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Decoding Rebound Relationships

We frequently hear people ask about rebound relationships. Yet, how do you really know if the new someone that you’re dating is ready for a real relationship or just on the rebound? Is this person ready to handle the investment of your trust and emotions?

A general feeling of being off-balance, accompanied by feelings of sadness, anxiety, confusion, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite, can manifest after a breakup. A person’s sense of self-worth, attractiveness, and desirability can all be called into question. All of these could leave the person who is fresh from break up feeling emotionally vulnerable and needy. Loneliness and the need for affection and personal gratification often become a rebounder’s top relationship priorities.

To cope with the intense emotions, a rebounder could be tempted to move quickly into a relationship with someone who will nurture them and tell them only the things that they need to hear i.e. that they’re loveable, attractive, desirable and worthwhile. This is the rebounders attempt to heal themselves (largely ego) and forget the pain of the breakup. Life then becomes a blissful spur-of-the-moment encounter with the present partner. And, the other person (reboundee) in the new “exciting” relationship may feel that they have finally found their soul mate.

On the surface things seem good, but inevitably one or both people in the relationship is likely to feel hurt. Days, week, and even months may pass and then eventually the glow will fade and the person doing the rebounding will begin to feel like their old self again. Once this happens he/she may see their new partner as merely a transitional friend who open heartedly helped them through a tough time. This is also when the rebounder starting seeking another “real” relationship. The other party is often left wounded and crushed. Unluckily, the fantasies of falling in love are more pronounced in rebound relationships.

What must one do then if a person fresh from break-up comes rushing into your arms? First thing, you must do is to see the person as they really are as of the moment: vulnerable and needy. Don’t deny them their need for support, affection, and companionship, but also recognize that anything further is a huge risk for both of you. People on the rebound can’t exactly recognize a legitimate need for affection and the real feeling of love. A reboundee might enjoy the high regard of rescuing someone from their pain, but be careful not to mistake the depth of the relationship. As the rebounder is nursed back their old self you might not be included in their new life. Be kind, compassionate and wise enough to give them what they really need, a true friend, not a lover.

If you are the one who is suddenly alone, there is a need to recognize your own needs for healing, reforming, and rebuilding yourself again. Consider your role in the rebound relationship, and your need to heal others. Know that being out of a relationship is not a bad thing. It opens up opportunity for you to grow in ways that you can’t when you’re in a relationship. It’s also a wonderful “ME” time, where you can reconnect with your spiritual life and resolve resentments that you may feel toward your past partner. This is also a good time to widen your support system and create more balance in your life.

You’ll survive this difficult emotional time. You’ll live to see another day of laughter and love. Realize that every occasion unfolds in its time, and it’s best to accept the situation and not artificially rush into your next relationship. Trying to fall in love fast doesn’t make you any less needy.

Rebound relationships are by all means risky. As a matter of fact, 8 out of 10 people who remarry within a year after their divorce end up getting divorced again! So, it’s best to take it slow, heal, feel your feelings, and learn from the lessons of your past decisions and choices. Through it you stand a much better chance of building a love that can last a lifetime, and you will have created a meaningful and fulfilling life you can live without regrets.


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