Do you suspect you’re in a rebound relationship?
Maybe you’ve recently experienced a painful break-up, and you’ve found someone new who makes you feel desirable again.
Or you may be with a new person who is just coming off a previous relationship, and you wonder if you’re just the soft landing spot while they heal and then move on.
Either way, a rebound relationship brings its own level of confusion and potential pain, as one or both of the partners aren’t emotionally healthy enough to make it work.
What Is a Rebound Relationship?
A rebound relationship is where one or both partners jump from one relationship to another.
Often, one person is available and ready for the relationship while the other is still licking their wounds from the previous one.
The person who enters a new relationship quickly after a break-up is a rebounding partner.
The rebounding partner has not fully processed and moved past their feelings about the previous relationship. The new partner wants to make it work but eventually sees they are being used or mistreated.
It often reflects poorly on the rebounding partner when they are aware of taking advantage of the other person.
Some people enter rebound relationships because they can’t tolerate the “in-between” stage and the self-work required before entering a healthy, new relationship.
If you’re wondering, “Am I rebounding?” you’re making a positive first step by becoming aware of this habit.
If you’re dating someone who has recently ended a relationship, it’s valuable to question yourself and learn how to know if you’re a rebound partner.
Sometimes, both partners are rebounding. Some features of a rebound relationship are:
- The rebounding partner only contacts you when they’re upset;
- The rebounding partner relies on you when they feel lonely;
- The rebounding partner always treats you casually;
- The rebounding partner is still emotionally attached to their ex;
- You don’t share much emotional intimacy;
- You don’t satisfy each other’s needs;
- The relationship goes nowhere.
17 Signs of A Rebound Relationship You Should Know
How do you know if it’s a rebound relationship?
If you’re unsure, it’s helpful to look for specific signs. After all, when you’re in the midst of a new romance, it’s hard to know if your feelings are real or just a response to the pain of your recent breakup.
If you’re dating someone who may be on the rebound, here are some common rebound relationship signs to help you know for sure.
1. They’ve had a recent romantic breakup.
Sometimes, we don’t see the signs until it’s too late. It’s a big red flag if your partner tells you they recently had a romantic breakup.
Everyone who goes through a breakup should spend several weeks or months processing the previous relationship before starting a new one.
Even if your partner doesn’t tell you about the breakup, any of the other signs hint that they haven’t moved on yet, and a new relationship will only confuse matters.
2. They just want a casual relationship.
Some couples knowingly enter a casual relationship because that’s what they’re both looking for. But in a rebound relationship, the rebounding partner doesn’t know what they want – or they let you know once you have feelings for them.
As you feel confused and uncertain about the future of the relationship, you realize that the other person has no intention of moving forward in a serious way.
It’s true that some casual relationships turn serious when both people desire it. However, a rebound relationship never does. It is tempting to tell yourself that you can change the rebounding partner, but usually, you are wasting your time.
3. They make sex the focus.
Sure, physical or sexual attraction is essential for romantic relationships. But in a rebound relationship, what primarily matters to the rebounding partner is physical intimacy – not emotional intimacy.
This attitude leaves you feeling unloved, unwanted, and used, especially if you want more.
4. They want to make their ex jealous.
Do you find that your new partner finds reasons to be around their ex? Is this a coincidence or a plot to make the ex jealous using you as the foil?
The rebounding partner plans their actions to provoke jealousy from their ex. You are simply the puppet in their play. If it’s not you, it’s someone else. The last thing you want is to be involved in drama, much less to be used in creating it.
5. They talk too much about their ex (or not at all).
A rebounding partner might blather on about their ex more than is necessary or appropriate. Or, they might not talk at all about their ex or keep the relationship a secret. You’d expect some brief mention of the most recent romance, such as who they were or what went wrong in the relationship.
Both extremes show that the rebounding partner hasn’t processed the split or healed from the fallout. Ask yourself why they are obsessed to the point of talking so much about their ex or avoiding mentioning them altogether.
6. They are bitter or angry.
A rebounding partner holds a grudge against their ex and comes off as bitter or angry. You will certainly feel their negative emotions and be affected as a result.
Perhaps they think a new relationship will help them get over their ex. But they can’t get past the bitterness to offer you the best part of themselves.
Their anger may manifest as sexual frustration with you as the recipient. Unfortunately, you may think you’ve failed to make them happy when it’s actually not your fault at all.
Although their unhappiness seems directed at you, it isn’t about you.
7. They are with you only for companionship
It’s wonderful to have romantic relationships. We want to feel wanted, loved, and needed. However, in a rebound relationship, one partner uses the other for companionship rather than a genuine connection.
They can’t stand to be single or alone and be forced to deal with their feelings about their ex. You become a stand-in to occupy their time and mind and keep them company so they won’t have to feel the pain.
Trust your gut regardless of what the rebounding partner tells you if you feel this new person is using you this way. You know when things feel “off.”
8. They have their ex around frequently.
It isn’t normal in a sincere, romantic relationship for one person to continue a connection with their ex. There is no reason for the ex to be part of your life except for sharing parenting responsibilities.
