5 Classic Rebound Relationship Stages Your Ex Is Hiding

Rebound relationships provide the alluring promise of excitement, hope and distraction from two things:

  • The onerous process of detaching from an ex; and
  • The responsibility to deal with your own issues/issues from a previous relationship. 

And yet, not every rebound relationship is doomed to fail. Some of them do work out in the end.

This may not be what you want to hear if you think your ex is in a rebound relationship – and you hope to get your ex back.

But there may still be hope, because remember…

There’s a reason why we call them rebound relationships. It’s because:

  • They lack real emotional attraction; and 
  • Rebound relationship stages are clearly different to the typical stages of a romantic relationship where two people truly fall in love.

Due to the fact that a rebound relationship is initiated based on short-term feelings of hope and the idea that the grass is greener, many of these relationships do not last long-term.

Rebound relationship stages

So let’s answer begin by answering the pressing question: how long will my ex’s rebound last?

How Long Will My Ex’s Rebound last?

If it’s a true rebound, you can expect it to last anywhere between a month to 6 months.

For some people it takes a bit longer than that to end the rebound. It all depends on how long your ex and their new partner can tolerate the inevitable decline of the relationship.

But regardless of how long your ex’s rebound lasts, expect the final weeks or months to not be a happy period for them.

So now let’s get into the 5 classic rebound relationship stages.

Stage #1: The Pick A Low Hanging Fruit Stage…

This stage could last anywhere from days to a couple of months – it usually doesn’t take long to pick a low hanging fruit.

What happens at this stage?

Your ex notices and chases a low hanging fruit.

A low hanging fruit is something that’s easy to get and benefit from. 

Perhaps your ex has the idea that you guys were not truly compatible (by the way, this concept of compatibility is just fluff. But that’s a discussion for another time).

Another possibility is that since your ex didn’t feel happy enough with you, they assumed the solution would be to swing the pendulum and date someone completely different to you.

However, the truth is that because your ex doesn’t want to go through the natural (but arduous) process of getting over the breakup and detaching from you – he or she needs to pick a low hanging fruit quickly in order to fill the hole left by the breakup.

So – who would be classified as a low hanging fruit for your ex? It could be:

  • Someone they previously friend-zoned
  • Someone who has always ‘liked’ them
  • Someone who’s willing to be friends with benefits 
  • Someone who makes themselves easily available
  • Someone whom they secretly kept as backup
  • Someone who saw their vulnerability and lured them in. In other words, an outsider capitalises on your ex’s low self esteem, emotional weakness, and lack of loyalty to you by doing everything you didn’t do for your ex.

    These ‘outsiders’ tend to be opportunistic and attract your ex into a rebound relationship by presenting themselves as the “better” choice.

    For example: some new partners will play the good guy or gal by buying entire new wardrobes or even pay off car loans in their quest to steal your ex.

Now on to one of the rebound relationship stages that is more difficult for you to witness…

Stage #2: The Honeymoon Stage…

This stage usually lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.

I call this the honeymoon stage because that’s what most people understand this stage to be.

Yet I actually think this stage is better described as the excitement stage, because in a rebound relationship, that’s all it is.

A honeymoon phase in a rebound relationship is never the same as it is in a real relationship, because in a “real” relationship, the honeymoon phase is based on deep emotional attraction.

However in a rebound relationship, your ex usually doesn’t have any feelings of emotional attraction towards their rebound at all.

Only excitement.

Recommended: Rebound Relationships: 15 Signs You’re The Rebound (& FAQ)

So the relationship takes off with both people feeling a lot of excitement and at times, passion. 

This is when you may see the PDA (public displays of affection) posts and the blissed-out posts on social media.

Be reassured that even though your ex may be posting these posts more than they ever posted on social media when they were with you, it’s not for good reasons.

The reason they’re posting on social media is because they’re on a dopamine high at best, and because they are compensating for the lack of authenticity of their new relationship at worst.

But the dopamine is just dopamine, and if he or she were honest, your ex probably knows the new relationship is not 100% real, but is trying hard to make it feel real.

(Remember this: real emotional attraction involves dopamine, oxytocin and vasopressin).

Not just dopamine which you can experience easily on a day to day basis. 

You can experience dopamine just by eating some krispy kreme donuts (or, say, rebounding with a new partner who seems to be the opposite of your ex). 

