Signs You're Rebounding After A Breakup

Although the word "rebound" tends to have a negative connotation to it, it doesn't stop people from having rebound relationships. If you've been with someone for a long time and suddenly the relationship is over, for whatever reason, you're not just losing your partner, but your best friend, and if you've built a life together, so much more is lost. Breakups are painful and often debilitating, and for those who can't weather the aftermath and loss alone, turning to someone new as soon as possible sometimes feels like the best idea.


"[A rebound is] when people get into a relationship soon after a breakup, even if they're not ready to be in a relationship," psychologist Juhi Pandey tells Bonobology. "One person has just gotten out of a long-term relationship, grabs the other person to bury the pain and get over the loneliness they feel ... People indulge in rebound relationships to get over the pain and memories of the person they loved. To help them move on normally in life, sometimes they think the best course of action is to jump into another relationship."

While rebounds rarely get a high-five, metaphorically or literally, research has found that not all rebounds are bad. A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that contrary to their bad rap, there's no scientific proof that there's anything wrong with rebounds or that these types of relationships are even "misguided," as the study's authors wrote. But while that's the case, for good or bad, if you're in a rebound relationship, you might want to know it before things get messy and confusing.


You moved on to someone new really fast

When you're rebounding, the first thing you want to do is get someone else in your life who's going to fill the void that your ex left behind. Not only do you move on to that new person as if they're the last person on the planet and you don't have a second to spare, but you immediately start spending all your time together — all of it. It's as though you fell off the boat when your relationship ended, and before you could even come up for air, you already have someone in their place 24/7.


"I call this false intimacy," relationship therapist Erin McMaugh Tierno, LCSW-R, tells Self. "You're spending all of your time together, except you don't even know what kinds of foods they're allergic to." It's wonderful to have that companionship that was lost in the breakup, but companionship that lacks intimacy isn't likely to evolve into something deeper — hence the reason it's a rebound relationship. Rebounds run in shallow currents and never get more than a couple inches below the surface.

You think (and talk) about your ex all the time

It's so normal to think about your ex after a breakup. In fact, it's completely natural to think about some exes, not just weeks and months after you've broken up, but even years later. When you've truly loved someone and shared your life with them, you don't just forget them. It's not as though you can take a magic potion to erase them from your mind, so thinking about them, talking about them, and missing them makes sense. But it's when it becomes obsessive that all arrows will point to you being in a rebound situation.


"The biggest sign that you are in a rebound relationship is if you feel like you are constantly missing your ex," relationship expert Lori Bizzoco tells Bustle. "Naturally, you will miss your past partner, especially if it was a long-term relationship and you both had plans for the future, but there is a big difference between occasionally thinking about your ex vs. obsessing over him. If you are constantly trying to figure out ways to get back together or if you cannot stop texting, Facebook stalking or even talking about your ex, even though you are dating someone new, then it is highly likely your new guy or girl is just a rebound." While having a rebound is one thing, you may want to consider if your rebound wants to be a rebound, especially if you start comparing them to your ex out loud.


You're more into the sex component than anything else

No matter what sort of sex life you had with your ex, if you've snagged yourself a rebound, you'll know it because the biggest focus for you is being sexually involved and feeling that person against you and in your bed. "The reason we hurt so deeply after a long-term sexual relationship ends is that our body chemistry is going through a withdrawal process," licensed counselor Dr. Suzanne Degges-White tells Cosmopolitan.


Not only is there the withdrawal factor, but when we orgasm, oxytocin is released into our bloodstream and can cause many problems. Not bad problems! But problems where you might think you're falling in love — oxytocin is a tricky hormone when it comes to confusing lust and love. So, you find yourself wanting more sex with your rebound, and as you get deeper and deeper, you may become more confused and start thinking your rebound is more than it actually is.

