The answer to this question is not as straightforward as some might think.
We all know that some relationships work out while others don’t, and there are multiple reasons why a relationship may fail. But why does it seem like so many rebound relationships end in disaster?
According to experts, the following are some of the factors that may contribute to the failure of rebound relationships:
Dr. Carissa Coulston
Clinical Psychologist | Relationship Expert, The Eternity Rose
Although not every rebound relationship fails, it’s a fact that a significant number of them do, and there’s one key reason for that.
The person who is on the rebound is simply attempting to replace their previous partner with another one, and usually, they’re rushing into it without dealing with the emotional baggage that they have brought along with them from that prior breakup.
Sooner or later, those emotional issues are going to present themselves again in the new relationship, and the chances are that they will wreck it.
Let’s take a closer look at the reason for the failure of so many rebound relationships.
Not being ready to start a new relationship
A rebound relationship is doomed to fail if the rebounder is just not ready to begin a new relationship.
For many people, the immediate aftermath of a breakup can be traumatic and distressing, especially if it was a long-term relationship or if the breakup came as a complete shock.
In such cases, seeking a new partner as quickly as possible can be very tempting to regain that lost relationship status.
However, for any romance to be a success, both partners have to be in the right headspace to commit and embrace all that being in a relationship has to offer.
If one person is still grieving their past relationship and is still in shock after the breakup, they simply are not yet in the right place to give a new partnership their all.
They are just looking for a way to avoid the sadness, pain, and loneliness they are experiencing rather than seeking a genuine connection with another person, which isn’t a great basis on which to begin a new relationship.
They need, instead, to take sufficient time to heal and get over their ex before even thinking about moving on to someone new.
Related: When Should You Date Again After a Breakup
The person is still obsessed with their ex
Another reason for rebound relationship failure ties into the previous point.
If one partner is still obsessed with their ex, they cannot commit to a new person, and, of course, their new partner is likely to feel pushed out, jealous, or inadequate due to this obsession.
None of that can amount to a healthy relationship.
Even when the new relationship has been founded on genuine feelings and real attraction, it can’t take away the residual feelings for that past partner or the baggage that was built up during that relationship.
Unfortunately, holding onto the past is very likely to destroy even the most promising new partnership.
Related: How to Let Go of the Past and Move On
In too many cases, the rebounder is hell-bent on making their ex jealous by flaunting the new relationship, which puts more strain on the new partner and can make them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, and even used.
As a result, they are likely to call an end to the partnership.
Falling for a fantasized version of a relationship
In many cases, rebounders enter into a new relationship wearing rose-tinted glasses.
They want to believe that their new partner is much better than their ex, and they create a fantasy in their mind about how perfect this new relationship is going to be and how much better suited they are to each other.
However, falling for a fantasy isn’t the same as falling for a genuine person.
When we first meet someone new, we can be dazzled by the new and exciting situation. When that initial thrill wears off, though, we are hit with the reality of the person that we’re dating, and they are unlikely to live up to expectations.
Real people have flaws, and when the rebounder gets to know their new partner more fully, they start to realize that they aren’t perfect after all.
That, in turn, can lead to dissatisfaction, resentment, and eventually, the failure of the relationship.
Related: How to Overcome Bitterness and Resentment
The relationship is founded solely on physical attraction
A further reason for a rebound relationship failing is because it is often founded solely on physical attraction rather than any genuine meeting of minds or emotional connection.
When we jump into new relationships, we tend to do it because we find the other person sexually desirable. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if there’s no connection on a deeper level, the relationship won’t work out in the long term.
If you’re only compatible in bed, you’re going to get bored sooner rather than later.
You are dating for the sake of it
In a similar way to the above point, if a rebound relationship is solely based on a need to fill the void left by the ex-partner, it’s unlikely to work out in the long run.
For some people, dating anyone is better than dating no one, so they’ll jump at the chance of a relationship with the first person who asks whether or not they’re suited to each other or whether there’s any attraction there on any level.
If one partner is only in the relationship to avoid being alone and has no real feelings for or interest in the other, there’s no way it’s going to work out.
Do all rebound relationships fail?
Although there are a significant number of failed rebound relationships out there, that certainly doesn’t mean that every single one is doomed to failure.
Everybody knows someone who has resumed dating almost immediately after a breakup and is now living happily ever after with their new partner. There are no certainties in the world of love and romance, and even the most unlikely pairings have been known to be successful.
In some cases, moving quickly into a new partnership doesn’t mean “rebound”; it means “a speedy recovery,” so it isn’t possible to look from the outside at someone’s relationship and make assumptions.