The posts on social media are happening because they feel the need to try hard to reassure themselves and everyone else around them that this rebound relationship is real.

But it’s not. 

If someone is really rebounding in the traditional sense, then what they’re doing at this stage is they are replacing the hole created by the breakup with excitement.

A rebound takes their mind off the hole created by the breakup with someone new. 

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Rebound Relationship Stages: There Is Supposed To Be A Hole!

Unbeknownst to your ex though, there is a good purpose for the hole. It’s meant to be there after a breakup! 

The hole is there because you’re supposed to fill it with your grief! It is supposed to instigate a grieving period.

Emotions such as disappointment, hurt, anger, pining for your ex, sadness, regret, (and perhaps gratefulness) are supposed to be the natural waves of emotion that pave the path to detaching from an ex and healing from a breakup.

Even if your ex is no longer in love with you, or thinks they’re no longer interested in being with you, it takes time to detach from the relationship with you.

Related: 6 Burning Signs He Doesn’t Want A Relationship With You.

Yes, it can take a while – sometimes years – to detach from an ex and to heal from a break up. But that doesn’t make it any less necessary. One still has to walk the path of healing at some point. 

When you walk this natural path with courage and choose to feel instead of running away, you inevitably come to a place where you can detach from your ex.

But not everyone does this.

Not everyone even knows that this is necessary. 

Some people are also a little less emotionally resourceful and emotionally intelligent. These people are usually the ones who struggle to let themselves detach and grieve.

Because they don’t know how to have a healthy attachment.

All they know is the allure of excitement and distraction. That’s their recurring pattern in relationships.

Recommended: 12 Anxious Attachment Triggers: How To Recognise & Heal Them.

And look:

Perhaps they don’t even value their emotions and their relationships enough to feel deeply and grieve a lost partner.

People enter a rebound relationship to try to shortcut this process by filling their void.

They fill the void in the short term with the excitement of a new person – which never lasts – because that’s not what they actually need. 

It’s like a junk food junkie filling their empty stomach with donuts – but it’s not what their body actually needs. It’s not real nutrition.

Let’s get one thing straight: excitement is not happiness. Just because two people in a new relationship are excited, doesn’t mean anything profound at all.

I could get excited about 30 donuts being delivered to my door on a Monday morning…but how much does my excitement over those donuts actually mean?

And how profound do you think my excitement is over these 30 donuts?

Point being: this stage is about feeling superficial excitement.

It doesn’t count for much.

The excitement that your ex feels in a rebound relationship usually comes through the idea of hope and/or distraction. 

It’s the excitement of distraction from deeper issues. 

It’s a seductive kind of excitement, because it means he or she can avoid having to face their emotional unavailability, or the pain over the breakup with someone they were attached to.

This is a stage that’s particularly hard for you to witness if you want to get your ex back…

Because it seems (on the surface) like your ex really values this new person, and that perhaps all the excitement they’re experiencing will make it more ‘real’.

But that’s not necessarily true.

The truth is that yes excitement is an essential ingredient of a quality relationship.

But the type of excitement your ex experiences in a rebound relationship is not the type of excitement that is the glue for a strong long-term relationship.

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Rebound Relationship Stages: Remember That It’s About Taking, Not Giving

We have to remember that in a rebound relationship, the rebounder has not entered this new relationship with the best intent.

They just want to take value for themselves. 

Ie: usually your ex is looking to take value from their new love interest, and they often take a lot more than they can emotionally and mentally give.

Here’s why that is…

It’s because you cannot truly give to someone in a relationship when you have unresolved grief and emotional blockages from a past relationship. 

You also cannot truly give value to a rebound love interest if you are using them as a distraction. Essentially it’s all about you – it’s not about actually falling in love. 

How can it be when you have not detached and grieved your ex?

How can it be when you have a mountain of unresolved issues that you never ‘worked through’ after breaking up with your ex?

In essence, a huge chunk of your body, emotions and soul still ‘belong’ to the previous relationship. 

Related: 2 Traits Of Women That Men Routinely Fall In Love With.

Stage #3: The Comparison Stage:

If it’s a true rebound relationship, then the relationship is not based on any real sense of emotional attraction to begin with, because the person doing the rebounding picked a low hanging fruit.

