On the rebound

Rebound relationships are complicated and it’s easy for people to get hurt. Oftentimes they’re just the bandaid over the real problem a.k.a getting over your ex. The Mix explains what rebound means and what to ask yourself if you think you’re on the rebound.

A group of young people are eating lunch. They are talking about being on the rebound. This is a wide-angle image.

What does rebound mean?

If you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably wondering what does rebound mean? Well, in simple terms, someone ‘on the rebound’ has started a new relationship before they’re over the old one. They still have a lot to work through from the break up but aren’t ready to face it yet. The rebound relationship is essentially just helping to distract them until they’re forced to face the music.

How to tell if you’re on the rebound

If you’ve just come out of a long-term relationship and have rushed into a new one, you’re probably rebounding. The same rule applies in the opposite direction if you’re dating someone who’s just broken up with a significant other.

“There are all sorts of signs someone is rebounding,” says Denise Knowles from Relate. “Sometimes they go out of their way to have a really good time and appear extroverted; it’s a way of drawing attention to themselves to get a new partner. On the inside they feel like moping on their own in a corner but that would mean accepting that something’s wrong.

“Other people can be incredibly needy. Constantly texting their new partner and wanting to be around them all the time.” she continues. “They need to feel attached, rather than feel the pain of the previous relationship. A few others may have plenty of bitterness, making comments such as ‘I hate them all’, but then saying to their new partner ‘but of course, you’re different.’”

Someone who’s carrying a lot of unresolved baggage often chooses a ‘safe person’ for their new relationship. They’ve opted for a person who they’re certain won’t hurt them in the same way as their ex. For example, if they’re especially afraid of unfaithfulness, they’ll pick someone who’s strongly monogamous, or maybe shy and awkward. They might also, subconsciously, pick a person who seems ‘easy to leave’. All of these tactics are simply self-defence to avoid feeling this type of pain all over again.

Why do people go on the rebound?

Everyone’s different when it comes to the amount of time it takes to get over a break up. It can also depend on how serious the relationship was and how you broke up. For example, if someone cheated on you, you might need some extra time to heal. We’ve got an article on how to get over a break up and one on being cheated on if you’re looking for help processing either of these things.

Some people are just really scared of being alone and rush back into the couple-life way too quickly. They don’t take the time to think about what went wrong before. This means that they don’t learn from their previous mistakes. The end result? Their new love interest often gets treated unfairly and can get badly hurt.

If this sounds familiar, our article on accepting it’s over might help.

Do rebound relationships work?

“Rebounds very rarely work out”, says Denise “They’re usually a transitory relationship. Basically, they’re going from being part of a couple, to getting to know themselves, to being single again or finding out what they really want.”

Someone who’s on the rebound needs time and space to get over their last relationship, both literally and metaphorically. It’s important that after a relationship ends you take the time to work out what was good and what was bad. That way you can take what you’ve learnt on to your next relationship to make it even stronger.

If this doesn’t happen, it might be time to move on. Otherwise one of you will just continue to see the other as a distraction rather than a person in their own right. From there, the ‘distraction’ won’t be treated right because their partner’s heart isn’t with them. Then there’s no real chance of a serious relationship. 

Have you ever been on the rebound? Did it work out? Share your story with the community on our discussion boards. If you’re newly single, check out our single life and dating articles here.

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rebound| single

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 24-Dec-2021