No one wants to be anyone’s rebound, but it can be hard to know if that’s the situation you’re in if your new partner isn’t honest with you. Are they using you to get over their ex? Do they think dating you will make their ex jealous and want them back? You hate to think this could be the case, but it’s definitely possible. Here are a few signs of a rebound relationship to be on the lookout for. If you notice them, get out now.
- They’re moody. Someone seeking to rebound from a previous relationship goes through a roller-coaster of emotions when they jump straight into dating. They are trying to move on before they’ve finished mourning the loss of their ex and therefore swing wildly between manic excitement about having a fresh start, and all-consuming longing for the relationship they’ve left behind. As their new partner, you’ll be left to wonder what you did to make them so unpredictable. Sadly, their mood has nothing to do with you.
- They only express superficial interest. They do the bare minimum when it comes to asking you questions about yourself. The more time you spend with them, the more you feel like they aren’t really interested in you at all and are only asking you personal questions to appear polite. No matter how much information you share about yourselves with each other, it still feels like there’s a wall between you.
- They don’t want to introduce you to their friends. This is one of the biggest signs of a rebound relationship. If you’re with someone who hasn’t moved on from their last relationship, you’ll probably notice that they avoid introducing you to their inner circle. This is because, deep down, they don’t want to replace their ex with someone new. They are not ready to let go of that space and give it to a new person. They may also fear that their friends will disapprove of them jumping into a relationship so quickly when it’s clear they haven’t moved on from the last one.
- They never spend the night. People who are trying to rebound are often uncomfortable with intimacy. They seek sex to distract themselves from the pain of missing their ex and pretend to be liberated and carefree, but sleeping next to someone is a step too far. They may have physically moved on, but it will take a while before they can emotionally move on enough to wake up with another person.
- They talk about their ex…a lot. Talking about an ex is a huge turnoff, but it’s also a clue. It tells you that the person is either really bad at making small talk, or has not gotten over their previous relationship. If the person you’re dating seems to want to talk about their ex more than normal, you have every reason to assume that you’re a rebound.
Signs of a rebound relationship
- They talk vaguely about a bad breakup. Even if they don’t talk about their ex, you could still be a rebound. If They’re overly evasive about their previous relationship but allude to a nasty split, you may want to question them a little harder to figure out if there is unresolved baggage that you should know about. Heavy hinting that there was drama in the recent past is a way that people inadvertently reveal that they’re using their new partner to get over their ex.
- They post pictures of the two of you on social media. Not everyone wants to keep their rebound a secret. In some cases, a person will broadcast their new relationship as publicly as possible to make their ex jealous. If you feel like your new partner is posting a lot of pictures of you on their social media even though you don’t feel like your relationship is serious enough for that yet, it’s probably because your partner is using you as a weapon in their unresolved breakup with someone else.
- They’re distant after sex. People often throw themselves into sex after a painful breakup, thinking that the inherent pleasure in physical intimacy will drown out their emotional suffering. But it is rarely that easy. Often, sleeping with a relative stranger will only make them miss their ex more. If your new partner is distant and irritable after sex, don’t take it personally. It may be because they’re thinking about someone they haven’t gotten over.
- Their last relationship was serious. Rebounds rarely occur after short-term relationships because it is much easier to move on when the partnership didn’t have time to take root and entangle the people involved. The vast majority of rebounds happen after a serious couple breaks up. If your new partner is exhibiting signs of not being over his ex and you find out that they were in a long-term relationship, you may be a rebound.
- They’re casually cruel. Painful breakups make people selfish. A person becomes so consumed by heartache and self-pity that they lose all awareness of other people’s feelings. All they want is to get over their ex, and if you’re a means to that end, they will use you and feel no remorse about how it might hurt you. If you tell them that you’re feeling ignored are met with a stone-cold wall of indifference, it may have less to do with them being a terrible person than with them being emotionally imprisoned by their past relationship.
What to do when you recognize the signs of a rebound relationship
When you realize that the person you’re dating isn’t all that into you and is actually using you as a pawn to make their ex jealous and want them back or even as a way to get over them with no intention of ever actually being in a relationship with you, you don’t have to stay. In fact, the only thing you can or should do here is to walk away as soon as possible. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be a victim or to make you feel unworthy of a real, proper relationship. However, you should do these things.
- Recognize and acknowledge your feelings as real. Just because this person considered you a rebound and didn’t fully value you doesn’t undermine your feelings for them. You cared for them and thought you had a future together and that was real and special. You put time, energy, and love into the relationship. Just because they didn’t return it doesn’t make that any less important or valid.
- Remember that you are lovable. The realization that this person used you and didn’t care about you at all (or at least not enough to actually tell you the truth about what the relationship was to them) can make you wonder why such a thing happened to you. Could it be that you’re unworthy of love? Of course not. Now is the time to turn the care and devotion you had for this person inwards and remind yourself just how wonderful you truly are.
- Use this as a learning experience and move on. Bad things happen in love and dating all the time. This wasn’t your first relationship disaster and it likely won’t be your last. However, you can make it mean something by taking the lessons from it and moving on with pride. As spiritual guide and matchmaker Heather Kristian Strang told Elite Daily: “Take this situation of feeling as though you were on the negative end of another’s experience and use it to empower yourself to greater clarity and to ultimately allow it to lead you right into the arms of your true love.” That’s pretty great advice!
Once you come to terms with the fact that you’ve been used, it can be devastating and make you lose faith in love. Don’t let it! There are plenty of people out there that would consider themselves lucky to get to know you and even date you, you just need to be patient.