How To Recognize A Rebound Relationship

Updated January 5, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Are you feeling confused about your current relationship?

Have you recently gone through a breakup, or are you in a new relationship that seems to be moving too fast? You may be in a rebound relationship. Rebound relationships can often feel like the real deal, but they're not always what they seem.

Learning how to identify the signs of a rebound relationship can help defend your heart and give you clarity on where things stand with your partner. This knowledge may be helpful if you're considering getting back with your ex or trying to move on after a breakup.

What Is A Rebound Relationship?

A rebound relationship takes place shortly after a breakup. It can be seen as a way to quickly move on from a painful heartbreak, but this isn't always the case. While some people sometimes genuinely find love and happiness in rebound relationships, it's important to recognize when you're just using the other person as a distraction from the pain of your last relationship.

Your partner may also bring prior baggage from their last relationship into the new one, making it difficult for you to establish an emotional connection. Regardless of who's initiating the rebound relationship, awareness can be key to avoiding further heartache.

Following a split, it's not unusual to take some time before transitioning into a new relationship. However, your attachment style can affect how likely you are to find yourself in a rebound situation. In fact, recent studies show that individuals with an avoidant attachment style are typically more likely to engage in rebound relationships following breakup distress. 

Attachment theory by John Bowlby can help us understand relational processes and emotional control. Bowlby proposed that psychological attachments form between two individuals and that these connections can serve a survival purpose. Rebound relationships, then, can be seen as a way of controlling intense emotions in the aftermath of heartbreak. 

No matter your attachment style, other factors may influence your susceptibility to rebound relationships. For instance, if the breakup happened after a long-term relationship or because of cheating, these events might make it more likely for someone to jump into another relationship without correctly processing their emotions.

It's okay to take some time to allow yourself to heal before entering a new relationship. While there is no right or wrong amount of time to wait before moving on, being honest with yourself and your partner about where you both stand can make things easier.

How To Recognize The Signs Of A Rebound Relationship

It's helpful to pay attention to the dynamics of your relationship for any signs that it might be a rebound:

  1. The relationship started soon after your last one ended: If you and your new partner got together shortly after the end of a long-term relationship, it could be a rebound.

  2. You haven't fully processed your breakup: Pushing away any negative emotions or thoughts about a past relationship and jumping into a new one could signal that you're in a rebound.

  3. You're still talking about your ex: Constantly discussing or comparing your new partner to your ex could show you're not ready to move on.

  4. You don't talk about the future: If you haven't discussed things like where your relationship is going, it could be a sign that your partner isn't serious about committing to you.

  5. Your partner is distant and aloof: If your new partner seems uninterested in getting to know you or doesn't seem to care about what's going on in your life, it could indicate that they haven't fully moved on yet.

If you think you might be in a rebound relationship, it can be beneficial to process your emotions and figure out what you really want. You may find that you're ready for something serious with your new partner or that it's better to take things slow and just enjoy spending time together.

No matter what, be gentle with yourself and your partner. Rebound relationships can be difficult and confusing, but with the right approach, you can get clarity on the situation and find the peace and happiness you deserve.

The Pros And Cons Of Being In A Rebound Relationship

Understanding the pros and cons of being in a rebound relationship may help you make an informed decision about your future.


  • A rebound relationship can provide a distraction from the pain of a recent breakup

  • It can be exciting to pursue something new after a difficult ending

  • It could help you move on faster if your last relationship didn't end well


  • Your emotions may still be raw, making it hard to form a meaningful connection

  • You may not be over your ex, making it difficult to open up and trust someone new

  • There may be underlying issues from your last relationship that may come up

  • It can be difficult to talk about the future if you're unsure of your feelings

If you want to stay in a rebound relationship, it's helpful to take the time to really examine how you feel and what you want. Rebound relationships can sometimes work out for the best, but it can be a good idea to take things slow and be honest about your feelings.

Being happy and comfortable in a relationship may take some time. However, reflecting on your feelings and ensuring your decisions align with what will bring you happiness and peace of mind can help you navigate the situation. 

Advice For Moving On From A Rebound Relationship

When it's time to move on from a rebound relationship, one of the best things you can do is be honest with yourself and your partner. To do that, you can tell them that you need time to process the past relationship and figure out what you really want.

It may also be beneficial to take some time for yourself. Reconnecting with friends, taking a break from the dating scene, and engaging in self-care activities can help provide some much-needed clarity.

Perhaps equally as important, don't give up hope. It may take time to find someone ready to commit and love you fully, and that's okay. But, with patience, understanding, and openness, you may find a lasting connection and the happiness you desire.

Try to remember that you are worthy of love and respect. It can be challenging to move on from a rebound relationship, but with the right attitude, you may find yourself in an even better, more meaningful relationship in the end.

Tips for Avoiding Rebound Relationships

Following the dissolution of a relationship, you may feel emotions like anger, sadness, or even anxiety. These feelings can be overwhelming, but they don't have to lead to a rebound relationship. Positive outcomes like personal growth and improved relationships with friends and family may also come from taking time to process the emotional journey after a breakup.

While not all rebound relationships are bad, there can be benefits to understanding why they happen and taking steps to avoid getting into one. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to steer clear of rebound relationships:

  • Taking time to reflect and process your feelings can help you make better decisions

  • Being honest with yourself and your partner about how you feel can help prevent misunderstandings

  • Spending quality time with friends and family can boost your mood and provide emotional support

  • Practicing self-care activities, like exercise or mindfulness meditation, can help alleviate stress

  • Setting realistic expectations for any new interactions you have may help prevent disappointment

Remember, your self-worth is not dependent on whether or not you're in a relationship. A healthy relationship may take time and patience, but it may be worth the wait. Understanding your feelings, communicating openly, and practicing self-care can positively influence your chances of finding a relationship that fulfills your needs.

Online therapy can be a great tool for helping you process your feelings and build relationship skills. A therapist can provide guidance on how best to move forward and make decisions that are in line with what might bring you happiness and contentment.

By taking the time to reflect on your experiences and understanding why rebound relationships happen, online therapy may help you develop emotional and social skills to build healthier connections.

Recent research shows the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is in line with that of in-person therapy. Additional benefits such as convenience and cost efficiency further support the benefits of online therapy for those looking to move on from a rebound relationship. In addition, professional mental health support can be a valuable tool in helping you take control of your emotions and foster healthier relationships. 


Rebound relationships can be complicated and emotional. However, taking the time to reflect, caring for yourself, and being open about your feelings may help you make decisions that can positively impact your path toward healing.

Although not every rebound relationship causes problems, understanding why they happen and taking steps to avoid them can help provide clarity and insight. Online therapy can be a great asset for helping you process your emotions and develop skills to build healthier connections. With the right tools and support, you could move forward in an empowering and meaningful way.

Through exploring and understanding your emotional journey, you may find yourself in an even better, more fulfilling relationship. You are never alone in your journey — online therapy can be a great resource for helping you find the support you need.

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