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Rebound Relationship: What It Is, 43 Signs You’re In It & the Must-Know Rules

Is a rebound relationship really such a bad idea? Or is it an alternative way to get over someone? Read on for the rules and find out for yourself. 

Rebound Relationship

The subject of a rebound relationship often raises eyebrows. These relationships are completely misunderstood and for all the wrong reasons.

Most people assume that a rebound relationship is actually a bad way to cope with a breakup. And many others think it’ll never really help you heal completely because you haven’t had time to get over your ex.

But the truth is unless you let some more love and happiness into your life, you’re never really going to get over your ex in the first place.

When approached with caution, rebound relationships are a good way to get over a broken heart.

[Read: The most important rebound sex questions to ask yourself to know if you’re ready for it]

What is a rebound relationship?

So, what defines a rebound relationship?

A rebound relationship is a relationship after a breakup.

It happens all the time with consoling friends of the opposite sex who are attracted to each other, chance meetings at a party, and even when old crushes get in touch immediately after a breakup for a feel-good call.

Many of us first enter into a rebound relationship without really realizing it.

Breakups can be incredibly painful. It’s hard to imagine how you will ever live your life without your partner.

You find yourself doing the most insane and embarrassing things just to cope, and once the reality hits you, you know there’s only one thing to do: move on.

In this moving-on phase, you may find yourself in a reactionary relationship with someone whose role in your life at the moment is to more or less keep you off of the limbo and loneliness of your post-breakup existence.

You are still quite vulnerable, nursing your wounds and hoping they’ll heal fast. You may also run the risk of not seeing things as clearly as you could have, were you not affected by your past relationship anymore.

When this happens, you’re officially in a rebound relationship.

The most obvious signs of a rebound relationship

One problem with rebound relationships is that you often don’t realize you’re in one. You might think that you’re actually in a standard, real relationship, and it just happened quickly.

But, to everyone else, it has rebound written all over it. What does that mean? No one expects the relationship to last. We mean, it could, but rebounds are known for being fleeting. When people are in a rebound relationship, they haven’t healed from their previous relationship and may even secretly want to go back to their old romantic relationship.

So, how do you know if this has happened and you’re not just in a regular relationship? Here’s how you can tell if you’re in a rebound relationship.

1. You were just dumped

So your ex broke up with you, and now you’re with someone new already. While you may get defensive about this, you could be in a rebound relationship with someone new.

You might not think of your new partner as a rebound, but they could still be serving as that.

2. You still miss your ex, even with the new person

If you find yourself thinking about your ex over and over again while with this new person, it is one of the key signs that you are not building a healthy emotional relationship with them.

Since a rebound’s purpose is to make you forget all about your ex, it’s normal to be thinking about them here and there at first. This is especially true if the breakup is still fresh. Rebounds take a little while to work their magic.

However, if its been some time and you just can’t get your ex off your mind, your current boo might just be a rebound fling. [Read: The legitimate reasons you miss your ex and are feeling lonely]

3. They just got out of a long-term relationship

If you recently entered into a relationship with someone who just broke up from a pretty serious love affair, the chances of this relationship going the long haul are pretty slim, and that’s because you’re the rebound. This isn’t always the case, especially if they broke up with the ex, but it’s still a solid clue.

People who are freshly out of a serious relationship often look for rebounds in order to get over their exes. The relationship they form with someone new right away can easily serve as just that, so be careful.

4. Things moved pretty fast

If your new relationship got started right after your last, even before the feelings about the former relationship had been resolved, and you skipped right into full-on relationship mode, it could be a rebound.

Since the breakup is still so fresh, it’s easy to slip into that routine of being in a relationship since it’s what you were just doing. If this happened to you, it’s probably a rebound. [Read: 20 signs your relationship is moving way too fast]

5. Your relationship is sex-based

Many ask, what is a rebound relationship? The truth is, it’s an emotionally convenient relationship that is superficial and involves a lot of sex. Sex helps people get over their exes because it forces them to bond with someone new.

This means if your new relationship is all sex and hardly anything else, it could be a rebound for either you or them. Keep this in mind, but don’t think having a lot of sex is the same thing.

6. You don’t know too much about their past

This is because they don’t want to tell you that they just got out of a relationship. Either that or you don’t want to tell them. So you simply don’t talk about it at all.

