Rebounds are a fundamental part of the breakup process, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you find yourself developing feelings for the person you thought was just helping you move on from your ex. Here’s how you know your rebound is actually a real relationship.
You’ve stopped comparing him to your ex.
It’s impossible not to compare rebounds with your ex. No matter how often you tell yourself you’ve moved on, you’re obsessed with your previous relationship and you can only see your new partner through the lens of your old one. Is he taller? Is he more compassionate? Does he chew with his mouth open the way your ex did? Even when the comparison is favorable for your new partner, making comparisons to your last relationship is a sure sign you haven’t moved on.
You’re physically intimate in non-sexual ways.
Rebounds are often just there for the physical intimacy. Your bed feels too empty after your breakup, so you find someone who will fill it. But physical intimacy comes in many different forms, and sex often has nothing to do with emotional closeness. If you and your new partner are just sleeping together, it’s probably just a rebound. If you’ve moved into cuddling and kissing each other for no particular reason except that it makes you feel closer to each other, it might be turning into something more.
You imagine a future together.
The guy you’re with isn’t just a means of getting over your ex anymore. You see him as someone you could be with for a long time. You find yourself imagining what he’ll be like in 10 years, and maybe even what your kids would be like. If you’re imagining a future together, clearly he’s more than just a way of getting over a previous heartbreak.
He isn’t the opposite of your ex.
A lot of people go for the exact opposite of their last partner when they’re trying to move on. They want someone who makes up for all the things their ex was lacking, like a job in the arts or emotional transparency. But choosing someone who is totally different from your previous relationship only shows that you haven’t moved on. If you’re going to extremes to distract yourself from the person you used to love, clearly you haven’t left that person behind.
He isn’t the same as your ex.
On the other hand, some people try to replace their ex with a carbon copy of him or her. This is a more obvious indication that you haven’t moved on. If you’re dating someone who is neither exactly the opposite nor exactly the same as your previous partner, you can be a little less concerned about your intentions. You’re probably dating him because you like him for who he is, not because he reminds you of your ex.
You call him your boyfriend
and don’t feel weird about it. It can be hard to refer to someone as your significant other after you’ve just had a breakup, even if you really like them. If you’ve started introducing the guy you’re with as your boyfriend and don’t think twice about it, you’re clearly having strong feelings for him that have nothing to do with your previous relationship.
You’ve stopped trying to keep tabs on your ex through social media.
You’re not looking for evidence of a new girlfriend. You’re not stalking his friends to catch a glimpse of him to see if he looks happy without you. You may find yourself wondering about what he’s been up to from time to time, but you don’t pursue the thought much further.
You’ve introduced him to your friends.
Introducing a new partner to your friends is always a milestone, but it’s an especially big deal when you’ve just broken up with someone they knew well. Having him meet your friends is a statement: you’re telling him and everyone you love that you are starting over with someone new.
You feel vulnerable, but it doesn’t scare you.
It’s natural to feel vulnerable at the beginning of a relationship. But when it’s a rebound, your vulnerability comes from your fear of being alone and feeling the pain of your breakup. When it’s become something deeper than a rebound, you feel vulnerable because you can sense that you’re ready to open up to your new partner, which is more exciting than it is frightening.
You’re falling in love.
It’s impossible to fall in love with someone who’s only there to help you get over someone you’ve just broken up with. Rebounds happen when you’re trying to fall out of love with your ex, not fall in love with someone new. If you’re falling for the person you’re with, he isn’t just a rebound.
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