Rebound relationships are often (but not always) born out of a person’s denial and lost self esteem.
Denial often lingers within us without us even knowing. Thus, that’s one reason why people enter into rebound relationships.
Because breakups are hard, and they’re even harder if the person was emotionally attached to their ex.
When that attachment is severed, it leads to a lot of grief and unfulfilled needs. So people often enter rebound relationships when they are not capable of grieving (they’re in denial) and in order to fulfil unmet needs.
When a couple breaks up, that threatens the supply of connection, attention and sex. When supply of these important things goes out the window, it’s hard to find your feet again.
And why lost self esteem?
Because inside of most relationships, there’s at least some level of regular feedback from your partner that you are worthy and desirable.
A breakup disrupts that.
Not to mention, for some of us, our self esteem is tied to being loved, connected and attached to someone (ie: the ex).
If the breakup was bad, if we always felt ‘less than’, or if the ex left for someone seemingly “better”, then it becomes very easy – and appealing – to rebound with someone in a desperate attempt to repair broken self esteem.
That’s also when people seek out rebound sex.
Instead of grieving their ex and the breakup, instead of processing all the difficult feelings, they jump straight into easily available attention and sex.
And due to the fact that grieving is hard, many people try not to do it.
Human beings tend to want to avoid pain in pursuit of pleasure, so rebound relationships can be an attractive option.
This act of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure is the harsh reality of rebound relationships – but it’s also the upside.
Why is that?
Because when someone is avoiding pain with surface or momentary pleasure, you’ll see it in their body language (unless you’re also in denial because you don’t want to admit that you’re the rebound).
It’s really obvious when someone is avoiding the pain of grieving their ex partner by using you.
Other people around you are frequently the ones who can see it in action, but you may not be able to see it (because you’re in it).
So let’s unpack the whole rebound relationships thing and help you move forward in your love life in a resourceful way.
In this article, we will explore:
- What is a rebound relationship?
- The signs of a rebound relationship
- How long do rebound relationships last
- Do rebounds help you move on?
- 3 reasons why rebound relationships fail
- Do Rebound Relationships Move Fast?
- How long do rebound relationships last for men?
- Is being a rebound a bad thing?
- Is rebound sex good for you?
- And finally, more FAQ on rebound relationships…
What Is A Rebound Relationship?
A rebound relationship is commonly understood as a relationship that is initiated not long after a romantic breakup – before they have processed the emotions about the breakup.
There’s a lot of negative assumptions surrounding rebound relationships. Sometimes the people who initiate a rebound relationship are frowned upon as immature or as ‘users’.
It is also commonly understood that you don’t want to be “the rebound”, because essentially you’re getting used. It doesn’t always have to be the case that you’re getting used, but it is often the case.
Here are 15 signs of a rebound relationship to look out for. Not all signs will show up for you, but if you notice 5 or more of these to be true for you, be wary.
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15 Signs Of A Rebound Relationship
- They seem to like the attention you give them the most.
- Their ‘new person’ is someone they previously friend-zoned or secretly kept as back up.
- Their behaviour feels more like they’re keeping you as a “friend”.
- You notice that their body language often feels tense (closed off) when they’re with you.
- They’re emotionally unavailable.
- Their behaviour seems to be hot and cold. (Here’s why men go hot and cold.)
- They vent about their ex a lot (using you to let off steam.)
- When you see them, it’s all about the sex.
- They are completely un-attuned to you (ie: they don’t consider how you feel).
- You’re in an on and off relationship with them. (on and off relationships can be a sign that you’re a rebound, but don’t have to be.)
- Your relationship didn’t last long (or you always felt like it could end without notice). Since many rebound relationships are entered into without any real emotional connection and emotional attraction built up first, it may always feel like the relationship is about to slip away.
- Their behaviour repeatedly lowers your self esteem (because the breakup with their ex lowered their self esteem, and since they haven’t processed those feelings properly, they pass on their low self esteem to you). (Yeah, thanks for that!)
- You look and act completely differently to his ex. (Men especially choose a certain type of woman to be in an emotionally committed relationship with, and choose other women for easy sex.) If you genuinely feel like you might be in the easy sex category, it’s time to be wary.
- They entered into this new relationship with you before informing friends and family about the breakup.
- They make verbal promises, but you’ve never felt the promises come to fruition.
Ladies, the crucial thing to remember about a guy who is rebounding with you, is that no matter how much you like him, you will cease to be more than a tool for him, at least in the short term.
Take a look at this example from a lady in our group who painfully found herself to be a rebound girl.
How Long Do Rebound Relationships Last?
Some experts suggest that rebound relationships last anywhere from 1 month to a year.
Still, since every relationship involves two unique individuals, how long it lasts will depend on these two individuals and the type of relationship they had with the ex.
The truth is that sometimes rebound relationships don’t last longer than a few days or weeks. And sometimes, rebound relationships can actually last for the remainder of the person’s natural life (this is a rare occurence – it’s what I’d consider to be a “grey” area!)
Take this marriage as an example to consider…
But can we still consider the above example to be a true rebound relationship?