Not knowing much about someone and still being in a relationship with them is a major sign it’s not real. [Read: Emotional baggage – How to help someone put it down and find freedom]

7. They talk crap about their ex

And they do this a lot. This is even more true if you already know they recently broke up with them. No matter whose idea the split was, talking crap about an ex to a new partner means they’re not over them.

And if they’re not over them, then you could be the means to do that. That would make you a rebound, unfortunately.

8. You talk bad about your ex

For all the same reasons, this proves you’re a rebound when it comes to them talking bad about their ex. If you do the same thing, you could be using them as a rebound.

If you can admit that you’re not over your ex and talking negatively is a way of doing that, then your current relationship isn’t a very solid one. Meaning they could be a rebound, and you might not even realize it. [Read: How to talk about past relationships with someone new]

9. You don’t really meet their friends or family, and vice versa

Basically, your relationship is only between the two of you. You may have seen a friend or two coming and going, but you haven’t spent the time to get to know them. And that’s because neither of you really thinks it’s important to do so.

10. You describe the relationship as casual

It’s not very serious. In fact, you’re not fully present in the relationship. When you’re in a rebound relationship, it’s basically just a fling. So if you really feel like the relationship isn’t a big thing, it could be a rebound.

When you’re only with someone to get over someone else, there isn’t a lot of emotional attachment. It’s like you look at them as a means to an end, even if you don’t fully realize it. [Read: Casual relationship – What it is, why people like it and 20 very firm rules to follow]

11. You hardly talk about the future

Neither of you really brings up plans for distant future events, and you really never talk about the future at all. And that’s because you both don’t really see it going anywhere.

But this could also be one-sided. You may be the rebound and want to discuss future plans, and they don’t want to talk about it at all. That’s a great sign you’re the rebound, and they’re using you to get over someone.

12. Things just don’t seem real

You can just tell when something with your new relationship is a bit off. And if you’re reading this, chances are you can tell: it doesn’t even feel like a relationship at all. When your relationship doesn’t feel right, and you’re unhappy in some way, it’s a sign something is wrong. In this case, it could just be a rebound relationship. [Read: How to listen to your gut and give strength to your inner voice]

13. You felt like you just wanted to date someone, almost anyone

If you’ve been dumped by your ex or have experienced a bad relationship, you helplessly get drawn to anyone who gives you attention.

Your mind subconsciously wants to experience love again, and even if you want to avoid dating for a while, you can’t help but fall into the trap of love almost immediately.

Sometimes, people may enter into rebound relationships too quickly so that they can save themselves from being emotionally vulnerable instead of waiting and actually building a lasting relationship with someone new.

14. Not only is the relationship sex-based, but it’s more adventurous sex too

You’re having a lot of fun in your new lover’s arms, but you don’t even know what kind of relationship you’re in. You’re more focused on the fun part of the new romance than the serious parts that really matter in a new relationship.

It’s likely that you’re trying things in bed that you’ve never tried before, probably because everything feels so casual. [Read: Top 50 kinky sex ideas worth trying at least once in your lifetime]

15. You can’t remember how you got over your ex

It takes time to get over someone you once truly loved. For some, it may take a few weeks, and for others, it may take several months.

If you’re already happy in a new relationship but have no recollection of how you got over your ex, chances are you’ve rushed into something new before you could finish the last chapter of your old love.

It’s a risky move because you’ve left the crucial ending unfinished, and it may come back to haunt you when you’re having a rough patch in your new relationship.

16. You have mood swings

You may find yourself in a confused state of mind often, even though you’re happy in your new romance. Almost always, you’ll be happy when you’re with your new squeeze but depressed and confused when you’re alone.

17. You fantasize about your ex returning to you

Do you spend a lot of time imagining scenarios that involve your ex? Do you like thinking about how your ex would feel seeing you in your new lover’s arms, or do you wonder if your ex is still thinking about you?

You may try to convince yourself that you’re over your ex and happy in a new relationship, but the fact that your ex still occupies so many of your happy thoughts means you’re still not over them. [Read: Why can’t I forget my ex and move on even though I’m trying really hard?]

18. Your friends are surprised to hear that you’re dating already

Your friends are, at times, the best judges of your dates and your love life. They can see the entire picture without being biased about your old relationship. If your friends think there isn’t much hope for a relationship like yours and that things are too fast, they probably are.

