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What is a Rebound Relationship?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
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Following a painful romantic break-up, some people enter into a new relationship almost immediately, often with less-than-stellar results. Dating too soon after an emotionally charged break-up is known as a rebound relationship, and is almost always considered a bad idea for all parties involved. A person on the rebound may have great difficulty distinguishing between the old romantic partner and the new one, for instance.

Whenever a romantic relationship ends, whether amicably or painfully, both parties should allow themselves to go through a real grieving process before pursuing new relationships. In essence, there has been a "death" of a valued relationship, and few people can recover from such an injury in only a few days or weeks. While the prospect of dating someone new, especially someone who has been kept off-limits during the old relationship, may sound like a cure, it rarely ends well.

Another problem with rebound relationships is motivation. Some people who feel victimized or humiliated by a bad breakup may feel the need to start a new relationship simply to prove they are indeed over the old one. This action is often primarily directed at former partners, either in an effort to generate feelings of jealousy or to remind them of what they gave up. Neither tactic is a particularly healthy reason to pursue a relationship, and the new partner is not always as understanding or conspiratorial as one might hope.

There are times when a person may feel he or she has fully recovered from a break-up and is truly prepared to re-enter the dating scene, but this may be a premature assessment. If a new relationship starts too soon after a painful break-up, the new partner may become little more than a sounding board for all of the negatives intended for the former partner. Constant comparisons to a former boyfriend or girlfriend can be a sign of an unhealthy rebound relationship, as well as the careful avoidance of almost all dating venues associated with the former relationship.

Because there will almost inevitably be a new relationship following the dissolution of an old one, it is important to recognize the difference between a new healthy relationship and an unhealthy rebound one. Much like a widow or widower, a spurned partner may want to establish a reasonable hiatus from dating until he or she is emotionally ready. Personal counseling may also help prevent someone from entering into a shallow or unhealthy relationship until his or her self-esteem has been fully restored.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to seek out companionship following a painful break-up, but individuals owe it to themselves and their new partner to make sure the new relationship is based in reality, not a ghost in the machine.

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Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to InfoBloom, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By anon163668 — On Mar 28, 2011

My partner and I started to see each other two weeks after his last partner's death. Although I kept my distance at first, we ended up being together for 3.5 years, but I found myself not happy and then one day ended it, when I did he was seeking and in another relationship within 2-3 weeks.

By anon152604 — On Feb 14, 2011

It's been six months after we broke up from a rebound relationship. We have been in constant contact. She even invited me to spend the night when she started dating this guy.

By whatsclever — On Jan 09, 2010

my ex boyfriend entered a relationship right after our brake up, and has been in a relationship for a long period of time. he still contacts me, and even talks about regretting the decisions he's made by getting into a relationship, and says he still has feelings, would this count as a rebound relationship?

By anon48087 — On Oct 09, 2009

Is it possible for the rebounder that left the person they rebounded with to go back to their ex then realize they no longer want the ex an now want to go back to the person they rebounded with in the beginning?

By screenwriter — On Jan 30, 2009

My first rule of thumb: If it hurts don't do that.

If my gut repeatedly tells me something is wrong with my relationship; there *is* something wrong, even if it's *me*!

Sometimes a *mediator* will help, mostly I believe in getting away fast and clean and *immediately*!!!

By anon25300 — On Jan 27, 2009

how can i know that my rebound partner is not not a ghost in the machine. as I am having the a rebound relation and it is affecting my goals and my work.

By nadiah10685 — On Jan 26, 2009

This article on "Rebound Relationship" was very interesting. I enjoy every article sent to me.

By screenwriter — On Jan 26, 2009

Anyone who finds themselves repeatedly settling for rebound relationships may be co-dependent in which case there are remedies if a person is willing to get honest. Being all alone is not a fate worse than death, but believing that could indicate that you are a codependent!

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick


As a frequent contributor to InfoBloom, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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