Arguably, the ones that “last” long-term are not really “rebound relationships” in the traditional sense. Most true rebounds will end within the first 6 months.
If you’re looking for a more specific timeframe, I’ve broken down the definitive stages of a rebound relationship to help you gauge how long a rebound relationship will last.
Oftentimes, we may assume that someone (perhaps our own ex) is in a rebound relationship, but the reality is that perhaps they weren’t as attached to us as we previously believed.
Simply put, if someone wasn’t that attached to their ex, then their rebound relationship may actually turn out to be long lasting.
All in all, how long do rebound relationships last?
It depends on the person doing the rebounding, and it depends on how attached they were to their ex.
If they were super emotionally attached, then chances are, the rebound relationship won’t last longer than 3 months.
Sometimes when someone is still attached to their ex, you also get awkward situations like when a guy is with a new girl whilst still paying his ex’s bills (but he won’t pay for the new girls bills).
Do Rebounds Help You Move On?
One study showed that people in new relationships were more confident in their desirability and had more determination over their ex-partner.
Another study that assessed the amount of time that passed between a divorce and the next serious relationship found no effect of time on the dissolution rates of the second relationship.
This suggests that the negative implications of rebounding could be just a misconception.
I think these are valuable perspectives, but as with any study, we have to keep an open mind and keep asking questions.
Especially since it’s your love life we’re talking about here – it’s the key to your overall fulfilment in life.
(Plus, what truly is the long term value of being “more confident in their desirability” and having “more determination over their ex partner”?)
If you need to jump straight from a dying relationship into another person, and use them to fill up with attention, sex, and validation, then that’s not true confidence in your desirability.
And it’s no way to start a strong relationship.
That’s just taking value from a new partner to avoid the pain of feeling like you’re not enough. Which, if you face and process, it may actually help you heal in the long-term.
In my life experience, I have found that any scientific or research study has some value, but we cannot take the study as the be-all and end-all.
Some truths go beyond the simplicity of scientific observation, because studies don’t always look at things from multiple (human) perspectives.
It’s beyond their capacity to do that.
In other words, I question whether rebound relationships are good for you and your new partner long term, even though some rebound relationships can (and do) last.
Also, just because someone finds a rebound person to settle with, and that person stays with them, doesn’t mean that it is a successful relationship.
We have to remember that plenty of relationships and marriages “survive” or “stay together”, but are far from successful.
Do you consider a couple who stays together for 70 years but beat each other, successful?
Do you consider a couple who stays together for 70 years all the while having no real emotional closeness, to be successful?
Plenty of rebound relationships do fail for the following reasons…
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3 Reasons Why Rebound Relationships Fail
1: The “rebounder” didn’t grieve properly and carries these emotional blockages into the next relationship, leading to ultimate toxicity.
2: Rebound relationships are largely based on attention and sex – neither of which is the foundation of a truly strong emotional bond.
3: Rebound relationships often involve a new person who is completely unlike the ex. This could be harmless, or it could be problematic. It’s problematic for women who become the rebound girl because whilst a man’s ex might have been their one and only woman, the rebound girl is often the ‘one of many’ woman. Learn about how to be the one and only here.
Do Rebound Relationships Move Fast?
They do have a tendency to move fast, but they don’t in every case. How fast they move depends on how well the rebound girl (or rebound guy) regulates the behaviour of the person doing the rebounding.
Don’t always expect a rebound relationship to move fast – but always expect the rebounder to act in ways that feel unnatural according to the time you’ve spent together.
Put another way, rebounders often short-cut emotional bonding and you’ll feel like they’re not willing to meet you at the pace that you’re comfortable with. (Which is a red flag in dating).
How Long Do Rebound Relationships Last For Men?
For men, a rebound relationship could last indefinitely, and it could last a day. It could also end up being an on-and-off relationship.
It really depends on how authentic the woman is in putting him in his place and in demanding nothing short of full honesty.
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Is Being A Rebound A Bad Thing?
Being someone’s rebound usually feels bad, but especially so for women. Whis is this?
It’s because no woman likes to be used for sex, and when she is used for sex, it’s much harder to get over it emotionally than it is for men. (Here’s how to tell what a guy wants from you.)
Conversely, a lot of men wouldn’t feel as if they ‘gave up’ as much and they wouldn’t feel as ‘used’ if they got sex out of the rebound relationship.
This is because the minimum investment for engaging in sex is naturally lower for men.
Is Rebound Sex Good For You?
People have sex for many, many different reasons (pretty much every reason you could imagine). All of those reasons are valid (as a matter of fact, all of these reasons have been researched, studied and dissected).
Nonetheless, whether rebound sex is good for you or not, depends on two things:
- The person; and
- The context.
Let’s talk about the person first.
Some people just don’t invest as much emotionally in relationships.
In other words, they weren’t as emotionally vulnerable with their ex, and therefore they can handle the rebound sex; it feels more ‘natural’ for them.
(Since they were never particularly emotionally attached to their ex anyway).