19. You keep your eyes open

You want attention because you want to reassure yourself that you’re still hot stuff and can get attention whenever you want. This means you find yourself constantly looking out even though you’re in a new relationship already. [Read: Why do I crave male attention? The truth and your need to be desired]

20. You don’t try to take things slowly

If you’re truly in love, you’ll be afraid to take chances or make any hasty moves. But for people in rebound relationships, all they’d want to do is go full speed ahead into the relationship because they don’t really care about losing their new love.

21. You don’t mind going with the flow

You’re not trying to make the relationship work. You’re happy, and your new date is happy. You don’t look for ways to keep the relationship alive, nor do you put real investment into the relationship.

Most of the time, at least one partner is clear that the relationship in the first place is not going to work, but they participate in the relationship anyway to avoid feeling lonely. All you want is someone who can hold you when you want to be held.

22. There are memories of your ex in your home

It’s possible that you still have photos or memorabilia of your ex, and you find yourself staring at them now and then. You know it’s wrong, but you enjoy the torture of reminding yourself about the heartbreak. [Read: What should you do with old love letters?]

23. You still feel weak when your ex says “hello”

Or you feel sick. Either way, you experience extreme emotions when you see your ex. All you want is to be in a better place than your ex by ensuring that you’re in a relationship with someone else. You try hard to convince yourself that you’re now happier than ever before.

24. You look for ways to bump into your ex

You don’t voice it out, but deep inside, you wish you could bump into your ex again. It’s likely that you hang out in your ex’s favorite spots with your friends or even your new date and secretly hope to see them again. [Read: Bumped into your ex? Super-cool ways to show them YDGAF]

25. You’d go back to your ex if they made an effort to woo you

You may hate your ex or feel relieved to have ended the relationship with them.

People who are in this type of setup might be happy with the relationship with their new partner, but deep down inside, they know you’ll step right back into your ex’s arms if they just make a sweet move at you. [Read: Are you ready to date your ex again?]

26. You don’t feel serious about the new relationship

There’s no bigger rebound relationship sign than this one. If you’re in a relationship for any reason but love, it’s a sure sign that you’re only passing through a rebound relationship to bide your time.

The most important rebound relationship rules to ensure you don’t get your heart broken

Now, the questions loom – how can you move on with someone new in this rebound relationship without hurting yourself again while still opening yourself to the possibilities of love?

How can you keep a rebound relationship healthy and not end up having things backfire on you?

Actually, the answer to these *and all the other questions you may have* is easy. Just follow these rules below if you find yourself on the rebound and stop making your life more complicated than it already is. [Read: Revealing signs that tell if you are not in love]

1. Get right back in the game

Now that you’re newly single and you want to get your mind *and heart* off of your failed relationship, there’s no better way to do it than to just hit the ground running, aka getting into a rebound relationship after a breakup.

Sometimes, dwelling on your mistakes will just get you all depressed, so you have to move on. Immediately accept dates with someone new and show the world, especially your ex, that the breakup didn’t even make a dent in your happy bubble *even if, deep inside, you’re really crying*.

Just remember, it will pass. So for now, just enjoy the many fish in the sea—and fast. [Read: How to stop holding onto a relationship that’s over]

2. Use your connections

If you can’t find dates yourself, then have your circle of friends set you up with fitting prospects. Not only do your friends know what your type is, but they’re also able to set you up with a hot new squeeze who will definitely not be like your ex.

Your friends, such is their love for you, will more likely hook you up with someone they think is your match, or at least someone who already has their approval *not like you need their nod when it comes to every hottie you see, but it helps to make things pan out smoothly*.

3. Right one, right away?

There is no such thing. It’s perfectly understandable to want to try to get over your heartache by going straight into the arms of someone new, hoping that it’s going to be real this time.

However, if you’re looking for “The One” just to rub it into your ex that you’ve moved on, you’re in for a lot of disappointment.

It’s better to get into a rebound relationship without any delusions. Think of your rebound merely as a cup of coffee—sure, it feels hot, and it makes you feel alive for a while, but it’s bound to cool and get stale eventually. [Read: Taking it slow in a relationship – How should you do it?]

4. Come clean

So your heart got broken and trampled on for the world to see, but that doesn’t mean you should have a vendetta, like some love vigilante. Just because your pride got crushed doesn’t mean you should destroy your rebound’s ego, too.