You can feel yourself being emotionally distant

When your ex is on your brain all the time, you only want sex with this new person, and you're spending the majority of your time with them, yet you don't feel a connection, then something is up. It means you're emotionally unavailable at this juncture in your life. While there are many reasons why someone might be emotionally unavailable, when it comes to a rebound, this unavailability can stem from not having processed your former relationship (hence constantly thinking about your ex) or just simply not being into this person on an authentic level. 


If you could take or leave this particular person — your rebound — then that's your gut telling you this isn't the cure you're looking for. You're not present, and you're not interested in the long-term, no matter what you might try to tell yourself. Deep down, it is just not there — that "it" is what it takes to build a long-lasting, committed relationship. If you've never experienced emotional unavailability before, but now you are, then that speaks volumes as to what this relationship really is: a rebound.

You're obsessed with splashing your new relationship all over social media

There's nothing quite like meeting someone new and parading them all around town, making sure your ex is well aware that you've supposedly moved on — this is called Gatsbying — and so darn happy and living your best life that you absolutely must share every single second of your new relationship on social media. But hold up and think about why you're doing this.


"It's normal in a new relationship to want to show off your new partner to the world — but only once you're sure the relationship is solid and secure," sex therapist Stephen Snyder, M.D., tells Men's Health. "Sometimes with a new partner who's on the rebound, the sequence will feel out of whack. They'll want to show you off first, before you've really gotten to know each other." Sure, "there's always a competition with an ex, it's called 'who'll die miserable?" as Samantha Jones said on "Sex and the City," but eventually, what you're doing starts to look really obvious, and you end up being perceived as the miserable one.

You don't want to introduce them to people in your life

Although you may be posting photos and Instagram stories left and right of this new person, making sure your ex is well aware that you've moved on and deliriously happy, when it comes to actually letting the people in your life meet this new person, you just don't want it to happen. In fact, you want to keep this person so far away from the people closest to you that even if you show up at a party with them (you know, to keep up appearances and all that jazz), you won't introduce them with the same enthusiasm you would if it were a legit relationship, and you'll limit the amount of time they have to interact with those closest to you (nice attempt at a save, but your besties know they're your rebound). 


Anything and everything pertaining to this person is best left to social media as far as you're concerned. Besides, what's the point of your nearest and dearest getting to know someone who's just a placeholder? 

You feel resentment toward them

When you're so fixated on the past and your ex, it's hard not to be bitter, angry, or even resent the new person in your life. It doesn't matter how kind they are to you or how much you've convinced yourself that you want them in your life, just the fact that they're not your ex can cause deep levels of resentment toward them. "A lot of times, [bitterness] means that there are unprocessed emotions there," relationship therapist Shanet Dennis, LMFT, tells Self.


But because it's a rebound relationship, you didn't even give yourself the opportunity to process anything, let alone your emotions before starting something new. It's unfair to have someone around and keep them in your life just so you're not alone, all the while resenting them for not being the person you really want to be with and are secretly hoping will eventually come back to you. Feelings of resentment against someone whose only fault is not being your ex is a major sign that you're rebounding, and they're the innocent prey. 

You have no idea how you feel about them

You want to hang out all the time, you're bitter that they're not your ex, you can't get your ex out of your head, you don't want anyone to meet them, but you want everyone (specifically your ex) on social media to know they exist, and you feel zero intimacy when you're with them. Sound about right? If you nodded your head "yes" to most of these, then you're definitely, undoubtedly, rebounding. While research has shown that there's nothing wrong with rebounding or that every rebound automatically ends in a disaster, the point is when you're rebounding, you're not taking anyone else's feelings into account and that's just bad karma. 


No matter how much you may be emotionally and mentally suffering, you also need to remember that human beings are not your personal playthings to help you get on the other side of your pain. If your rebound knows that you're rebounding and they're cool with it, then great! But if they don't know, then don't lead them on and be reckless with their heart. Instead, turn to healthier ways to recover from your breakup. A good place to start would be to call a therapist specializing in these types of heartaches.