7 Signs You're In a Rebound Relationship

If you have an underlying feeling you're being used as a Band-Aid to get over an ex, you probably are.

Woman with shoulder-length brown hair holding a coffee cup and looking at a man, who has his hand on her arm
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I have been seeing someone for about a month now who I am really into — the sex is great and we have a lot of fun together. I have a few concerns though. He says he's over his ex, but it feels like he brings her up a little too much. I also recently found out that we met only a week after their relationship officially ended. I feel like there's potential for this to turn into something more serious, but I'm worried that I'm just the rebound girl. How do I know? —Could-Be Rebound Girl


I'm sure you have heard the popular adage, "the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new" — but if you suspect you're on the other side, being used as just someone's rebound, well, it's not so fun.

We all know someone who jumped out of one relationship and into a new one and it worked out really well for the long term. That is certainly a possibility. But more often than not, those are the exceptions. Our psyches really do need to mourn the loss of a relationship before we move on to another. If we do not have that opportunity, we tend to leave a path of emotional death and destruction in our wake.

Why is that? When we don't leave room to develop insight about why a relationship didn't work, what we did wrong, what were the red flags we ignored, take the time to heal and lick the wounds of our bruised egos, we tend to use our next relationship in unhealthy ways. We use other people to validate our attractiveness, sexual performance, or desirability. We tend to go into these relationships protecting our hearts and looking to have our egos stroked.

A 'rebound relationship' is a reactionary relationship that is inspired by the unhealed wounds of a previous one. It is a romantic relationship that is warped by unresolved issues, pain, and unresolved grief from one or more previous romantic entanglements. It is using other people as a Band-Aid to cover our wounds.

7 Signs You're Someone's Rebound

01 of 07

They talk about their ex all the time.

This should come as no surprise, but it's worth the reminder: There is a direct correlation between how much talk time, energy, and focus someone has on their ex and how over them they are. It is a normal healthy part of a new relationship to brief each other on past relationships and patterns — but you don't need to hear about her food preferences, favorite sex position, or habits on the daily. Too much ex-talk indicates a continued attachment.

02 of 07

Very little time has passed between their last relationship and you.

There is a lot of debate on how long it takes to get over a past relationship. There's the three-week theory, the six-week theory, the three-month theory, and of course, the formula indicating that half the life of the relationship is what it should take to recover from it. There are some people that mourn the loss of a relationship before it ends and thus need less time. Then there are others who are blindsided and don't take the time to process it. At the end of the day, there is no magic formula, but it is important to spend some time grieving the loss of a relationship and self-reflecting — so if your new crush just ended a relationship a week ago, it's not a great sign.

03 of 07

They keep things superficial.

Outside of the great sex, think about your conversations. One sign you're in a 'rebound relationship' is that they keep the conversation surface-level. They don't want to know your middle name, anything about your childhood, or that difficult moment you've overcome. They keep to topics that do not require vulnerability, sensitivity, or caring. Focusing on things like movies, music, and favorite sex positions keeps things from getting too connected.

04 of 07

The focus of the relationship is sex.

They do not court you, get to know you, or want to meet your family or friends. They don't want to take you out to dinner — they like to just get down and dirty without wasting too much time. If this sounds like you're guy, you might be a rebound — or you just might be a you-know-what buddy.

05 of 07

They are emotionally unavailable.

They will only let you get so close before they push you away. They are unable to be emotionally vulnerable. They just can't be there for you, show up the way you need, or fulfill your emotional needs.

06 of 07

You have an underlying feeling of being used.

Maybe they keep posting pictures of you on their social that feel premature in a relationship and make you think they want to show you off to make someone else feel jealous. Or, they've got time to spend hours in bed with you but can't seem to schedule you into their calendar to take you out to dinner. If they seem to want to show you off — or on the other hand, want to keep you hidden from friends and family, it's a sign you could be in a rebound relationship situation.

07 of 07

They are bitter.

Sometimes it comes out when they are talking about their ex. Other times it seems that they dislike the whole gender. They are moody, critical, or constantly dissatisfied. There's an underlying sense of hostility and anger. These are all signs they're not over their past relationship and could be using you as just a rebound.

The Bottom Line on Rebound Relationships

Not all rebound relationships are necessarily a bad thing. If you are just looking to have a fun time, this could be a good setup for you. If you're in a place in your life where you don't want to have commitments, obligations, or a long-term relationship, dating someone on the rebound may be just your speed. On the other hand, if you are looking for a long-term partner or even just a relationship with depth that could last for a while, this is not for you.

Sure, we all walk around with our baggage and unresolved pain from previous relationships. But people who are on the rebound bring a whole other level of detachment to a relationship. The push-pull and fears of abandonment that go along with a rebound relationship can be like a roller coaster. If you are going to knowingly choose to be the rebound girl, make sure that you protect yourself and do not overestimate the other person's ability to attach, show up for you, or form a long-term relationship.

In Hump Day, award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann answers your sex and relationship questions — unjudged and unfiltered.

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