(Low hanging fruit = easy distraction + no buildup of emotional attraction.)

So what happens in the comparison stage is the excitement wanes and the rebound relationship no longer fills the hole that it initially seemed to fill.

In this stage, your ex notices the hole and they start to compare the new person to you. 

Ironic, considering they probably thought their new love interest would be a more suitable option for them than you were.

Again, because this new relationship was likely never founded on real emotional attraction (if it’s a true rebound relationship, it won’t be), it’s inevitable that when the excitement wears off, the rebounder realises that the hole and the old feeling of emptiness is still there.  

Instead of recognising this hole for what it is: a call to process their emotions so that they can heal in the long-run, they may just assume that the problem is that this new person isn’t as great for them as they initially thought.

Recommended: 5 Unusual Signs A Man Is Falling In Love With You

Stage #4: The Conflict Stage.

Understandably, the comparison stage opens the door to the conflict stage. Why is this?

It’s because any time you compare a new partner to an old flame, you will encounter conflict.

Read also: He Pays For His Ex Girlfriend’s Bills But Won’t Pay For Mine?

Try to remember that the people who tend to rebound are usually people who don’t have good attachment patterns altogether in relationships.

So instead of working on their issues with their ex or working through their own emotional baggage, they tend to assume the problem was that their ex was the ‘wrong’ kind of person for them.

Perhaps they assume they weren’t truly compatible with their ex and that this new person (who’s completely unlike their ex) is the solution. 

It never is.

So they begin to doubt their new choice. Now there’s trouble in paradise.

If your ex is on the rebound, they are not actually emotionally available for their new partner and it becomes obvious at this stage. The new partner then feels upset and possibly even used.

This leads to conflicts that usually center around your ex looking for ways in which their new partner falls short in comparison to you.

There will also likely be conflicts about your ex’s behaviour overall. 

Specifically, the new partner will feel like your ex is exhibiting one or many of the following behaviours:

  • They keep going hot and cold
  • They’re emotionally unavailable
  • They’re often moody
  • Their behaviours shows that they are non committal/commitment phobic
  • They pick fights over trivial things

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Stage #5: The Cycle Continues Stage.

This is the last of the rebound relationship stages. At this stage, your ex realizes that the hole they initially had is not really filled at all.

It was filled initially with the superficial excitement of a new person, but it could never really last.

Consequently, they notice that they’re feeling as empty as they were in their previous relationship, or when they first broke up with you.

So why does the cycle continue? 

Because at this stage, they reach a place that is similar – if not the same as – the place they were in when they first decided to pick a low hanging fruit!

That place is crying out for them to process their emotions and to detach or heal from the breakup.

If the pain they feel (about their ex and about their new relationship) is finally burning enough that they are forced to grieve the attachment to their ex – then they may end the rebound relationship.

But they may also not end the relationship. Instead they may stay in the rebound relationship and keep the toxic cycle going.

For a lot of people, they just don’t understand the importance of grieving. 

Recommended: Why Does He Keep Me Around If He Doesn’t Want A Relationship?

So instead of taking the time to feel and heal, they go from relationship to relationship, schlepping their baggage around for others to unpack.

So what will happen at this point?

  • At this point, they could try to keep you and their new rebound partner around
  • They could leave the rebound relationship
  • They could also make up with their rebound partner and promise things will be better 

But it doesn’t truly get better in the foreseeable future if they stay in the rebound relationship.

Why?

Because when you stay in a rebound relationship, it’s very hard not to bring all your issues into the new relationship.

Also, for many people, it’s hard to truly grieve and be free of your emotional ties with your ex whilst you’re dating someone new.

The new person has to be somewhat of a saint in order to put up with all the extra baggage. 

This is because every moment of grieving, every emotional blockage and every frustration to do with your ex will burden the new partner in some way.

Some rebound relationships can overcome this, but most do not.

So the cycle repeats.

Because if your ex stays with their rebound, then the same pattern of emotions and behaviour that initially led them to seek out a rebound partner will play out once again.

They’re still going to try to fill that same hole they originally had with surface solutions.

Related: What Makes A Man Leave His Wife For Another Woman?

Also, your ex is still the same person they were at the first rebound relationship stage: the stage of picking a low hanging fruit.

Their general patterns of behaviour in intimate relationships have not changed.