On the other hand, if you’re wondering whether you’re in a doomed rebound relationship, the best thing to do is to examine your feelings.
If you’re still feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with your new partner and you’re still obsessing about your ex, the best thing to do may be to stay single for a while so that you can work things through before returning to the dating scene feeling ready to commit.
Related: What Are the Benefits of Being Single?
Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Specialist, OK Rehab
The person doesn’t allow themselves to heal after a breakup
What is a rebound relationship?
A rebound relationship is one that emerges directly after a breakup; it’s when someone finishes one relationship, and before taking the time to process its ending, they jump into another one.
Rebound relationships are known to be risky, so they are slightly stigmatized.
Why do people get into rebound relationships?
There are many reasons someone may get into a rebound relationship.
Firstly, they may be what is known as a serial monogamist, which is someone who avoids being single at all costs and is always seeking new relationships.
Perhaps they don’t trust themselves to be single as they feel they need to rely on someone else to get by, or maybe they simply love the feeling of being in love and grow to be depressed when that feeling isn’t there.
Secondly, many people with low self-esteem issues get into rebound relationships.
Related: How to Improve Your Self-Esteem – The Ultimate Guide
They may feel as though they aren’t valuable on their own, and so they seek out a partner to show other people that they are loveable. This includes proving their ex-partner wrong, as it is a common trope for someone to find a new partner to make their old one jealous.
Another reason people get into rebound relationships is that they cannot cope with the feelings of grief that arise when they come out of a relationship.
Finding a new partner helps to distract them from their thoughts and focus on hopeful new beginnings rather than devastating endings.
Why do rebound relationships frequently fail?
The main reason rebound relationships frequently fail is that the person who seeks out the rebound relationship does not give themself enough time to process and heal from their breakup.
It is essential that we sit with our negative feelings after a break up so that we don’t repress them and end up dealing with them later down the line, and if we get into a new relationship immediately, this repression is inevitable.
What’s more, if you are jumping into a relationship straight after a breakup, it is unlikely that this relationship has a foundation of genuine love and trust, as your main motivation for being with this person may be to distract yourself from your ex-partner.
This can cause trust issues to arise as your new partner will not feel valued if they know their purpose is to help you get over your ex-partner.
Finally, everyone knows that the time after a breakup is the best time to work on yourself and discover your own identity outside of the relationship.
Related: 16 Best Books to Read After a Breakup
However, when you rebound, you leave no time to do this, so you may lose your sense of identity and forget who you are, what you like to do, and what you bring to the world.
Can rebound relationships ever be successful?
There is always an exception to the rule, so I have seen some clients thrive in rebound relationships.
However, this is unlikely to happen for most people, and it also depends on the state of the previous relationship and breakup.
For example, some people have been considering breaking up with their partner for a long time, so when it occurs, they have already processed most of their emotions, and therefore it is easier for them to get into a new relationship soon after.
Related: Why Do People Break Up? (15+ Common and Unexpected Reasons)
However, I would recommend that people avoid rebound relationships as they do not tend to be successful.
Katina Tarver, MA
Life and Relationship Coach, The Pleasant Relationship
You still carry on the same emotional baggage of the past relationship
A failed relationship can teach you a lot of things. However, it depends on what kind of lesson you accept and what you wish to leave behind.
Amid this, if you continue to carry the emotional baggage of your last relationship and are engulfed in the exact expectations of the failed relationship, then the rebound relationship will never work.
Your mind still hovers around your ex
Despite being in this new relationship, your mind still longs for your ex? Have you chosen this relationship only to make your ex jealous or bother them? Not a single moment goes by without thinking about your ex.
Related: How to Stop Missing Someone After a Breakup
With all these conditions, your current (rebound) relationship will fail if you decide not to focus on it.
The foundation of the relationship is weak
Usually, rebound relationships are never initiated on the grounds of true love.
You constantly feel about being around your rebound partner, need them, and feel they are your destiny. But it isn’t true because you stepped into this relationship when you almost lost everything. To overcome the pain of one relationship, you stepped into another.
Due to this, rebound relationships have weak foundations, so one can’t sustain them for a long time.
The relationship started because you wanted a distraction
A breakup can be excruciating for some, and a rebound relationship proves to be a medium to overcome the pain.
You want to hide it and hunt for a new partner to forget the previous pain. You feel that a rebound relationship can help you heal from the previous relationship. With such complexities in your mind, a rebound relationship can never succeed.
Like any other relationship, it needs attention and dedication.
You have way too many expectations of the relationship
Many people initiate rebound relationships hoping it will solve all of their woes. They vie for mental happiness, inner peace, and inner healing and wish to put back the broken pieces of their heart. Therefore, they start satisfying all those unfulfilled expectations with their rebound partner.
