What Is A Rebound Relationship?

 By Nina Atwood

What is the definition of a “rebound relationship”? Is it true they can be unhealthy??- David

Rebound relationships occur very shortly after the end of a significant love, and sometimes begin before the end. The problem with a rebound is that it doesn’t allow time for the grieving and healing process to be complete.

When this happens, there is emotional confusion. Sometimes, the feelings for the old partner simply transfer to the new one, and that results in the illusion that you’ve found someone totally “different,” when, in fact, you’ve found someone very much like your old love. Often the issues that drove you away from your previous partner are the very ones with which you eventually find yourself grappling in the new relationship.

Rebound relationships serve a purpose: To protect the heart from the devastation of losing someone very important. Like a very big cushion, they protect us from the trauma of the fall that is experienced when a deep connection is abruptly severed. These relationships can be healthy, as long as you remain aware of their purpose and take your time with your new partner. If you are not paying attention, however, a rebound relationship can be unhealthy. Potential problems include:

Expecting a new partner to make up for the shortcomings of the old. “Since my last girlfriend cheated on me, I expect you to give me 100% reassurance of your loyalty 24 hours a day.”

Commitment hunger. “My last boyfriend dated me for three years without making a commitment, so I’m expecting an engagement ring within six months or I’m out of here.”

Chronic fear and anxiety. “After what my ex did to me, I have to constantly check to see that you’re really there for me, even if that drives you crazy.”

Skyrocket relationship. Rebound dating relationships are often too fast-paced, with a false sense of urgency, in order to “make sure” that this one sticks.

The biggest risk of a rebound is that it serves its purpose and then the re-bounder moves on, leaving someone else devastated. If you’re dating someone who has just left another relationship, know that you may have a Westbound Train. Don’t allow the rebounding person to set the pace, as it will be too fast and may leave you in the dust. Take your time, allow the relationship to develop slowly, and take good care of yourself emotionally (i.e., have a good support system).

A rebound relationship can work out, as long as you and your partner are able to develop a genuinely loving and trusting bond, and that you maintain good communication each step of the way.

Copyright ?1997 Nina Atwood, All Rights Reserved
Reprints Only by Written Permission of Nina Atwood

Entry Filed under: Breaking Up


  • 1. Lois  |  January 23rd, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    my “boyfriend” keeps dating me after our rebound relationship, which lasted for a month. he started to chase me 2 months after breaking up with his ex, and 4 months later when he was able to be around her, he told me we should stop our relationship. even after, he keeps dating me and saying he loves me, but just can’t give a committment. I’m wondering… how many of you have dated a person after the rebound relationship? or am I still in a rebound? or is it a rebound that’s about to work out?

  • 2. AF  |  August 9th, 2007 at 1:40 am

    My girlfriend and I recently broke off a 4+ year relationship and have both moved on. I have accepted things, but she has decided to cut me out of her life for some fear of regret and deep feelings for me. Unfortunately she “rebounded” quickly and has already exhibited all the classic mistakes of a rebound having fast forwarded the relationship and apparently fallen in love seeking marriage. I am disappointed in this obvious mistake and am truly only concerned for her well being. Its unfortunate because her new guy is a nice guy, but IS ALSO ON THE REBOUND! She’s a sweet girl who means well, but good grief, how do I breach this subject with her without appearing jealous or nosy?

  • 3. Cherie  |  October 16th, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    After 21 months, I kicked my ex boyfriend out because all we did was fight. Two days later, he moved in with a toothless crack head woman 41 years old. 10 years older than him, 5 years older than me. They have been together for five months and he has cheated on her several times with me and we even talked about getting back together. But things did not go the way I planned so I told him via a letter that I could not see him anymore and that I had found someone else. Thing of it is, I told him that because I was afraid of getting hurt. I have two questions. Number 1- Do we still have a chance to get back together? Number 2- Will he stay with her? He is in a rebound relationship and I don’t think it will last much longer. This woman is a dog. I am so much better than she will ever be.

  • 4. margie  |  July 2nd, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    i was married for 25 years and now i just got a divorce and i just moved in with a guy a month ago that i really like but he thinks this is a rebound from my marriage but i have been away from my ex for 2 years before the divorce..and i cant seem to get this though to this guy He is not a rebound Love that i really care for him and want to be with him, plz someone help me i dont want to lose him

  • 5. Jenna  |  August 11th, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    I was the rebound girl and I really got hurt. During our relationship, the guy would break down and cry about his ex girlfriend. Even though he had broken up with her almost 6 months prior to meeting me, he was never fully present in being with me. I was okay to have around for sex and companionship. Eventually I had the courage to leave and sadly, he did come running after me. If you meet a person who still cries over their ex, RUN. You don’t need to be the standby while “they find themselves”. All you get is left alone and hurt in the end and they end up moving on and finding that “true love” with the “right person”. No one needs that.

  • 6. Andrea  |  August 28th, 2008 at 7:23 am

    I dated a guy for over a year and a half. We decided to “take a break,” and he stopped talking to me for a month. I finally officially broke up with him since he stopped communicating with me. Four months later he showed up at my church with a new girlfriend who looks just as clueless as can be. When I was dating him, he was still nursing old wounds from an ex girlfriend he had dated five years prior to me. That should have been a red flashing sign right there! I think this new girl is a rebound, but I’m not sure I really want him back now anyway.

  • 7. maria  |  October 7th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Just had my heart broken by a rebounder. He had a five year relationship with a girl, since then he had a 6month relationship with another girl. I assumed that she was his rebound and he was emotionally ready for something serious…how wrong was i??! I guess someone can still be rebounding 1 year and 1 relationship later…I just wish i hadn’t lost my virginity to him!!!

    just one thing I would like to point out that someone mentioned on another website from her experience. be weary if they arn’t that interested in sex but would rather just hold you…that’s all. I always wondered why he wasn’t really interested in sex, it was because he wanted the companionship more than anything.

  • 8. rory tolbot  |  November 29th, 2011 at 8:35 am

    i finished with my ex 2 mounts ago , now she’s with another guy and wants 2 get married 2 him next year and have kids with him , she already has 4 girls 4 me , it is killing me that she is doing this 2 herself i would go back 2 her in a flash if she asked me , is she on the rebound.


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