You don’t want the other person to invest enough in the relationship to do the work needed to make it successful when you only see them as a rebound. Be transparent to them about just how far you are willing to go in the relationship. If you want to keep things strictly casual, then say so upfront and outline the parameters, so no one gets misled. [Read: Are you a rebound guy? 19 ways and signs to avoid getting serious with a girl who’s just broken up]

5. Be sensitive

Don’t be an unfeeling asshole, even if you’re in a casual, no-strings-attached relationship. Make an effort to show your appreciation for your rebound.

Learn to give and not just receive. Remember, it’s not all about you. Your rebound has feelings, too, so try not to hurt them if you don’t want it to bite you in the long run.

6. Go with the flow

Whatever feels good right now, go for it. If you’re feeling the person who’s bumping and grinding against you at the bar, then, by all means, get rid of all your inhibitions and just enjoy the moment.

If an officemate has been asking you out for coffee, then have coffee. It wouldn’t hurt to say ‘yes’ to the romance opportunities that are knocking at your door.

For once, let the universe lead you to where you need to go. Who knows, you may even like where you end up. [Read: Dating a girl who’s on the rebound – How to date her without getting your heart broken]

7. Go against the grain

One of the biggest mistakes you might be tempted to make now that you’re on a rebound is to try to find someone who is exactly like your ex.

First of all, it’s going to be disturbing *and your friends will definitely agree*. You will also have more chances of confusing the feelings you have for your rebound. Remember, you can’t get your last relationship back—not even a doppelganger can replace your ex.

8. Keep your mouth zipped

Keep your rebound and everyone else guessing. First, don’t give your rebound all the deets about your last relationship, especially when you’re out on your date.

If they ask about how your last relationship went, a simple “It just didn’t work out” will do. Talking about your past love can open up a can of worms and make you seem like you still haven’t gotten over your ex. [Read: An ex’ revenge: “My ex’s rumors ruined me”]

9. Keep everyone else guessing

If you want to look like you’re owning the breakup, keep people guessing. Why do you have to feel obligated to put a label on the relationships that you have, anyway?

If you’re seeing someone and you don’t want to define what you have, then so be it. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, especially when it comes to your private relationship—and this includes everything that has to do with your rebound.

So let the people talk and speculate while you just have the best time of your life.

But make sure that your rebound partner isn’t under any illusions. Make sure you’re always clear with them about the fact that this is something casual. Don’t lead them on. [Read: Single and ready to mingle? The best ways to let the world know you’re ready]

10. Don’t stop believing

It’s not uncommon for rebound relationships to end up as serious ones that may even lead to marriage vows.

So no matter how skeptical you may have become, hold onto that thread of hope that love may just be around the corner or behind the guy you’re just sleeping around with.

Sometimes, building a long-lasting relationship doesn’t even start out normally. The best love stories are those that may even start out with so much complication and so little expectation that you end up surprising yourself.

So don’t lose faith—love may come in the most unforeseen circumstances. [Read: 18 tips to fall in love slowly like a fairy tale]

11. Stop comparing

You might be enjoying brunch with your new beau right now and find your thoughts drifting off to how you spent brunches with your ex. Stop it.

While it can be very tempting to stack your rebound up against your ex just to prove to yourself that you’re better off now, it won’t be a fair assessment. [Read: How to talk about a past relationship with your partner]

12. Consult a relationship expert

If you want to acquire new life and relationship skills that will help you with your coping strategies, especially if you feel like you may go through the rebound relationship phase again, you can always get started with a relationship counselor.

The good thing about this is that relationship counselors are available online, so you won’t even have to step out of your home. They can also help you have an honest look at your relationship if you’re unsure if there is something wrong in your new relationship or none.

13. Rules are made to be broken

Life brings you nothing but plenty of surprises, so welcome them now that you’re not shackled by your past relationship anymore. If there’s anything the past and the present rebound relationship should teach you, it’s not to burn bridges and not to give yourself an ultimatum in life.

Don’t let yourself be constricted to rules *even these rules* because you will never know the course that lies ahead.

Breaking up with a long-time, serious partner can be seriously difficult. There’s the pain, some initial denial, and even the occasional insanity. Sometimes, all you want to do is to go out and pick up the first person you see so that you can convince yourself that you’re moving on.

This is the beauty of rebound relationships. They can help you to cope and move on so that you can eventually bounce back—better and stronger—after a fall.