However, when they realize that their rebound partner doesn’t comply with all their expectations, they start losing hope in the relationship.
Besides, the partner begins facing the brunt of the expectations, thus making the relationship wither.
The person is filled with negativity
Maybe your past relationship left bad memories, and due to this, you are constantly engulfed in negative thoughts. Not just this, but you have vengeful thoughts on your mind about your ex.
Related: How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts?
If these negative feelings keep popping up in your new relationship, it will never survive. You feel start feeling miserable and may hamper your mental health.
The relationship is too fast-paced
Within a short span or just after two dates, if you are talking about the “exclusivity” of the relationship, you are moving too fast.
Every relationship needs time to grow, and you have already been out of one relationship. So, rushing into another relationship without knowing the person completely will definitely lead to the relationship’s failure.
However, if you are the one who, despite all these hurdles, is keen on making this relationship work, then I have some tips for you.
- Try and analyze your emotions regarding your rebound partner.
- Are you still thinking about your ex, or do you have a soft corner toward your rebound partner?
- Understand these concealed emotions that you really wish to continue or do for the sake of making your ex jealous. Once your head and mind are clear, you may think about the relationship’s future.
- If you cannot understand how to go about it, talk to your friends and family.
- Be open to them and do not hide because that will help them give you an honest opinion. Amid this, avoid talking to judgmental people as they might not help make the right decision.
- Don’t break up in a rush because a rebound relationship may succeed if nurtured properly.
- Analyze how you fare in your relationship. Note down the things that you liked about your current partner. Do you think that making some amendments can make this relationship work?
- Find the answers to these queries and then conclude.
- If constantly you are getting bombarded with unresolved issues, seek help from a mental health therapist. You may also invite your partner because they will acknowledge that you are making efforts to make this relationship work. In the end, having a healthy relationship is a requisite.
Love and Dating Coach
Rebound relationships avoid the pain of heartbreak
When anyone goes through heartbreak, the pain can feel unbearable. As humans, we often do anything we can to avoid pain.
Rebounding after a relationship is an extremely common way in which we attempt to avoid the hollowed-out feeling of heartache by filling it with the sparkly distraction that comes with meeting someone new.
Especially when you are feeling low about yourself after a breakup, receiving the attention and validation from a new partner may temporarily help you feel better about yourself.
But rebounding is a band-aid fix. It’s a way to numb and distract from the pain. It’s a way of looking outside of yourself for the validation and attention that you are lacking within.
Rebound relationships do not work out because to rebound is to avoid pain, and avoidance is the exact opposite of what leads to authentic love and connection: emotional availability and presence.
Being emotionally available means being present with your most difficult emotions and committing to loving yourself through them. When we learn how to be emotionally available for ourselves, we are then able to be emotionally available for others.
Everyone I talk to or work with is looking for an emotionally available partner. However, that is impossible to find unless they cultivate it within themselves first. That’s the journey.
We often forget to nurture our relationship with ourselves, pretending that external relationships are the only ones that exist.
When a relationship ends, and we jump right back into dating, we are sending this message to ourselves: “I don’t trust that I can handle the pain of this loss, so I need to seek outside of me to try and make myself feel better.”
Entering rebound relationships may signify that you struggle with trusting your ability to handle loss, or maybe, you were never taught the emotional tools needed to cope with pain and transition.
Related: How to Deal with Emotional Pain
The distraction of a new relationship might make you feel like all is healed from the past heartbreak, but pain and sadness will simmer beneath the surface until it is processed correctly.
Until you learn how to sit with your pain and love yourself through it, you will jump into a relationship after relationship, running from pain and the relationship with yourself.
Our outer world is a mirror image of our inner world. If you don’t take the time to create love in your inner world, then no amount of rebounding/dating will lead to authentic love that lasts in the outer world.
If you have a feeling that you might be using rebound relationships to avoid the pain of heartbreak, take some time to sit with yourself. You do not have to stop dating unless you feel that dating distracts you too much from your relationship with yourself.
Whether you are dating around, in a relationship, or currently single, schedule time just for you:
- solo dates,
- moments to be creative,
- or anything else that helps you feel present and allows you to be with your emotions.
If you feel lost with where to start, find someone you trust who can support you through this. You don’t have to go at it alone; we heal best in the community.
Relationship Expert and Writer, Love Topics
Are you considering entering into a rebound relationship? If you think it will end well, think again. According to Marriage.com, 90% of rebound relationships fail within the first three months.
Here are five reasons you might reconsider starting a new relationship while you’re still on the rebound.
