The Signs Of A Rebound Relationship To Watch Out For

By Darby Faubion

Updated April 24, 2020

Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT

The end of a long-term relationship can be rough. You spent a good while with someone, only for the two of you to separate. It's a big life change and one that some will handle differently than others. Some people will spend a good while living the single life. They may have some casual dates here and there, but they're making this period a time to grow and to find themselves. Then, there are those who rush into a new relationship, with the dust of their old relationship still on their face.

If you or someone you know has recently ended a long-term relationship, failing to allow for emotional healing can result in beginning a new relationship too soon. This is known as a "rebound relationship." A rebound relationship is an undefined period following the break-up of a romantic relationship during which one of the partners becomes involved with someone else, despite the fact that they have not yet healed from the break-up. Rebound relationships are usually short-lived because of the partner's emotional instability that is the result of a painful break-up.

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Why Do Rebound Relationships Happen?

After spending a significant amount of time with a partner or spouse, many people struggle with adjusting to life without that person. The feelings of loneliness and longing for companionship often seem to outweigh the need for healing. Some people believe if they have someone new in their life, it can make them forget about their last relationship and help them move on. Some may find themselves engaging in a new relationship with someone they do not know well, which could leave them in a dangerous situation.

Being accustomed to a certain lifestyle may also dictate whether they seek a new relationship right away. Financial stability can be tested when a relationship ends. Individuals who have relied heavily upon someone else for support may seek it elsewhere. Unfortunately, when the person realizes that the new relationship isn't fulfilling their needs (emotionally and/or financially), it can leave them feeling more hurt and alone.

The Problem with Rebound Relationships

If a person has recently ended a relationship, emotions are raw and feelings of vulnerability are almost always present. The emotional instability that comes after the break-up, especially of a long-term relationship, means that the individual is not ready to handle a new relationship right away.

Attachments to a previous partner may not always be evident, but it doesn't mean they aren't there. Without time to heal, any hurt or frustration that was caused by the previous relationship can be carried into a new one and it, too, will likely fail. When this occurs, it not only affects the person who was in a long-term relationship, but it can have a domino effect of emotional trauma to the new partner.

While many rebound relationships may not last, there are some things that improve the chances of the new relationship's survival. For example:

  • If the previous relationship was short-term, there may not be as much emotional trauma to overcome before beginning a new relationship.
  • When relationships end on good terms, where both parties were amicable and felt the breakup was for the best, moving on to a new relationship may not be as difficult.
  • The person who chose to end the relationship is more likely to have a successful rebound relationship than the one who tried to hold on to the relationship.

When a Rebound Relationship Is Not the Right Choice

Some people actually find a new partner during what is considered the "rebound stage" and are able to make things work. Others are not as fortunate. Knowing when a rebound is not healthy and how to take control of your life and relationships is important.


Some signs to look for that indicate a bad rebound relationship include:

  • You think about your ex constantly. One of the main reasons rebound relationships fail is the individual who is experiencing rebound emotions often holds onto hope of restoring the lost relationship. This makes it impossible to have a true connection with a new partner. If any of the following pertain to you, you are not ready for a new relationship:
  • You struggle with deleting photos of your previous partner from your phone or computer
  • You still have your ex's phone number saved in your phone
  • You hope that your previous partner will call you to let you know he/she is doing okay
  • You feel the need to look at your ex's social media profile and postings
  • You talk about your ex as if you are still good friends
  • The relationship feels rushed: Healthy relationships take time to build. If you are considering beginning a relationship with someone who has recently ended a relationship with someone else, but who is in a rush to make your relationship "official", then chances are you are this person's "rebound." Take the time to step away and let him/her heal from the previous relationship. It will save you both some heartache in the end. Additionally, if you are the one who has recently ended a relationship and you want to pursue a new one, remember to give yourself time to heal. Bad breakups and making someone feel like they were a substitute for the person you lost can cause you to lose friendships and possible future relationships.
  • The presence of substance abuse: If you or someone you know has experienced a break-up and feel the need to engage in excessive drinking or in the use of illegal drugs, this is a warning sign that there are no effective coping mechanisms. If a rebound relationship begins while there is some type of substance abuse, the chances of the relationship failing increase. Additionally, the risk of violence is also increased. If there is a presence of any type of substance abuse, it is crucial to seek help.

What You Should Do After A Bad Breakup

The most important thing you can do after a breakup is to allow yourself time to heal. Healing occurs at different paces and stages for individuals. Take the time to allow yourself to breathe and begin to enjoy life. Focus on things that are important to you.

Break-ups are never easy - We're here to help.
Talk to a Licensed Relationship Counselor Today.


There Are Resources to Help You Recover

The emotions that come following a breakup can make a person feel blinded. During the time you take to heal, sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone else can be helpful. For some, reaching out to friends or other loved ones is beneficial. Additionally, reaching out to a professional who is experienced with relationship issues is another option.

However, not everyone has access to reputable counselors nearby, and not everyone has time to sit in traffic on their way to an appointment. This is where online counseling services like ReGain offer solutions. You may access ReGain's platform from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection). Read below for some reviews of ReGain counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"I have a tendency to feel too much obligation or responsibility for others, and offer too much of myself. He picked up on this and makes me aware so I can set healthy boundaries. I have been to counselors in the past and I think there is something to learn from everyone, but I find my engagement here is held a little more accountable, which is what I need, because otherwise I tend to fall back on the excuse of being very busy. All in all, we have a long way to go, but my experience so far has been wonderful. I look forward to us both realizing a transformation of myself that we have undertaken together."

"Carrie has a very gentle, compassionate, way about her. But she will confront you if you need it, if you are not acting in truth. She has good insight in relationships and the differences between men and women in relation with each other. I highly recommend her!!!"


After a breakup, it is not uncommon to desire companionship and new beginnings. Knowing when it's the right time to move forward with a new relationship, however, is not always easy. Further, wanting to establish a relationship with someone who has recently ended one with someone else can feel appealing to someone who desires to make others happy. No matter where you find yourself, it's important to remember that caring for yourself must be a priority.

Take the time to get to know the person you are interested in and allow each of you the time to heal from any past relationship issues before moving forward. Also, always keep in mind that it's okay to ask for help if you aren't sure how to process your feelings or thoughts regarding rebound relationships or how to watch out for them.

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