A rebounding partner may invite their former flame over, even without giving you a heads-up first. Of course, this situation is wildly uncomfortable for you and thoughtless of your partner.
9. They talk to their ex a lot.
Some people remain casual friends with their exes. However, if your partner is talking to their ex often, and perhaps more than they do with you, that’s a big red flag. You shouldn’t have to compete with the ex (or anyone) for attention from your new person.
Your partner shouldn’t put you in this position if they care about the future of a relationship with you. If you tell them this behavior is unacceptable, their response will clearly indicate whether you are just a rebound romance.
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10. They are mutual friends with their ex’s friends.
Sometimes, people have mutual friends with an ex. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it could be a way for them to keep tabs on the ex-partner or get information back to the ex to make them jealous.
If your partner doesn’t have any friends not connected to the past romance, and they don’t seem interested in befriending your friends, you should view this as a red flag.
11. They contact you only when they’re upset.
A romantic partner should be there for you and listen to your problems. However, a rebounding partner is often self-absorbed and needy. When they’re upset about their ex, they will contact you for a self-esteem boost or to vent.
They don’t allow time to process their feelings about their ex before they enter a new relationship. Instead, they often use you as an emotional crutch without realizing it. The relationship with you becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism.
12. They never get to know you personally.
At the beginning of a relationship, there’s a phase where you’re almost strangers. Depending on your pace, you spend a certain amount of time getting to know each other. This getting-to-know-you period doesn’t happen in a rebound relationship.
Instead, you remain almost strangers, and you don’t feel they care about you, your interests, preferences, goals, and dreams. And you would be right — they do not see you as someone worth this effort as they are still hung up on their ex.
13. You don’t get to know their inner circle.
Sooner or later, each partner will introduce the other to their family, friends, and coworkers in a romantic relationship.
But in a rebound relationship, the rebounding partner remains closed and does not talk about their loved ones, friends, and work associates. Even if you push for information, they will refuse to answer or lie instead.
14. They’re emotionally attached to their ex.
You can feel your partner is not emotionally available to you. They set up a wall, and you can feel they are thinking about their ex.
You are likely also to encounter tangible and equally non-verbal indicators that your new romantic interest isn’t over their ex. They might reminisce over photos and gifts or even have their ex’s belongings in their home.
15. The relationship is going nowhere.
Depending on the feelings of each partner, a relationship either makes it to the “serious” level or ends. In a rebound relationship, you always have an uncertain feeling about the future with this person.
Sadly, it will go nowhere and lead to nothing more than what it has always been. You may keep hoping it will eventually change, but that’s usually a sign that it won’t.
16. You don’t satisfy each other’s needs.
Relationships go through ups and downs. It’s not always possible to satisfy each other’s needs, which takes open communication and honesty.
In a rebound relationship, the rebounding partner is not interested in fulfilling needs other than sex and perhaps casual talk or talk about their ex. You won’t feel aware of their needs, and they won’t care about yours.
As a result, you will feel unsatisfied and may even experience lower self-esteem, as you don’t feel you’re enough for them.
17. They compare you to their ex.
There’s bound to be some kind of talk about exes in a relationship. But in a rebound relationship, the rebounding partner can’t help comparing you to their ex.
They may be trying to make themselves feel better about losing their former partner by highlighting your good qualities. Or they want to mold you into a new version of the old flame.
Either way, you do not deserve this kind of behavior, which can make you feel inadequate and as if you’re unfairly competing for who is more worthy.
Signs a Rebound Relationship Is Failing
Sadly, rebound relationships rarely work out. Unless the rebounding partner is willing to resolve their issues from their previous relationship and has true feelings for the new partner, it is doomed to fail. Here are some signs it’s not going to work out:
- Mutual dislike: The rebounding partner doesn’t actually like you and nor do their friends. You eventually realize you don’t like them, either.
- Power imbalance: The rebounding partner either gives the other partner too much power or none at all. It is not a relationship of equality.
- Negative qualities: The rebounding partner is heartless and arrogant or insecure and over-sensitive. They may also be controlling or emotionally unavailable.
- Lack of love: Romantic relationships have a “honeymoon” or infatuation stage, with the result being love. A rebound relationship doesn’t lead to love.
- Too-early talks about exclusivity: Serious couples eventually decide to be exclusive during a romantic relationship. But if your partner asks too early if you’re exclusive with them, they’re either desperate or controlling.
- No time between relationships. It’s natural to have a break between relationships. However, beware if your partner tends to jump from one relationship to another.
- The ex is one extreme or the other: Your partner presents their ex as either a saint or a devil. They leave no room to perceive their ex as an average person with normal qualities.
A rebound relationship doesn’t have to be all bad. People who are rebounding aren’t usually malicious. They are just unhealed and unready for a committed new romance.
It’s not ideal for a healthy connection, but you can learn and grow from the experience, so you’re better prepared for the real thing.
Do you think you’re in a rebound relationship, or is the relationship not working out for other reasons? Regardless, you’re now aware enough to be able to make things better for yourself from here on out.