Rebound relationships are a band-aid fix
When you enter into a new relationship right after a different failed attempt at love, it’s usually in an attempt to help yourself feel better.
You think that you’re going to heal your broken heart by quickly replacing your ex. However, all you’re doing is wasting your new partner’s time and your own.
Sooner or later, the bandage must come off to let your old wounds heal. You won’t be able to be a part of a healthy relationship until you process your old one.
You are not ready for a new relationship
You need time alone to process your old relationship before jumping into a new one. If you don’t, you’ll just end up bringing your baggage into the new relationship. This will prevent you from fully investing in your new partner.
You need time to mourn the loss of your old relationship and to process your feelings before you can start something new.
You end up picking someone convenient
Chances are, if you jump from one person to the next, you won’t take your time in choosing a new partner. You might pick someone who isn’t right for you just because they are there.
You may even ignore some red flags because you are desperate to have someone in your life again.
This convenient person won’t keep you happy in the long run, and the relationship will most likely fail.
You still have feelings for your ex
It’s never a good idea to start a new relationship while you still have feelings for your ex. Not only is this not fair to your new partner, but it will also cause problems for your relationship.
You need time to get over your ex before you start something new properly. This will allow you to be your best self and enter into your next relationship with a clean slate.
You are just avoiding being alone
You may not necessarily dislike your new partner, but you will just be using them, so you don’t have to be alone. Being alone might mean that you have to face your failed relationship and process things that hurt.
There might be things that you did in the past relationship that you need to work on. Or you might be facing the feelings that come up from being rejected.
Instead of being alone with your thoughts, it’s easier to be with someone you don’t have genuine feelings for. Eventually, the relationship will end because their feelings aren’t being reciprocated.
Rebound relationships are often doomed to fail because they’re based on unhealthy motivations, such as trying to avoid being alone or healing a broken heart.
Before entering into a rebound relationship, it’s important to take time for yourself to process your past and make sure you’re ready for a new commitment.
If you still have feelings for your ex, it’s also important to work through those before moving on. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself and your new partner up for failure.
Relationship Coach | Creator, The Millionaire Marriage Club
Because of the self-treatment of pain
The failure of a relationship or the death of a partner leaves a huge mountain of pain and grief to be processed.
Many do not know how to feel pain without grabbing something or anything to ease the pain.
When the salve applied to the pain is the excitement of a new relationship, the pain will definitely return after the newness of the new love wears off. Then you have the challenges of a new relationship complicated by the well of grief still to be dealt with.
Refusal to learn from previous failures
If one leaves a relationship because “it isn’t working,” and no effort is made to examine what you contributed to the relationship that led to its failure, you are doomed to repeat the same behaviors that will almost, without exception, cause any subsequent relationship to fail.
It’s so common it’s almost a cliché that second and subsequent marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages because the same mistakes keep being made without addressing the root causes in oneself rather than blaming the failure on another.
I’ve had several clients in a second marriage tell me that if they’d learned better communication skills and conflict management skills earlier, the failure of the first marriage could have been prevented.
There was not enough recovery time
It takes roughly four to seven years for someone to recover their balance after the loss of a spouse through death or divorce. Yet most persons remarry within two years, complicating the adjustments needed in the new relationship with unfinished business from the first loss.
Related: How Long Does It Take to Get Over a Divorce?
I was fortunate that I didn’t fall for the men who saw me as an easy sexual target or who wanted to “rescue” the young widow with two toddlers.
This was at a time when professional help was somewhat taboo, so I didn’t seek help after my young husband unexpectedly died. It took me about five years to pull out of the depression and begin to enjoy my life again.
In this day and age, there is much more hope for all of us rebounders.
We have countless ways to find guidance for the loss of any relationship so that we can look forward to a happy, lasting marriage.
Relationship Coach | Author, “The Empowered Wife“
Walking away from any relationship is always hard and can create its own kind of baggage.
You’re going through a loss, and there’s bound to be some legitimate grief, even if you were the one who ended it because you didn’t fulfill your vision of finding your forever person.
Jumping into a new romance can be both fun and exciting and holds out the promise that you may even process your feelings and move on quicker. The thrill of the temporary insanity known as falling in love is better than any painkiller.
But rebound relationships have a reputation for being short-lived for two reasons:
The negative relationship-fulfilling-prophecy
Finding a new partner right after a breakup can make your friends and family pessimistic that the relationship will last. Call it a negative relationship-fulfilling-prophecy.
You might also question the relationship in a way that you wouldn’t have if there weren’t a breakup in your not-so-distant past, like asking yourself, “Am I in this for the right reasons?” instead of questions like, “Where has this new person been all my life!”
