a worsening of your actual problem.
The only time I would advocate a rebound relationship is if your intentions are pure.
If you are sure that there is a genuine connection between the two of you then go for it.
Rebound relationships can be a handful to deal with and sometimes the cards are stacked against you but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth fighting for.
Every relationship is unique in some way or another.
At the end of the day, whether a rebound relationship survives the toughest test during the first few months depends entirely on how much you care about each other and the work you’re willing to put into it.
I hope you found the answers you’re looking for regarding rebound relationships in this article. Please leave your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.