rebound relationship stages

Your long-term relationship has just ended, and after some tears and a few glasses of wine, you’ve ended up scrolling the profiles on a dating app. Attention from men certainly helped numb the pain of a breakup. A few dates fast forward, and you found yourself in the arms of the stranger who gifted you flowers and showered with compliments. You feel attractive and desired again, but sometimes you get this niggling feeling that it’s all going a bit too fast.

Are you doing the right thing? What are the chances this new relationship will work? Here you will find the answers you seek and the overview of the rebound relationship stages you’ll go through.

What is a rebound relationship?

A rebound relationship is a relationship entered soon after parting your ways with a long-term partner before feelings for them have been resolved. It moves too fast and is usually not about love but a misguided attempt to move on past a breakup.

At times we unknowingly use a rebound relationship or rebound dating to forget our pain by replacing it with the excitement of being with someone new. Unfortunately, many people do not know how to be happy alone. Out of fear of loneliness, they jump into a relationship with a new partner too soon to try to forget their breakup pain.

Do rebound relationships work? They could if appropriately executed. However, it entails a lot of honesty about your past relationship and where you intend to go. It could work, but it could also backfire if you use the rebound relationship specifically to get over your ex.

couple in a rebound relationship

Types of rebound relationships

While going through a breakup, we all process things differently. Some people pick up new hobbies, and others go crazy dating. Healing before entering into a new relationship is the best way to get through the breakup. But if that’s not you, here are the types of rebound relationships people enter. Let’s see which one applies to you.

  1. The virtual rebound is a good distraction from checking in on your ex. Swiping, texting, and getting to know someone via the internet is a safe path to rebound. It is the easiest and quickest way to feel “better” about your breakup.
  2. The level-up rebound is meeting someone much better looking than your ex, and it is a great confidence booster. However, you don’t know what you are getting under the surface until you spend more time with that person.
  3. The “is it love?” rebound happens when you catch feelings too soon. You don’t think what may come of it. All you know is that it feels amazing, so you keep moving forward.
  4. The “may as well” rebound occurs when it is time to get back to the dating game, and you warm up to seeing someone available at the moment. Sometimes it feels good, and other times it can make you miss your ex.
  5. The rebound-rebound type of relationship is a huge mistake. It happens when you get back with your ex. This is a danger zone, risky business, and an all-around NOPE!
  6. The platonic rebound occurs with a friend or someone new who could potentially become a more serious partner. This one is tricky because you could lose a good friend if it does not work out.
Healing before entering into a new relationship is the best way to get through the breakup. Click To Tweet
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Rebound relationship stages

When a long-term relationship ends, usually there is a period of grieving. You may experience anger, sadness, and sometimes even debilitating anxiety during this time. If you feel this way, the answer to getting over it may sometimes come in the form of someone else, especially when you may have an anxious love attachment.

The feeling of being on your own is so scary that you jump into a relationship too soon to avoid the pain you are experiencing. When you get into this new relationship, it can feel good initially. However, the feelings of loss may surface again as healing from a breakup does not happen overnight. So what are the rebound relationship stages you should prepare yourself for?

man holding womans hand in a rebound relationship

1. Grass is greener

Is the grass always greener on the other side? In the first rebound relationship stage with a new partner, you will explore the new pastures. Right after a breakup, we tend to focus on the negatives within the past relationship. The way your ex-partner chewed, the snoring, how he was consistently late, and everything in between.

When a relationship is over, you start to think there is someone better out there, and you begin to look for that person. You will seek confirmation you are desirable, and that you can have another partner if you choose to. Seeing the negatives in your ex will convince you you can do better.

You may stumble upon a new guy who presents himself as a better fit for you than your ex but be aware as looks can be deceiving. Although the grass may look greener, you need to ensure it isn’t fake before you rush in.

Right after a breakup, we tend to focus on the negatives within the past relationship. Click To Tweet

2. Honeymoon

The honeymoon stage of a rebound relationship is the most exciting rebound phase. You meet someone, the sparks fly, and there is an instant attraction. The new person is nothing like your ex, which draws you in at first. Dating is fun, no arguing, and you both seem to like the same things. You begin to think you should have left your previous relationship sooner because you feel so happy and desired again.

The new partner is lifting you up and adding happiness to your life in a way your ex stopped doing so long ago. When you look at him, your eyes light up, and he seems so perfect to you that you could not imagine how this could go south. You feel so lucky to have finally found “The One.”

couple at the beginning of new relationship

3. Cracks begin to form

In this rebound relationship stage, the honeymoon magic begins to fade, and some things appear not as solid as you previously thought. When the excitement of the new relationship settles down, the routine kicks in.

Suddenly, you begin to notice your new partner is not as perfect as you thought. He leaves a mess at your place, forgets to call back, and he spends a lot of time with his friends.

You don’t receive as much of his attention as you did initially. When your boyfriend is not around, you catch yourself missing the previous relationship, something that you tried to avoid.

The things your new boyfriend did at the beginning of your relationship are no longer happening. Good morning texts, surprise gifts, and flowers delivered to your workplace are becoming a thing of the past. Looking at this man, you question whether or not this is the person for you. This could be one of the signs a rebound relationship is failing.