Just asking those negative questions leads to negative answers and eventually another breakup.
All change is uncomfortable
Humans are wired to stick with what’s familiar, and a new partner is a definition of unfamiliar. Your brain will tend to compare and label those differences between your new person and your former as negatives also.
So instead of a “getting to know you” period early on, you’re having a “getting to compare you to my ex” period that no one can live up to.
Those sad, hurt and angry feelings don’t just go away
That sadness and hurt that you weren’t feeling about your breakup because you’re in an exciting new romance? They’re still going to want their day in the sun.
And it might be hard to have the usual happy, bubbly feelings that are the hallmark of a great new relationship while they’re making their way to the surface.
Your new partner might take it personally that you don’t seem happy, and that can put undue stress on any budding romance.
Rebound relationships are not hopeless
Could your rebound relationship end up being your till-death-do-we-part dream come true? Definitely.
Comedian and Talkshow Host Stephen Colbert tells the story of meeting his wife Evylen the day he decided to end his previous relationship.
They’ve been married for nearly 30 years. So despite the challenges that arise, the good news is that your rebound relationship isn’t doomed, no matter what the experts say.
As the mathematician, Blaise Pascal wrote, “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”
In other words, sometimes love really does conquer all.
Co-Founder and Certified Matchmaker, Select Date Society
The person didn’t give themselves time to learn
Every relationship teaches us something. If you don’t take time to reflect, learn, and grow after a relationship ends, you’ll end up repeating unhealthy patterns.
There is no “right amount” of time to spend alone before jumping into a new relationship, but it’s important that you allow yourself the amount of time that feels right for you.
If you move too quickly from one relationship to another, you’ll miss out on the opportunity for growth.
You are still hurt from your previous breakup
If you experienced a particularly difficult breakup or your last relationship was abusive, you need to take time to heal from the trauma and hurt before moving forward.
This may involve hiring a therapist or coach, going on a self-care retreat, reading, etc. If you don’t allow yourself time to heal, your new partner may unknowingly set off triggers for you.
The person you’re dating may be a great person, but you may still be so wounded that you are hypersensitive to things and fear the worst.
You are still in love with your ex
When you find yourself comparing your current partner to your ex, it may be a sign that you’re still in love with your ex.
Do you find yourself thinking about your ex and wishing your current partner was more like them? If you are looking in the rear view mirror, you’re not ready to be moving forward.
The need to prove that you are desirable
Rebound relationships can fail when you are seeking a new relationship out of the need to prove that you are desirable.
You may feel the need to prove something to yourself or to your ex, so you seek out a new relationship with the first person who expresses interest in you.
You may know that the new person is not the right fit for you, or you may see red flags, but you ignore them because you have a need to prove that you are capable of attracting a new partner.
You become way too needy after their last breakup
You may feel anxious or insecure after your last breakup, and those emotions show up as neediness in your new relationship. You may want so badly for things to work out that you put pressure on your new partner and cling on too tightly to them.
Your past insecurities end up leading to the relationship falling apart.
Related: How to Stop Being Needy and Clingy in a Relationship?
Dr. Molly Ansari
Assistant Professor in the Department of Education, Counseling, and Leadership, Bradley University
They desire to replace the void their ex-partner left
It is not uncommon for a rebound relationship to fail. It is to be noted that not every rebound relationship fails. However, there is a higher percentage of failed rebound relationships than not.
When a person finds themself fresh out of a relationship, particularly in a long-term relationship, it is not uncommon for that person to want to fill the gap which was left wide open by their former partner.
The person seeking the rebound relationship is sometimes looking to fill this gap quickly so as not to feel the hurt of the relationship ending for a prolonged period of time.
Related: How to Deal With Hurt Feelings in a Relationship
After a fresh breakup, one might find themselves desperate not to be lonely, and this is where the rebound relationship comes in.
The choice to move quickly into a new relationship also does not allow for the individual to have time for
These are things that can often be useful for someone who is healing from a breakup.
If one does not give enough time to tend to these items, they are then entering a new relationship, not entirely whole. When one does not tend to these things, they are also not being honest with themselves.
Perhaps they are telling themselves that they are fine, that they are healed, or that the relationship ending was no big deal.
The lack of honesty the individual has with themselves can leave them vulnerable or susceptible to being hurt more easily in the new relationship.
Rebound relationships are based on all the wrong reasons
Another problem with rebound relationships is that it is based on all the wrong reasons. It is based on wanting not to be lonely rather than genuinely wanting to be with their new partner.
It could be based on wanting to replace their ex-partner, which may result in a constant (and unfair) comparison of their new partner to their old partner and, in turn, cause resentment to their new partner by no fault of their own.