[Read: Why it’s normal to feel strange when your ex starts dating someone new]

We’re going to discuss rebound relationship signs later in this feature, but before that, let’s talk about why people would knowingly enter into rebound relationships. [Read: Having sex with someone new for the first time? The most important things to know]

How can a rebound relationship ever work in helping you heal?

When you break up with a partner, you’re left with an empty space that just needs to be filled. And the only reason you pine over your ex, try to get back in touch with them, or even call them repeatedly is because of the lack of happiness and love in your own life.

You could spend time with friends or indulge in a few activities that make you happy. Or you could date someone and fill that emptiness of lost love with more love and flirty excitement.

Once you experience happy love, it’s hard to stay away from it even if you’ve broken up. It feels like an addiction, and love is too wonderful a feeling to lose out on, especially if you’ve had a great relationship until circumstances split both of you apart. [Read: Does my ex miss me? 23 signs your ex is clearly not over you yet]

Some of us are meant to love and stay in love. So if you have a hard time moving on, stop trying to look for ways to keep yourself occupied. Instead, look for ways to fall in love again.

It’s easier, happier, and, with a bit of luck, you may meet someone who’s perfect for you. If nothing else, it will help you to get your confidence back.

We’re not going to deny that you have to follow specific rules when heading down the rebound road. We’ll talk about those shortly. But for now, let’s look at why having a rebound relationship might actually help you out. [Read: How to choose the right rebound hookup who won’t get deeply attached to you]

1. A rebound relationship opens your eyes to the world around you

You may have been in a healthy relationship for a long time, but when you finally step back into the dating scene, you may meet a lot of charming, cute, and lovable dating potential.

Many of those people are looking for someone just like you.

If you do want to meet someone and fill that void in your heart, a rebound could make your heart skip a beat. If nothing else, it will open your eyes.

2. It helps you get over the breakup faster

A rebound relationship is primarily used to get over your ex quickly, and it does its job well. A good bit of rebound love can bring you back on your feet and bring excitement back into your life. [Read: What to do when your relationship ends without warning]

3. Something better may come your way

One of the surprising benefits of ending a relationship is the possibility of something better and truer. A friend of yours or a hottie you’ve always appreciated may have had a crush on you for a long time, unable to reveal their true feelings for you because you were already seeing someone else.

While this may seem like a rebound relationship to you, to your new sweetie, this could be the moment they’ve been waiting for their whole life. [Read: In love with someone who’s already taken? Here’s what you need to do]

4. It may lead to love

The best part of a rebound relationship is the hope of finding true love. You’ve been in that one relationship long enough to read the signs of a bad lover or even a bad relationship.

By using your experiences in love, you may be able to find someone you actually end up falling in love with.

With all that said and done, rebound relationships are a great way to get over an ex and a perfect way to uncover a true love potential for your next relationship out of the blue. But even if you don’t meet the love of your life immediately, heck, you’ll still be able to get over your breakup in no time. Or, against all odds, your true love can probably start with a rebound relationship and turn into a real relationship later on. [Read: An ex’s revenge story of rumors]

Yet, rebound relationships can also be problematic

So, in all, rebound relationships look like rainbows and unicorns. BUT there is a very tricky flip side to all of this.

Many people will tell you to rebound in order to get over someone. While this works to some degree, the question is, how long does a rebound relationship last? You usually don’t remain with this person for long. A rebound lover is used mostly as a method to get your mind off your ex while the wound they left is still fresh.

Then it heals up, and you move on.

However, this isn’t always healthy. A lot of people go into rebound relationships and don’t even take the time to get over their ex. When things with the rebound settle down, they’re left with all of those grievous feelings, and it’s pretty unhealthy. Also, there are times when the other party is not aware of the rebounder’s intentions, so they enter a relationship expecting to build a lasting and healthy relationship with their new partner, only to find out that it isn’t the case.

So, while we’re certainly saying go for it if you want to make yourself feel good and boost your confidence, do make sure that you give yourself a little time to grieve the end of the relationship first.

A rebound relationship isn’t a Band-Aid for your pain. You need to feel the pain of the breakup, acknowledge it, handle it, and then you can think about boosting your confidence with a rebound. [Read: How to get over a broken heart before a hookup – seriously, the only guide you need]

The next time love or lust comes knocking on your door in the form of an exciting rebound relationship, don’t slam the door on it. Welcome it and experience the happiness and the new hope of true love that it brings with it.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...