When a serious relationship ends and you quickly begin another relationship, that relationship is known as a “rebound relationship.” You may think you are doing the best thing by moving on and finding someone else, but rebound relationships can be a recipe for disaster if you enter them too quickly or for the wrong reasons.
A rebound relationship isn’t necessarily destined to fail. We often hear that rebound relationships don’t work, but for some people, they do. One study found that people who entered a rebound relationship after a breakup were better off psychologically compared to those who did not enter a new relationship after a breakup.
That being said, if you enter into a rebound relationship for the wrong reasons or do not address any of the personal issues that contributed to your previous breakup, rebound relationships can certainly fail.
When rebound relationships don’t work, it is usually because a person rushed into the relationship to mask their grief over the breakup and hasn’t established a legitimate connection with their new partner.
Furthermore, rebound relationships psychology tells us that these relationships may simply serve a temporary psychological purpose. The rebound relationship boosts a person’s self-confidence and happiness because it distracts them from their grief over losing a previous relationship.
In some cases, the rebound relationship fails because a person simply uses the new partner as a “temporary fix.” So, even if people are happier in a rebound relationship, that doesn’t mean the relationship will last.
It is difficult to determine the success rate of the rebound relationship because each is different. Some people may enter into a rebound relationship just weeks after a breakup, whereas others might wait several months.
Some studies state that 65% of rebound relationships fail within six months, whereas others claim that 90% fail within three months. Some of this may be hearsay because it’s challenging to find a first-hand source on how many rebound relationships fail.
View this video for additional information on the rebound relationship success rate:
If you or your ex have entered into a rebound relationship, you may be wondering, “Does a rebound relationship last?” We frequently hear from relationship psychologists and other experts that rebound relationships don’t work.
This doesn’t mean that all rebound relationships fail, but when they do, it’s typically because of the reasons listed below:
1. You don’t learn from your mistakes
One of the main reasons why rebound relationships don’t work is that people enter into them without learning from their past relationships. They may think that if they could only find the right person, they’d have the perfect relationship.
The rebound relationship also fails whbecause when they enter the next relationship and repeat the same behaviors they showed in their previous relationship.
2. You haven’t healed from your previous relationship
If you enter into a rebound relationship still actively grieving the loss of your former partner, the relationship will likely fail. Your new partner will be turned off if you still cry over your ex or talk about how much you miss them.
3. The relationship was intended to create jealousy
One primary factor behind why rebound relationships fail is that people may enter these relationships solely to make their ex jealous. If you want your ex back and need to catch their attention, entering a new relationship is one way.
Consumed by jealousy when they see you with someone new, your ex may come running back, leading you to toss the rebound relationship to the curb. While this may have gotten you what you wanted, it’s unfair to the person you rebounded with.
When you haven’t had time to process your breakup, you will constantly compare your new partner to your ex.
You may be used to how your ex showed love and affection, leading you to be disappointed when your new partner does things differently. Ultimately, this becomes a reason that the rebound relationships fail.
5. You have become needy
If you’re still an emotional mess because of your breakup, you may be incredibly needy and clingy with your new partner. You might need constant reassurance, or maybe you need someone to soothe your sadness.
This isn’t likely to be fun for your new partner, especially when they know your emotions are because you’re thinking of someone else.
One of the reasons why rebound relationships fail is that people go into these relationships simply looking for a temporary distraction from their pain. They aren’t looking for a legitimate connection; they just want to get their mind off their ex for a while, so they rush into things.
As grief over the former relationship fades away, there isn’t much reason to stay in the rebound relationship.
7. You are simply filling a void
If you’re longing for your ex, you will go after a rebound relationship with someone who reminds you of them. The problem is that you aren’t seeing this new person as a unique individual.
Instead, you are using them to fill a void, and at the end of the day, you’ll be disappointed when this person doesn’t make you feel like your ex did.
8. You are settling
Finding someone you want to enter into a serious relationship with takes time and effort, but someone who goes for a rebound relationship may settle for the first person who shows them attention.
Since you’re so desperate for connection, you may ignore red flags and enter a relationship that isn’t good for you. This doesn’t make for a successful relationship, and it’s one of the reasons why rebound relationships fail.
If superficial attraction is the only thing keeping the relationship together, it isn’t likely to last.
10. You are still longing for your ex
Your new partner is likely to realize if you’re longing for your ex. The lingering feelings for your former partner can destroy a rebound relationship.
One study found that the more people longed for their former partners, the lower their current relationship quality was.
One of the signs a rebound relationship is failing is that your ex is always on your mind.
11. You are faking it
Losing love is hard, leaving you with feelings of loneliness and despair. Because you don’t want to experience the feelings associated with losing love, you convince yourself that you’re in love with your new partner when you’re just faking it.
12. The novelty wears off
When you’re upset over a breakup, a rebound relationship is new and exciting, providing a temporary distraction. Eventually, the rebound relationship’s novelty disappears, and the relationship fails.
13. You don’t know the person well
Rushing into a rebound relationship may alleviate some of your sadness over a breakup, but if you haven’t taken the time to get to know your new partner, things can quickly turn sour.
As the relationship progresses, you may find that your rebound partner isn’t as perfect as they seemed in the beginning, which is one of the reasons why rebound relationships fail.
14. You aren’t compatible
Heartbreak can cloud your judgment and lead you to seek relief in the form of a new romance.
If you jump into things without exploring whether you and this new person are compatible, down the road, you’re likely to find that you just aren’t a good fit.
Two people who are hurting after a breakup are probably more likely to rush into a rebound relationship when compared to one person who is hurting and another who is not.
If you’ve found someone willing to rush into a whirlwind relationship with you, there is a high chance they are also rebounding. When you put together two people struggling with grief and looking to fill a void, it’s understandable why rebound relationships fail.
Heal before the haste!
There are numerous reasons why rebound relationships fail, but that doesn’t mean that a relationship entered into quickly after a breakup is destined to fail.
If you haven’t taken the time to heal, or you’re simply using the rebound relationship to fill a void, the emotions you take into the new relationship will likely lead to problems.
On the other hand, if you quickly develop a genuine connection with someone after a breakup and take steps to avoid making the same mistakes you made in your previous relationship, a rebound relationship can be successful, and it might even boost your self-esteem after a breakup.
The bottom line is that healing after a serious relationship can take time. Suppose you’re struggling with negative emotions after the end of a relationship. In that case, you might benefit from working with a therapist to help you process your emotions and rebuild your self-esteem.
If you’re still distraught over a previous relationship, working through the issues in counseling is a better option than jumping into a rebound relationship that is likely to fail.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.