And honestly, it can mean that the individual’s mind is still on their ex-partner rather than on their new partner.
This will ultimately lead to resentment, disappointment, and unrealistic expectations of the new partner that will be the cause of relationship distress and mistrust.
As I said, some rebound relationships can absolutely work out. However, they also have the possibility of not being as successful.
Relationship Expert and Matchmaker | CEO, Exclusive Matchmaking
You’ve no hopes for this rebound since you just want to ease the pain
When it comes to rebound relationships, they were never meant to be.
It’s the lack of boundaries you are experiencing to let someone in that intimately right away that might set you up for failure, and that’s not the only thing.
When it comes to processing your former relationship, it takes time to figure out your part, their part, what went wrong, how to be better in the next one, and really just admit to yourself where you screwed up.
It’s not even that you may have done something that caused the demise of the relationship. It could even be bigger— like you always date the wrong person and have a bad picker.
It takes time to realize you are the one inviting the unhappiness in your life and figure out how to change that for the next one. You need time for self-reflection to be able to move forward in a healthy way.
Any relationship now is set up for failure.
Enter the rebound person, and they are a distraction and disruption that prevents this healing and processing from happening. You are still feeling raw.
When it comes to boundaries, you have very little, which means your filter is turned off because all you know is that you have this gaping hole from the other person. You are just trying to push down your grief to feel better, but it bubbles up eventually. It doesn’t go away as you hoped.
It might numb your mind momentarily because it occupies a place, but eventually, you have to surface and face reality.
One day, you wake up and realize the rebound person is like your ex but with a different name, or worse, and you feel the pain from your ex hitting you like a tsunami. You never want to go there.
A lot of people think you can wash that ex right out of your hair with someone hotter, but it doesn’t work. Many times, you view this rebound with no real expectations because you need to dull the pain, so almost anyone willing will do.
That in itself will cause the relationship to fail because they probably don’t offer you anything real, and you probably aren’t even that compatible since you didn’t balance all your needs in a relationship and contemplate how this person might work in your life.
This person was just filling the void.
Coach | Host, How Not to Think Podcast | Author, “Falling to Grace: The Art and Science of Redemption“
Overvaluing the recent past prevents relationships, roles, and goals assessments
Did you hear about the guy who divorced his wife because she talked too much? He rebounded quickly and married a woman who was mute.
The answer to the question of why ‘rebound’ relationships often fail has a lot to do with how we think generally. We are not rational, and we are storytellers mostly interested in emotional comfort and control.
We don’t walk around with a very balanced view of the important — and even unimportant things — in our lives. We are highly biased and overvalue the present.
This is especially true in high emotional circumstances like intimate relationships.
A relationship breaks down. What typically happens is that as each partner spars with the other, their minds are increasingly filled with the negative.
What the other partner doesn’t offer all their flaws, troubles, and spats fill the mind creating an “availability bias” — all you can see and remember are the negatives and the other party’s faults.
The negatives become the entire narrative.
You forget the good times, and everything becomes exaggerated. Your knight in white shining armor now becomes a nightmare carrying an armory.
This experience is exaggerated once you hire a divorce attorney who is committed to making your spouse seem like the Devil incarnate and you the poor victim.
See Depp vs. Heard. The chances are you will lock into the most negative aspect of your recent relationship and overvalue the opposite tendency in your next relationship. See the opening line.
This process will not only distort the nature of the relationship but what you really want in a partner.
Relationships are complicated, and break-ups are difficult.
You need time to develop a reasonably unbiased perspective about your role in the break-up and behavior in intimate relationships generally before you can make anything close to a reasonable decision about what is next.
Rebounds are likely to accentuate and overvalue the recent past and prevent you from taking a close look at your relationships, your role, and what you want.
In basketball, there are offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. In a relationship, you don’t want either. And if you don’t know what introspection is, then you need to take a good hard look at yourself.
And seeking some professional help can be useful in helping you find some level of objectivity and truth about you and your intimate relationships.
Dr. Joanne Frederick, NCC, LPC-DC, VA, LCPC-MD
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, JFL & Associates Counseling Services LLC | Author, “Copeology“
It’s a temporary distraction to mask the pain of the breakup
Rebounding is essentially when one person wants to replace their previous partner with another. Often this happens due to the rebounder feeling distraught and shocked by the sudden change.
The rebounder will go to any lengths to avoid being alone. They also have a fear of being unable to recover from the severed relationship. This results in a temporary distraction, in other words, a rebound relationship.
You are not your true self, and in this vulnerable stage, you tend to suppress actions you believe aren’t appealing.