When they’re not particularly emotionally attached, then there’s less to grieve, because there’s less perceived loss.
But for most people who had a healthy attachment to their ex, rebound sex is as good as drinking alcohol to make you feel like you have high self esteem.
Drinking alcohol might make someone feel all confident, relaxed and happy. But it’s short-lived. And it only changes your state momentarily, it doesn’t help you process any grief.
The same goes with the concept that having rebound sex is good for you. It’s good for you in the short-term, and it’s good for you on a surface level.
Basically it changes your physiology and hormones by giving you some novelty. You get to get your rocks off, you get surface connection and surface self esteem (that never replaces real self esteem).
It staves off some painful emotions for a while, and then at some point, you have to face the reality of the ex you lost (and the relationship you lost).
Essentially, it’s borrowed self esteem.
If you don’t face the pain of a lost relationship, what happens is that you create emotional blockages that carry over into your new relationship.
This then damages the emotional health of your new partner as well as your own. (Remember one of the signs of a rebound relationship, above? It was sign 11 – “their behaviour repeatedly lowers your self esteem”).
As for the topic of context – whether rebound sex is good for you can also depend on the context.
For example, let’s say a person just officially broke up with their ex, but they had been processing and grieving the slow death of their relationship for a while already.
Put simply, they (and possibly their ex) knew that the relationship was dying, but didn’t want to break it off yet.
Sometimes in this situation, people remain good friends who lost sexual polarity in the relationship and lost attraction and desire – for a while!
In such a case, rebound sex might be good for them, provided that neither person feels used.
But I say all that with a caveat: casual sex isn’t necessarily good for you. Especially if you’re a woman.
There’s always a price to be paid, and it’s up to each individual whether you want to pay it or not. Sometimes it may be worth the cost – but that’s up to each of us to decide.
It’s kind of like suggesting that lollies are good for you, or superficial friends and superficial social connection are good for you…
Well, they can be, but they do come at a cost. Perhaps the cost cancels out any good in it.
Now for some frequently asked questions…
Frequently Asked Questions On Rebound Relationships
What Usually Happens In A Rebound Relationship?
Here’s what usually happens in a rebound relationship:
- The rebounder notices and chases a low hanging fruit (ie: someone who has always ‘liked’ them, someone who’s willing to be friends with benefits, or someone who makes themselves sexually available).
- The relationship takes off with both people feeling a lot of excitement and at times, passion.
- Soon thereafter, the person chosen to be the rebound partner begins noticing that the rebounder’s emotional commitment is lacking or non-existent.
- The rebound girl or rebound guy realizes that they have to live in the shadow of their new lover’s ex, or that they are a welcome distraction for the anger and sadness related to their ex.
- The excitement of the honeymoon period is replaced with feelings of disappointment, sadness and anger for both parties – which leads to a conflict.
- This conflict leads to either the death of the rebound relationship, or the beginning of the rebounder’s healing, which can mean that the relationship finds its own two feet and lasts long-term.
As for the conflict leading to the beginning of the rebounder’s healing, here’s an example of that taken from our facebook group.
Do Rebounds Make You Miss Your Ex More?
Yes, true rebound relationships will make you miss your ex more, and this will happen in the comparison stage of the rebound relationship stages.
Do Guys Ever Go Back To Their Rebound Girl?
Of course they do. Why not, if it’s an easy option (that costs them nothing?)
I’ll let these responses from some smart ladies in our facebook group do the rest of the talking…
Can You Fall In Love With A Rebound?
Generally speaking, it is difficult to truly fall in love with a rebound, because they are not built on deep emotional attraction. But I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, because every relationship is born of different contexts (and involves different people).
It’s much more likely that one will feel infatuated with a rebound partner rather than falling in love with them. Because rebounds are about filling a ‘hole’ from a breakup with the novelty of dating a new person.
Falling in love or romantic love leads to a true pair bond in us humans. Due to the fact that a lot of rebound relationships are founded on novelty and distraction, they bypass essential stages of bonding.
Thus it’s hard to imagine most rebound relationships ending up in this authentic place of love and bonding. Though I do believe it’s possible for a couple to kind of ‘reset’ and begin afresh after a rebounder processes their emotions from the breakup.
So if you know of any rebound relationships where the people did end up falling in love (and not just infatuation), let us know in the comments, I’d love to hear the story!
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How To Avoid Rebound Relationships?
- Be grounded in the desire to emotionally connect (because rebounds are usually about excitement rather than connection and happiness).
- Build on your own intrinsic value, so that you’re no longer in a place where you have an excessive need to seek attention and validation from a new person.
When you have a big need for validation, you’ll always be a magnet for rebound relationships. And that’s true whether you’re the rebounder, or whether you always find yourself being someone else’s rebound.
I hope this article helped you! I wish for you to always know that you are infinitely worthy, and you never need to settle for being someone’s rebound.
The answer is almost always in building on your own intrinsic value. The purpose of this is so that you become immune to men who want to use you and feed off your need for validation and attention.
Please leave me a comment below, and let me know whether you found this article helpful or not! Thanks so much! Xx
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Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
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