Bottom line: 

If you’re usually selfish in a relationship, you’re still going to be selfish.

If you tend to sabotage your relationship because you’re not comfortable in emotional intimacy, then you’re going to do the same in the new relationship – until you resolve those issues. 

(Or until your saint of a new partner – if indeed they are a saint – helps you recover, heal and become a brand new person.)

Related: How To Get Out Of Pain In Your Relationship.

So this final stage opens the door for your ex to finally surrender to emotions and deal with their issues, or to just avoid these issues completely and continue on their toxic whirlwind. 

Usually, people tend to leave the rebound relationship.

Why?

Because the person doing the rebounding brings so much toxicity and so many emotional blockages into the new relationship that it’s simply unworkable. 

Related: 10 Seemingly Harmless Signs Of A Toxic Relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions On Rebound Relationship Stages

How Long Until A Rebound Relationship Fails?

If your ex is in a true rebound relationship, then the first signs you’ll notice of it beginning to break down will occur at 6-10 weeks with their new flame.

As for how long until it fails completely – that depends on what kind of person your ex is, as well as on what their new flame is willing to tolerate.

How Long Does The Honeymoon Phase Last In A Rebound Relationship?

The honeymoon phase usually lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks in a rebound relationship.

Do Rebounds Delay Healing?

They delay healing in the short-term. But you cannot delay healing indefinitely, because excitement doesn’t fill the hole created by the breakup.

Furthermore, blocked emotions always find a way out in the end.

Why Do Dumpers Rebound?

There are a few possible reasons…

  • Because they didn’t perceive enough value in their previous relationship or marriage.
  • Because they were never fully emotionally committed to their ex.
  • Because there was not enough emotional connection and emotional attraction in the first relationship.
  • Because they cannot see past the conflicts in their previous relationship. Thus they make the mistake of thinking that they will not experience the same conflicts with a new person (who is very different from their ex).
  • Because being alone with their grief is too hard.
  • Because they think that it could show everyone they’re capable of fixing the previous ‘mistake’ they made in a choice of partner.

There Are 7 Common Signs That A Woman is Perceived as Low Value to All Men. CLICK HERE to find out what they are.

What Should You Do Now?

You may want to know now whether it’s possible to get your ex back, and if it’s possible, then when is the best moment to attempt to do that?

Now that you’ve learned the rebound relationship stages, you may have an idea in your head about when your ex is most vulnerable to being attracted back into the relationship with you.

Here are three ideas I have and recommend for you:

  1. Wait until they are in the comparison stage (because that’s when they are likely to be missing you the most) to apologise for any hurts or damage that you may have caused – if you did indeed hurt your ex.
  2. Know that they are your ex for a reason, and if you try to get them back or accept them back, then you’re going to have to work very hard to break old toxic cycles that you had with them. (Most people aren’t cut out for this. But rest assured, with the right mindset, it is possible to worth through things.)
  3. Spend some time grieving your own pain, confusion, hurt and anger to try to see if you can reach a state of being more emotionally calibrated, and find your own closure.

Is your man serious about committing to you? CLICK HERE to find out with my specially crafted 8 Question Quiz!

Should You Go No Contact?

Going no contact is intuitive for some people. They know and feel it’s the right thing to do in the context of a breakup.

If this is not you, and you know you’ll have trouble going no contact, then listen up:

Creating healthy detachments is essential in your life.

This person is your ex for a reason, and if you physically and emotionally feel like you can’t do no contact – then you may have deeper abandonment issues or insecure attachment issues.

That’s where I can help. You may want to test yourself with these 15 signs you have abandonment issues.

You also may want to learn to self soothe your anxiety by reading this article.

I understand no contact can be hard for some people. So I urge you to use the time to grieve, reflect and process for yourself.

Jumping to get your ex back, or diving straight back into an old relationship could have massive costs – especially if you try to get your ex back before the comparison stage.

So whatever you’re thinking of doing, have a good think about the cost of your actions before you go ahead and do them.

Remember…

Right now, your job is to:

Final Words: Make Sure You Are Always Showing Up As THIS Woman

There’s one last thing you should know – when guys meet you, they will put you into one of two baskets.

The first category is the ‘one and only’ basket. The second is the ‘one of many’ basket. Once you’re one of many, it’s hard to ever get into the one and only basket.

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