The rebounders are unable to handle this onset of change, resulting in the rebound relationship failing. Not coming to terms with ending a relationship is a factor in the failure.
Moving on rapidly does not erase the past, and they want to feel less empty by having another person to be romantically entangled with. With the original intention of getting over the previous partner, rebounding still involves thinking about the other person.
Once the rebounder “moves on” from their ex, the rebounding “relationship” comes to an end. This is not fair to your partner and you. Having no time introspection time is another reason for failure.
There is always a lesson to be learned from each relationship, and taking the time to analyze what went wrong is essential.
For future relationships, following through with introspection is better for handling situations in a new relationship.
Usually, a rebound relationship is like a band-aid, it’s a temporary distraction to mask the pain of the breakup. Sometimes people are willing to settle for people that are not a match to avoid being alone.
There are usually unfair comparisons made to their former partner. Nobody is going to be a clone of your ex. This sets the relationship up for failure when a new partner behaves differently than an ex.
When people date again too soon, they are usually looking for someone to make them happy, and another person cannot bear that burden. We first have to heal our wounds before another person can add value to our life.
Rebound relationships often start based on physical attraction and a honeymoon phase without really getting to know each other on a deeper level. When that wears off, the relationship often grinds to a halt.
You can’t stop thinking about your ex— if you have one foot in the past and half of your brain there, you can’t focus on the present and give your all to a relationship.
This is not fair to a current partner, and the cracks will begin to show.
Chris Rabanera, LMFT
Licensed Online Therapist | Founder, The Base EQ
The person who rebounds into another relationship lets emotions take control
We’ve all had that friend who never seems to be single. They jump from one train wreck of a relationship to the next in a never-ending cycle. They are in rebound relationships.
A rebound relationship occurs when a person ‘rebounds’ into another relationship immediately after they end one. Why do these rebound relationships seem to fail?
Rebound relationships fail because the person who is rebounding into another relationship is allowing their emotions to overtake their thinking.
They are craving attention, love, and support. It doesn’t matter who is providing the attention, as long as they receive attention. Relationship standards go into the trash.
They want the feeling of infatuation and the honeymoon high. The feeling masks what’s going on underneath.
Once the honeymoon period of dating has ended, or the person has regained their emotional composure, they can think clearly. They can see if the rebound relationship is meeting their social, emotional, and physical needs.
Does this relationship have everything they want and need? Is it going to be a fling, a few months together, or something longer?
It’s only after the person is thinking clearly can they recognize the relationship’s strengths and shortcomings.
Rebound relationships also fail because the person isn’t over their ex-partner. Just because they are no longer together with their ex doesn’t mean they are over them.
It takes time to heal from a previous relationship.
Depending on how significant the former relationship was, it can take months to grieve and process the relationship. You can’t rush the process either. If you rush into a new relationship when you are still grieving the last, you are starting the new relationship on shaky ground.
Next time you notice your friend going into another rebound relationship, let them know what you are seeing. Rebound relationships fail. Help them break the rebound relationship cycle.
Kim Hertz, LCSW-R
Psychotherapist | Founder, New York Therapy Practice
It risks bringing back old patterns that haven’t been addressed
Relationships have different stages: beginnings, middles, and endings.
When a relationship comes to a close, regardless of whether it was a positive or negative experience (often it is a mix of both), time is needed to grieve, heal and contain the space of one relationship before moving on to the next.
While there is no hard rule on how much time is necessary, jumping into a new connection without adequate space in between may prevent the completion of the ending and proper closure.
Taking time and space is about self-exploration. It can look like finding new activities, connections with friends, physical movement, and beginning therapy to support the grief process and create awareness of dysfunctional patterns.
Starting a new relationship during this time creates a higher risk of bringing in old patterns, feelings, and emotions that may not have been addressed in the past.
A person may continue to play out the same conflicts from the old relationship without learning from the previous experience. A foundation built on avoiding loneliness, insecurity, and the reality of the ending will not be secure.
A new relationship can be a time of renewed hope and possibility. Going into that space with clarity and centeredness creates successful conditions. Without clear space and division, the new relationship will be holding the ghosts of the past.
There is no shortcut to avoiding the pain of loss.
A rebound relationship can be a setup for that very loss and pain to come into the current relationship. Until past patterns are resolved, the same behaviors may be acted out with the new person.
David Helfand, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist | Owner, LifeWise, PLLC
Rebound relationships fail because they’re meant for rescue and not intimacy
Rebound relationships often fail because they are designed for rescue and not intimacy. When getting out of a relationship, most people need comfort, validation, and often good sex.
New relationships almost always start with all of those variables at their best possible level. Still, eventually, the infatuation wears off, and you realize the person across from you really isn’t what you are looking for.