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Suddenly, you begin to notice your new partner is not as perfect as you thought. He leaves a mess at your place, forgets to call back, and he spends a lot of time with his friends. Click To Tweet

4. Fight or flight

Things begin to feel different for you during this rebound relationship stage with the cracks already forming. After your first fight, you will start to see who this person really is. You realize that you may have committed too soon to someone you didn’t really get to know. You will have to decide if you want to keep fighting for this relationship or it is better to move on.

With this realization, you may consider staying together and trying to work it out. However, you don’t want to have another failed relationship, and the idea of looking foolish is not something you are ready for. But keep in mind, prolonging the ending of something you are not happy with extends your healing as well.

fighting couple in a rebound relationship

5. Comparison

The comparison stage of a rebound relationship sets in when the novelty of the relationship starts to wear off. Your partner’s mask is falling off, and frankly, yours is too. Trying to be someone you wanted to be is no longer working, and neither one of you can keep it up for long.

As you start comparing the current relationship to your previous one, things you found annoying in your last relationship do not seem that bad anymore. Especially when you realize you have no idea who this new person really is. You start to question whether you are even interested in getting to know him more.

You catch yourself thinking of your ex more often, scrolling through his old text messages, and checking out his social media profile. You even start thinking that you want him to come back. And you begin having doubts if you need this new person in your life.

As you start comparing the current relationship to your previous one, things you found annoying in your last relationship do not seem that bad anymore. Click To Tweet

6. Disillusionment

When the comparison stage fades, you enter into the disillusionment stage of a rebound relationship. You spent so much time avoiding tough conversations and not really opening up to this person. The realness of making a mistake sets in, and you ask yourself why do rebound relationships feel like love?

You begin to wonder if you even like this person or if they were just a warm body to help get you through a tough time. You are disappointed that this relationship didn’t turn out to be what you wished for. You wanted this one to be the right one, the one that was a good fit for you, and it is not.

Looking back, you understand you jumped in too quickly, you ended up with a stranger that you are unsure you want to be with, and that possibly he is just someone to bridge the gap.

disillusioned woman

7. Epiphany

Months after entering into a new relationship with a mere stranger turned rebound partner, you no longer feel the happiness you once had. You start looking for a way out because you realize this is not something for the long term. Yes, it was fun while it lasted, but you know the fun is not enough to build a life with someone.

After long conversations with friends and possibly family, you understand you are not ready for a relationship with this person and perhaps any other person just yet. However, you will see you learned a lot and got through the challenging parts of your breakup.

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You are grateful you had emotional support when you usually would have been alone. But this relationship has run its course, and it’s time to leave. You need to heal so you don’t make the same relationship mistakes again.

You are grateful you had emotional support when you usually would have been alone. But this relationship has run its course, and it's time to leave. Click To Tweet

8. Time to heal

When the rebound relationship has run its course, and you are now officially on your own, the healing begins. First, you must process the end of your long-term relationship with someone you thought you might marry. You left it without consolation and jumped into a new relationship right away. Now it is time for you to begin the much-needed healing process.

You will discover who you are as a single woman during the healing journey. Meet up with friends, travel, and explore the city you’re living in in a way you could not before. Then, when you are ready to let the other person into your life, you will know what you like and dislike. Dating someone will not feel like a chore, and it will be a smoother process because of all of the things you have learned during your rebound relationship.

woman healing from a breakup

How long do rebound relationships last?

You may be wondering what the rebound relationship success rate is. And why do rebound relationships fail?

An average lifespan of a rebound relationship can last anywhere from a few months to even a few years. Because everyone deals with feelings differently, there is no set rebound relationship timeline. However, the time you spend in a rebound relationship will depend on the readiness to move towards a healthy relationship.

Rebound relationships tend to fail because they usually lack depth. More often than not, people get into rebound relationships to numb the pain of a breakup rather than seek a long-term union.

Research showed that men get into rebound relationships more often than women. The reason why they do this is that women have more social support than men. Often women confide in more people, including their close friends and family. Men, however, mostly confide in their spouse or partner. When a relationship ends, they tend to enter into another relationship, so they don’t feel alone after a breakup. In addition, men use distractions as a coping mechanism, and a rebound relationship serves the purpose.

All relationships are complex, including rebound relationships. A rebound relationship can last longer if you don’t have feelings for your ex and you are in it just for social stimulation during a tough time. But if you still have feelings for your ex-partner and entered a rebound relationship just to get over him, it will be much shorter.

Not all rebound relationships are wrong. If you are honest and can communicate with your partner openly, you can get some good out of it. A relationship like this can help you get the partner of your dreams and rebuild your life.

Any breakup is followed by personal growth. Leaving someone you are not compatible with will allow you to regain a sense of independence, change unhealthy behaviors and ways of thinking. In addition, you will improve on other interpersonal relationships that may have been neglected. So take things slowly, and you will see that you can make your life better without relying on any other person next to you.

Kelly is a certified Relationship and Dating Coach and the founder of Be Brave Coaching. After being a toxic wife and then suffering herself at the hands of an abuser, Kelly found herself in a recovery program where she recovered from codependency, anger, and control issues. Years later, she released her first book 'Signs in the Rearview Mirror Leaving a Toxic Relationship Behind' which is her story of leaving toxic relationships with her mother, her ex, and herself behind.

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