Rebound relationship: 5 signs and what you can do about it

happy couple
Image credit: Shutterstock - By Peter Berni

So you are in a new relationship with the person of your dreams, but you aren’t sure that you are the person for them.

In fact, you think that they might have already met them, but that didn’t work, and now they’ve moved on to a relationship with you.

Except, you aren’t even sure if this is a real relationship because you can’t get a straight answer out of them about anything.

You’re wondering whether you’re simply a “rebound relationship” and they’ll discard you when they’re done with you.

It’s confusing, frustrating, and downright mean.

It can be really hard to tell if someone likes you on a good day; add in the fact that they might be on the rebound and now you’ve got a mixed bag of best guesses about what is going on with them.

Stop wondering if they’re on the rebound and figure it out with these five signs.

1) They’re not committing to any plans right now.

Sure, they might just be super footloose and fancy-free, but if you’ve been getting together regularly and they’re still not giving you any signs of locking this down, something might be wrong.

According to a relationship coach, Tiffany Toombs in Insider, “a partner who is reluctant to discussing the future is something to take note of” when it comes to assessing whether it’s a rebound relationship.

This makes sense, of course, because if it is just a rebound relationship then they inherently know that there isn’t much of a future in the relationship.

Preston NI M.S.B.A says in Psychology Today that a person in a rebound relationship knows that their partner is “mister/miss right now” rather than “mister/miss right”.

After all, why commit when they’re not sure they’ll want to see in a week, let alone a month?

However, make sure not to confuse it with a person who is afraid of commitment.

According to Linda and Charlie Bloom, it’s common for people to believe that freedom and commitment are mutually exclusive, that you can’t have it both ways.

So if you want to find out whether it’s commitment issues instead, ask them what they think about freedom and relationships. That will help you see where their mind is at.

If you ask them about it, they might get upset that you don’t trust them or you can’t be satisfied with what you have together now.

Rather than get yourself even more upset about what’s going on here, take it as a sign that they are not ready to be in a relationship that asks more of them right now.

2) They won’t talk about their past relationships at all.

It’s inevitable that you’ll talk about your past relationships. This usually comes up when you are talking about the future of your new relationship.

However, according to Mary C. Lamia Ph.D. in Psychology Today, “Those on the rebound may experience shame and consequently express anger and resentment toward their previous partner.”

Some people may not want to talk about their previous relationship simply because it brings the mood down.

If they’re giving you no information about what their past relationships were like or if they are getting angry with you for even asking, it might be that they have fresh wounds and they’re not in a position to talk about it right now.

You might find that they are pretty closed off about a lot of things when you try to bring them up.

It’s likely that they are just guarding their emotions and trying to keep it together long enough to get over whoever it is that they are trying to get over.

3) They’re making booty calls but then won’t answer your texts.

You guys are hot and heavy all the time, but when you try to have an actual conversation with them or you try to connect with them for anything other than the sex they aren’t interested.

They might laugh at you when you bring it up and don’t take it personally – they’re just trying to keep things casual.

Committing means putting themselves at further risk of getting hurt. If you are looking for more than just a booty call, you’ll need to let them know that this isn’t working for you.

Preston Ni M.S.B.A. explains it best in Psychology Today. He says that a clear sign of a rebound relationship is when someone calls the new partner only when “feeling sad, lonely or empty.”

However, when they’re happy, they’ll neglect the new partner. In other words, the relationship is of “emotional convenience.”

4) They are coming on way too strong.

On the contrary, if your new partner is all over you and can’t leave you alone for a few hours, they are trying to compensate for something.

This makes sense. According to Mary C. Lamia Ph.D in Psychology Today:

“The rebound relationship, it is believed, takes up the space that was left by the previous relationship and provides both stability and distraction from loss rather than working through [it].”

This is why attachment can happen so quickly as a way to compensate.

And before you get offended, yes, it might be that they just really like you, but if you are thinking that they are acting extraordinary or if they are keeping you at bay about everything in their life, yet wants to be with you all the time, they could be on the rebound.

Rebounds are difficult pills to swallow because you are going to grow closer to them and want to spend time with them, but they might not be feeling the same way about you.

The more you invest in this relationship, the more difficult it will be for you to separate yourself from the relationship.

5) You can’t read them at all.

If you can’t get a read on them and feel like you don’t even know them after spending countless dates together, something’s not right.