In some sense, after a breakup, people seek that high they had when the relationship started. Our brain is flooded with so many happy hormones that we can get fixated on finding that high again.
The rebound relationship might feel like it allows us to regain that feeling, but in essence, it’s a knock-off brand of what we had before.
However, it’s worth noting that a rebound relationship only fails if you think of like as a standard relationship. A rebound fling can be quite healthy and effective at resetting your relationship expectations.
If you are planning to have a relationship fling, make sure everyone involved is on the same page and consents to the terms. Otherwise, hearts will likely be broken again.
Sometimes a rebound relationship allows you to test theories or practice skills that will improve the chances of a lasting future relationship.
I have worked with clients who use the rebound relationship to learn tricks in the bedroom, practice emotional intimacy, or just learn how to have meaningful conversations and experiment with what they think they want in a relationship.
All of those can be positive outcomes of a rebound relationship if you are honest about your intentions.
Lexi Joondeph-Breidbart, LMSW
Founder, Lonely Hearts Club
It was only meant to fix a problem that cannot be fixed
After a significant loss from a breakup, it is difficult to cope with the void an individual suddenly feels.
Loneliness is at an all-time high after a relationship ends, and the most comfortable way to ‘deal’ with it can be to jump back into a romantic partnership.
In reality, this is not ‘dealing‘ with the heartbreak, it is avoiding it. By prolonging one’s healing, the grief from the breakup can manifest in other ways, often showing up in the rebound relationship.
This reason for starting a rebound relationship is the same reason it fails, and it was only meant to fix a problem that cannot be fixed.
Grief is something that individuals carry with them throughout their lives.
Specifically, for those grieving a breakup, grief can be managed, and although one may be able to remember the pain the heartbreak caused, with reflection and acceptance, the grief will be easier to hold.
Just because rebound relationships fail does not mean they cannot last a long time.
For some individuals, they may voluntarily suppress their grief until it gets to a point where they can no longer function with the denial. Others may subconsciously repress their heartbreak, in which case engaging in therapy will be helpful for them to acknowledge their grief in a safe space.
A successful relationship starts because two (or more if it is an ethically non-monogamous relationship) individuals are emotionally available. When one individual is using the other as a Band-Aid, a healthy bond cannot form.
Liberation Speaker | Author | Relationship Expert
We’ve been sold an unattainable fantasy of relating to others in our society
Rebound relationships fail because we have been sold an unattainable fantasy of relating to others in our society.
We have what I call a “throw-away” and “blame” culture in the West regarding relationships.
This throw-away culture keeps us leaving relationships behind, particularly when we believe that a person is no longer doing what we want them to do or acting how we want them to act.
When the person we are in a relationship with starts to go against what our fantasy was about relationships, we end up blaming them and making it their fault.
This leaves many people disconnected from the idea that they create their reality through a series of projections and reflections. People reflect back to us what is already inside of us.
There is an instruction manual inside each, and every one of us called our subconscious program. That instruction manual tells us what to think, how to feel, and how to act based on the instructions of beliefs, memories, traumas, and things we have learned.
The throw-away and blame culture comes from the instruction that there is something better on the other side and that all relationships are supposed to be happy and peaceful without doing any work or limited work to get there.
Rebounds usually fail because there is an illusion that the grass is greener on the other side, but in reality, a person who rebounded has not taken the time to look at the instruction manual inside of them that tells them how they personally manage relationships.
Without this awareness, we end up seeking types of relationships that may be out of reach for what we desire, without the proper tools and inner work to make future relationships work.
Mindfulness Coach and Educator | Author, “Taking Responsibility Unleashes True Healing“
You failed to take a moment to learn about yourself from your last relationship
Rebound relationships are hard to maintain as permanent because you failed to take a moment to “learn” about yourself from your last relationship.
You “think” this “new relationship” will be different. This is not possible until you take responsibility and learn from your past mistakes. All personal relationships are a mirror for you.
These relationships are here to assist you in becoming the peaceful, loving person you are here to become; otherwise, you keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, only with different people.
When you want a loving relationship, begin by learning to love yourself. If you want to trust someone, first trust yourself. If you want to attract someone financially secure, become financially secure yourself.
The truth is you must become that which you seek in another because all relationships, especially intimate relationships, are a mirror for you.
So before you begin another relationship, take a moment, a month or longer, to look at yourself. If you are seeing it, hearing it, or feeling it, then you are the one with the “issue,” not the other person.
Write down all the characteristics you seek in another, then you become those characteristics yourself, and like “magic,” your perfect relationship appears. Because, in truth, your perfect relationship is in loving you.