Five Signs You’re In A Rebound Relationship, And How To Bounce Back

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated May 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It’s possible you may be in a rebound relationship if it started soon after your previous romantic relationship ended, if you haven’t fully processed the breakup, if you’re still talking about your ex if you don’t talk about the future with your current partner, or if your current partner is distant and aloof. While a rebound relationship can be a fun, exciting way to distract yourself from the pain of a breakup, it can be challenging to form a meaningful connection and be emotionally vulnerable with someone new when you haven’t healed from your previous relationship. Online therapy can help you work through any lingering issues and improve the health of your current relationship. 

What is a rebound relationship?


A rebound relationship typically 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 can genuinely find love and happiness in rebound relationships, it can be important to recognize when you may be 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, potentially 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 taking the time to fully process their emotions first.

It's okay to take some time to heal before entering a new relationship. While there may be no right or wrong amount of time to wait before moving on from one relationship to the next 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

Here are several signs that your relationship could 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, the relationship 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 relationship.
  3. You're still talking about your ex: Constantly discussing or comparing your new partner to your ex or trying to make your ex jealous with your new relationship, could show you're not fully 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 or on the same page about the relationship. 
  5. Your partner is distant and aloof: If your new partner seems uninterested in getting to know the real 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 from their previous relationship 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 may be best for you to spend some time focusing on yourself so that you can heal.

Try to be gentle with yourself and your partner. Rebound relationships can be difficult and confusing, but with the right approach, you can gain clarity 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 often best to 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

Depending on the nature of your relationship and its contents, rebound relationship breakups could be for the best. When it's time to move on from a rebound relationship, one of the best things you can do is usually to 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 after ending a past relationship

Following the dissolution of a relationship, you may feel emotions like anger, sadness, and 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 alleviate stress
  • Setting realistic expectations for any new interactions you have may prevent disappointment

Remember, your self-worth is not dependent on whether you're in a relationship. A healthy relationship may take time and patience, but it’s often 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.

Processing a previous relationship or rebound relationship in online therapy

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. Perhaps best of all, you can enjoy all these benefits without having to leave the comfort of your home.

Recent research shows the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is normally 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. 


If you’re questioning whether you may be in a rebound relationship, you might answer the following questions:

  • Did your current relationship begin soon after your previous relationship came to an end?
  • Have you avoided processing the breakup?
  • Are you still thinking and talking about your ex?
  • Do you avoid talking about the future with your current partner?
  • Is your current partner distant and aloof?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, you could be in a rebound relationship. To work through any lingering issues from your previous relationship and ensure that your current one is healthy, you may wish to speak with a licensed therapist. You can do so in person or online.

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