How to spot someone on the rebound

By: Lucy B |

Break-ups are tough, there’s no question. Whether you were together for a couple of months or a couple of years, everyone processes this hurt differently and it can sting for a very long time after the fact. A common occurrence after a painful break-up is what we call “the rebound”. In essence, a post-breakup-traumatic-not-even-really-a-relationship relationship. This isn’t passing judgement – getting over heartbreak is tough and everybody can make mistakes out of hurt or in an effort to make themselves feel better. 

But it’s equally, if not more difficult to be on the receiving end of someone looking for a rebound. You’ve met someone great, the feelings start to flood and you start hoping for a future with someone, and then get the rug pulled out from under you. Of course, this isn’t always the rebounders fault – some people may not even realise that’s what they’re doing and wind up hurting others without intending to. Others however, may specifically seek out a rebound as a quick band-aid to make themselves feel better or worse still, out of spite in an effort to make their ex jealous. Whatever the case may be, rebounds come from a place of hurt and not taking the time to properly deal with their feelings about their failed relationship. 

This isn’t healthy and the last thing you want to do is put your time and energy into a one sided relationship that’s guaranteed to fail. You might think you’ll be the one to heal them – and maybe you will – but chances are low. The best way to protect yourself from this is not to go into a new relationship too rashly and learn to pick up on the tell-tale signs that someone is on the rebound

  1. They’ve just come out of a relationship. 

Ok, this might seem pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed how often this factor is disregarded. A healthy person ought to take some time to process a break-up and become emotionally ready to try and embark on something new. If you find out that someone you’re interested in has JUST come out of a relationship – especially if it was long term – this is a red flag. 

  1. Their last breakup was a big shock

Following on from the above, if they tell you they didn’t see their breakup coming and act like they didn’t take away anything from the experience. No breakup is entirely blameless for one party – the responsibility may be heavily skewed, but it’s healthy to not only reflect on what happened but take ownership for anything that could have been done wrong on their part. If by default everything is the other person’s fault then not only is this a sign that they’re not over the breakup but also a sign that they won’t take any responsibility for wrong doing with you. 

  1. It’s all about the ex

If your conversations constantly come back around to them talking about their ex – comparing you to them, or talking about their flaws, or what went wrong etc then it’s pretty clear that their mind is still fixated on their partner. In other words, they’re not over them and not really interested in getting to know you – except maybe as a basis for comparison.

  1. Everything you do is all over social media

Social stalking has been around for a while now and a lot of people either scope out prospective dates by checking out their profile and following them or – keep tabs on their exes to see what’s going on. It’s nice to share some things on social media, but if they’re bombarding their feeds with updates about ‘their new boyfriend/girlfriend’, especially when you’ve barely started going out, it’s a strong indication that all of this posting is not a sign of romance and joy but smearing it in their exes face, trying to make them jealous – or prove that they’re over them. 

  1. It’s all physical and never emotional

If/when that line crosses from online communication to physical intimacy, and especially if that line is crossed rather quickly, you should try and be mindful of how much of your new relationship is physical and how much is emotional. Is sex all you ever do/talk about? Do they never open up about anything intimate or real? This may well be a sign that they’re just using you for some physical comfort and not actually interested in getting to know you and bond with you as a person.

  1. They won’t commit to anything long term or permanent

Another sign someone is on the rebound is that they won’t agree on any plans rather than those of immediate gratification. Drinks after work and back to their place? Sure. Spending the weekend together for Valentine’s? Not so much. Also, they won’t introduce you to any of their friends or really share anything about their lives outside of what you do together. This might be mistaken for, and is often disguised as, extreme interest in you, but really it’s a sign that they don’t want to integrate you into their lives.

All of these things can be difficult to spot and even more difficult to admit to yourselves, but in the long run, if you can identify that someone just can’t be serious about you because of their ex, or worse still – bring all that baggage into your relationship – the best thing might be to call it quits before you’re in too deep. Or if you really care about this person, agree to spend some time apart so they can properly deal with what happened, and then maybe try again when they’re in a healthier and more hopeful place.