According to sex therapist Vanessa Marin in Men’s Health, giving off mixed signals is a key sign someone is using you as a rebound relationship.

One minute they be totally into you and the next minute, they may completely brush you off. If this is the case for you, then it may be time to have a talk.

You might also find that you are talking a lot about yourself or trying to fill the silence on your dates, but they are not budging to give you much of anything.

They might be hot and cold at the same moment. They might be happy and sad. They might be available and then closed off.

Take it or leave it, but know that they’re not in this thing the way you are.

Four Things to Consider if the Person You are Dating is on the Rebound

Rebound relationships come with a lot of baggage. They are often thought to be cliche and many think that these types of relationships won’t last.

Because rebound relationships are built on a rocky foundation of anger, disappointment, frustration, hurt, and maybe even a broken heart, the connection is thought to be disrupted from the beginning.

If you’ve ever been on the rebound, you know that it’s hard to trust other people.

If you’re dating someone who is on the rebound, you’ll notice that you feel the same way: rebound relationships are fraught with troubles.

So before you get involved with someone who is on the rebound, consider these four things to make sure you don’t go getting your heart broken by someone who was never in the frame of mind to be in the relationship to begin with.

1) Are they emotionally stable enough for a new relationship?

One thing you need to consider is that your new partner might not be emotionally stable enough to take on a new relationship yet.

There are a few signs that you can watch for that will tell you how much of a commitment you can expect from your new partner.

For starters, if your new partner is always checking their phone to see what their ex-partner is doing on social media and then proceeds to talk to you about their actions, that might be a red flag that they are not ready to move on just yet.

Another thing to watch for is if they start acting differently when their ex-partner is around or their ex-partners friends: if they are doing weird things, talking loudly, or trying to be seen by their ex and their groupies, they’re still hung up on what was and not paying attention to what is.

If you’re wondering whether they are emotionally stable, here’s what to look out for.

Alice Boyes Ph.D. says in Psychology Today that a key sign of an emotionally unstable partner is if they “get disproportionately angry or upset about something small not being as they expected – like they show up to a hotel at check-in time, and their room isn’t ready”.

2) Do they harbor negative thoughts and could they take it out on you?

Something else you need to consider is if you are going to become a figurative punching bag for your new partner.

If they aren’t happy with the way things ended and are still trying to reconcile what has happened, they might end up taking their frustration out on you.

Sometimes, it may seem like you can’t do anything right, but rest assured that it’s likely not you.

According to Very Well Mind, the underlying goal in emotional abuse is to control the victim by discrediting, isolating and silencing. Over time this can make you feel trapped and unable to leave.

They may be discrediting you or isolating you because they’re angry that they believe that you don’t match up to their previous partner.

So if everything is making your new partner mad or they are comparing you to their ex-partner saying that you are no better than they were, something’s amiss.

You might reconsider this relationship unless you want to be someone who wears your new partner’s anger and hurt.

Ask yourself, “do I really need a project right now?” because you might feel the need to try to help them out.

3) Are they going to use you as a way to make their old partner jealous?

If you are hanging out and suddenly your partners’ ex walks through the door, does your new partner do everything in their power to make sure their ex sees you both?

Is your partner making a scene? Maybe they even confront their ex to make a point that they don’t need their ex-partner anymore.

According to Self Magazine, a common sign of a rebound relationship is if they parade you around like a prop at parties where they know their ex is in attendance.

Maybe they are trying to make their partner miss them. It’s awkward and perhaps something that you don’t want to experience.

Who would?

If you think it’s worth exploring this relationship, you might want to talk to your new partner about the way they act when their ex shows up.

That conversation won’t be fun either, but if this relationship is important to you, you’ll find a way to let your partner know how you are feeling. If not, cut and run.

4) Will you be able to trust that the feelings are real?

Even if things are going great and you don’t feel like there are any signs of leftover feelings, anger, or frustration from your new partner’s old relationship, you might find yourself having difficulty trusting what they are saying or how they are acting.

This might be because you’ve been the one on the rebound before and you know what it’s like to just try to get back to normal.

Don’t blame them for trying to sort things out and don’t let old feelings of your own fester into your new relationship.

But if you think that you can’t trust them, then you may want to reconsider the relationship. According to Psychology Today, without trust, a relationship won’t last.

Open communication is the best way to make these things work.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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