What Is a Rebound Relationship and Can They Last? +2023

A young African American couple with their arms around each other walking down a suburban street at sunset, shot from behind

Relationships are wonderfully unique, sometimes messy, and almost always an opportunity for personal growth. And while starting a new relationship should be exciting, things can feel a little more complicated when a partner is fresh from a breakup. This is known as a rebound relationship, and it doesn’t always carry the best of connotations.

Simply put, a rebound relationship is a relationship that someone enters into quickly after the end of another, often serious or long-term, relationship, he says Elizabeth FedrickPhD, a licensed professional consultant and founder of Develop counseling and behavioral health services in Arizona. “It’s a relationship that someone often uses to avoid feeling or as a distraction,” she explains. It usually means someone isn’t completely over their ex.

Every relationship is different, but those with an anxious attachment style — someone who desires closeness, connection and has a hard time being alone — are more likely to recover after a breakup, says Dr. fedrick. This is what you need to know about what a rebound relationship looks like, the risks involved, and what to do if you suspect you or your partner may be recovering.

What are rebound relationship marks?

If you’re the one recovering, not being able to stop thinking about your ex is a big red flag, explains Dr. fedrick. This might be harder to spot than you think. Aside from just noticing that your ex-partner is on his mind, you can also pay attention to whether you catch yourself comparing partners (either favorably or not), internally or aloud; if you dream about getting back together with your ex; when you try to find excuses to meet your ex; and if you spend a lot of time on your ex’s social profiles.

Being overly critical of your new partner can also be a sign of a rebound. “Usually you try to sabotage at a subconscious level [the relationship] when you know this isn’t for you,” explains Dr Fedrick.

If you are someone else’s rebound, you may notice that your partner constantly talks about their ex, finds reasons to meet or spend time with them, often compares you, or brings up the past relationship frequently (” That was our favorite restaurant” ), says Dr. fedrick. You may also find that your partner is emotionally uninvested or unavailable, or they find ways to avoid emotional or physical intimacy. “On the other hand, if the relationship is almost entirely sex-centric, that’s another sign that it’s more of a rebound because you’re not going deep emotionally and are keeping it more superficial,” adds Dr. Added Fedrick.

If you or your partner moved on quickly and you’re feeling guilty, rest assured that the timing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a rebound relationship — chemistry can’t always be planned. But you can also trust your gut feeling. If something feels uncomfortable and you suspect that you or your partner aren’t quite over an ex, there may be a reason you’re feeling this way.

How long do rebound relationships last?

“There’s no timeline, but research typically suggests that a rebound relationship lasts anywhere from a month to a year,” says Dr. fedrick.

However, there is no hard and fast rule and every situation is different. The length of a relationship can also depend on someone denying they’re in a rebound, adds Dr. Added Fedrick. When both partners are not on the same page or avoiding reality, it can be difficult to recognize mistakes, mistakes, or insecurities, and the relationship can prolong.

What are the rebound relationship stages?

Like any relationship, recovery has phases. The first phase typically occurs shortly after a breakup and is a state of loneliness, sadness, unresolved emotions that you’re trying to avoid, and/or a feeling of missing your ex, explains Dr. fedrick.

This ultimately leads to the second phase, where there is a willingness or intrigue to meet someone. “The second stage is attraction or interest, and someone uses that as a bandage,” says Dr. fedrick. “It feels good to have that attention or affection back, and you get sucked into it pretty quickly.”

The third phase is the honeymoon phase. “Everything is great, the emotions are running high and the chemistry is off the charts,” says Dr. fedrick. This is also known as the “grass is greener” phase because you begin to recognize or notice that your new partner is doing things that your ex did or didn’t do, or that your new partner is moving around you in new or better ways she cares .

Unfortunately, this blissful state does not usually last long and quickly progresses to the fourth stage of comparison. “You’re starting to realize that, though [a new partner] do those things your ex didn’t do, they don’t do the things your ex did either,” says Dr. fedrick. You may get louder in comparisons and rants about your new partner or mentioning things your ex did better This is where reality usually sets in.

Remember that a comparison can take place without realizing it. While most people would never consciously say or even realize that they miss the toxic qualities of an ex, the truth is that people can get used to the push-pull of a negative relationship dynamic, to the point where they feel healthier or could feel healthier stable relationship.

The last phase is the “decision phase” where you either accept that this is a rebound relationship but you see potential in this person so you want it to work, or you decide to break up. “The last phase can often bring people back to square one when they’re emotionally not doing the work that needs to be done on themselves,” says Dr. fedrick.

Can rebound relationships last?

Yes. Rebound relationships aren’t doomed to fail — but making them last over the long term takes work. “As long as there’s an awareness of what’s going on and a willingness and ability to address some of the underlying issues that either arose in the other relationship or that were brought into the current relationship, it can work,” he said dr Says Fedrick. There must be a mutual agreement between the partners to be honest and open about the terms, feelings, and goals of the relationship.

The person in the rebound relationship must also be willing to heal from past emotions, trauma, or distrust and focus on their mental health in order to be present in the current relationship, notes Dr. fedrick. It could mean that the new relationship is progressing a little more slowly than you would like, allowing the recovering partner to fully process the past relationship while investing in the new one.

But remember, you are the only expert on how you feel and what you want out of a relationship. “Do your best not to be swayed by everyone else’s opinions, because they are not the ones who have to live them.”

What Should You Do When You’re in a Rebound Relationship?

It’s imperative to be open and honest with your partner and tell them how you’re feeling. Yes, it can and probably will be uncomfortable, but transparency is key. “Being vulnerable is a really tough thing, but it has to happen in that dialogue,” says Dr. fedrick. Talk about where you are and what you want in the long term. “It’s really easy for both of you to bury your head in the sand and try to just move on, but that creates more resentment and cracks in the foundation,” she says.

This first conversation could lead to you and your new partner breaking up, or at least taking a break for a while. If you decide together to put in the effort and make the relationship work, Dr. Fedrick suggests doing specific weekly check-ins and asking questions like, “How do you think things are going?” or “Is there anything you need, or is there a way I can show up for you better?” These built-in reflections are a great way to gauge emotions and give you a chance to address issues before they become a bigger problem.

But if you’re the person who recovered and you’ve done it before, you may be stuck in an unhealthy pattern. In this case, it might help to seek professional help from someone trained in relationships, attachment, or trauma, says Dr. fedrick. “A professional can help you understand why you’re jumping from relationship to relationship or if you’re trying to cover something up.”

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