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7 Signs You're in a Rebound Relationship: How to Tell When Your Current Partner Is Using You to Get Over Their Ex

Jorge's relationship advice is based on experience and observation. Let his trial and error be your success (hopefully).

Is it true love...or just a rebound? Why not both?

Is it true love...or just a rebound? Why not both?

How to Tell When You're in a Rebound Relationship: The True Key is Not Time

Did your partner get together with you very shortly after their last relationship ended? Are you worried that you're in a rebound relationship because of this?

In the past, I've definitely had the urge to start looking for partners too early after a relationship had dissolved. Deep down, I wasn't quite ready, so I couldn't bring my whole self, and that made everything awkward.

The good news is that simply trying to get into a new relationship quickly is not always a sign that you're in a rebound relationship. It all depends on context.

People often focus too much on how much time has passed when trying to judge whether a relationship is a rebound or not. The fact of the matter is that people process things differently, and time itself is secondary.

Sometimes it takes years to get over an ex, and other times it may take weeks, especially if the person was already checked out of the relationship for a long time.

The key to really figuring out the level of "rebounding" going on is to ask yourself this:

How much has the person changed since their last relationship.

That's the basic issue. If your partner has changed very little, then they are likely to seek a relationship that is exactly the same as their last one without realizing it. In other words, they are more likely to be rebounding.

Part of "getting over" a relationship is experiencing change and healing, especially if the relationship was a long-term one. This means you are a different person when you get into the new relationship than you were when you were in the old one. You have grown as a person.

Keep this in mind when reading these signs you're in a rebound relationship:

1. Your Partner Keeps Telling You That You're Better Than Their Ex

Does your partner keep talking about their ex? Worse, are they comparing you favorably to them? Do they go on and on about how their ex used to do this or that annoying thing, but you're so much better?

You might be flattered at first, but it can be a little weird if they bring it up frequently. Even if they supposedly hate their ex, you have to wonder why their past relationship continues to be on their mind so much.

It might be that they're not totally over it yet.

2. They Wanted to Move Really Fast

Breakups can be brutal. If your partner was in the relationship for a long time or had a lot of expectations around it, it could have been especially devastating.

They may have had a really strong emotional reaction to the breakup, and part of that reaction was to find someone who could fill that empty space in their life. They were hurting and they weren't ready to move on from the old relationship; they just wanted to experience the old relationship with a new person.

It's not uncommon for people in this situation to find a new partner and try to move really fast with them. They may want to move in with you within weeks of knowing you or introduce you to their parents immediately. They might tell you that everything they have is yours or may have few boundaries with you.

This sort of closeness might be common in a highly committed, long-term relationship, but if you just met them recently, it may be that they are trying to replace their ex. This is especially true if their last relationship was one that had lasted for years. They might just be craving that feeling of closeness and are impatient to put in the time it takes to build trust.

Your Suspicions of Being a Rebound

3. You're a Lot Like Their Ex

Do their friends comment a lot on how you are just like their ex? Sometimes people have a very specific type, so that doesn't have to be a huge deal, but sometimes it's a sign that you are in a rebound relationship.

Consider how your partner is treating the relationship in general. Are they acting like it's a new relationship and are eager to learn new things about you? On the other hand, is it like you're an old married couple already and your partner keeps trying to fix you into a role in their life? Again, do they seem eager to move really fast?

You might be totally fine with this, but if you're not eager to be the rebound, be conscious of your own feelings of discomfort and communicate them.

4. Your Partner Continues to React to Old Relationship Patterns

You might be nothing like your partner's ex--but that might not stop them from trying to make it seem like you are anyway.

Did you have an argument and your partner blew up over something random that you couldn't have possibly predicted? Maybe you joked with them about how bad they are at washing dishes, and they gave you an offended or emotional reaction.

It could be that in their past relationship, their partner was extremely picky about dishes and berated them often. They may not be quite healed from the experience, so they are reacting to an invisible version of their ex instead of you.

Though it could also be that they are reacting to an overbearing parent or some other figure from their past, sometimes you can tell when it is specifically ex-related. For instance, if the person is being extremely jealous because their last ex cheated on them, you might want to point out how this has nothing to do with you.

Your partner is unlikely to be aware of all of this. They might not realize at all where these feelings are coming from. When something like this does happen, let the heated situation cool down if necessary, then make it clear that you are not their ex.

If this happens every once in awhile, it's fairly normal. We all have emotional triggers that build up from the past. If it happens constantly, though, and you realize that your partner is just projecting their ex onto you, then they may not be over their prior relationship.

Your partner may be living out old relationship patterns and not realize it. Maybe they should go somewhere alone for awhile and process stuff.

Your partner may be living out old relationship patterns and not realize it. Maybe they should go somewhere alone for awhile and process stuff.

5. Your Partner is Never Single

Is your partner never single? Like never? Do they move on quickly from one relationship to another?

They may be a "serial rebounder." Basically, this is when all of a person's relationships are rebound relationships because they are trying to use them to fill a sense of emptiness. It's like a domino effect, and they fall into one relationship after another with no pause in between.

Even their first relationship may not have filled the emptiness, but it's painful to not have someone around to distract them from those feelings, so they continually cover it up with partner after partner.

I've had several friends like this before. From their perspective, they are just moving onto a new, exciting partner who is nothing like their ex. They expect this new relationship to be totally different. From an outsider's perspective, though, I watched them go through a lot of the same exact motions as they did with their former partners. It was like a cycle they were having trouble breaking free from. In a sense, all of us are like this to some degree, until we become aware that we're doing it.

Your partner probably isn't aware.

Now, it's also possible that they are not a serial rebounder at all. Maybe they just like being in relationships. Maybe they are so desirable that they can't stay single for long without people breaking down their door to date them. Obviously, you'll have to consider this on a case-by-case basis.

The big question is: Can your partner be single? Is it even possible for them to be alone and feel fine? Or are they just unable to face life without being in a relationship?

6. You Keep Feeling Like You're Playing a Role

Do you have this sinking feeling that you are this person's "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" or some other role to them...and that's it? Like, do you get the sense that they don't realy enjoy you as a unique individual, and just see you as some kind of character in their life who fulfills a need of theirs?

When speaking to you, do they frequently use language like, "My girlfriend isn't supposed to...," or "As my boyfriend, I expected you to...."

This could be because they're trying to replace the last person who quit on them as quickly as they can. They may even complain that you're not fulfilling the role well enough.

You probably weren't aware that you were applying for a job when you started dating them, so this isn't very fair to you.

7. Their Ex Left Them Abruptly

Some people will just tell you to your face that they were sad about how their ex left them, but then you showed up and lifted their spirits.

There's nothing wrong with that on its own, but it could be a sign that you're in a rebound relationship. For some people, it can take years for them to get over their ex, especially if their ex left them suddenly, with a lot of emotional devastation in their wake.

"Now that we're married, I realized that you were just a rebound. Whoops!"

"Now that we're married, I realized that you were just a rebound. Whoops!"

Salvaging a Rebound Relationship

Your partner may be hurting still and it's not their fault that they can't get over the pain of their past. They may not even realize they are on the rebound.

But it's not your fault, either. You don't deserve to be someone's replacement.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean it's the end of your relationship. You can get together for these reasons and still move forward together in new directions. It's just a matter of being conscious of it and making it clear that your partner needs to process their pain without using you.

While you're there to support them, your job is not to help distract them from the hurt they feel. Bring your concerns out in the open and encourage them to do the same!

How You Relate to These Signs of a Rebound Relationship

© 2021 Jorge Vamos

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