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8 Things Everyone Naively Assumes About Rebound Relationships

You think they're going to end? Think again.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished 2 years ago 8 min read
Rebound confusion | Image created on Canva

My marriage is the product of a rebound relationship. Yeah, I'm one of those people.

I found love straight after breaking up with my ex with a man who should have been no more than a one-night fling. 

In fact, I seem to remember my husband and I swear to it only being a one-night romance. That's the only agreement we've ever broken with each other.

We both had come out of extremely serious and long relationships. Some would say we were the same person. Neither of us was looking for love or any sort of replacement romance. I know I wasn't even looking for a physical fix to move past my not-so-pleasant break-up.

Everything about my relationship with my now-husband was a classic rebound. 

Yet, somehow he ended up being the one. When people hear my story, they don't believe me. How could your husband have started off as a rebound?

Rebounds that turn into love confuse most people. Everyone is so used to the traditional rebound; short-lived, sex-fuelled flings.

But there is so much about rebound relationships everyone gets wrong.

I'm here to clarify those misconceptions before people hop into bed with the rebound thinking they've found the one. 

Or before they throw a rebound out of their bed, assuming they couldn't possibly be the love of your life.

1. Everyone knows a rebound relationship

When you get into a relationship with your rebound, you don't get out the label maker and write a rebound name tag for each other.

Ok, so I exaggerate a little. 

But there is this misconception everyone knows who is a rebound and who isn't. Or if you're not the one in the know, if you're the unsuspected dupe who has started dating someone on the rebound, the other person knows.

This isn't a game of football where everyone has their assigned positions. It's not that straightforward. No one enters the relationship knowing this is a rebound, or knowing that it isn't. 

It's just a relationship; let's see where it goes.

Even when my husband and I said to each it would be a one-night thing, it was the last time we talked about the topic of labels. And even if one of us did think it was only going to be a rebound, we weren't about to say it.

It's not exactly a nice thing to say to someone whilst you're in bed with them. "You know you're a rebound, right?" 

How un-romantic.

2. If you've recently broken up with someone, it's a rebound

Despite the idea that I wasn't putting a rebound label on the relationship, it doesn't mean my friends didn't have a field day with the concept.

They immediately labelled my relationship and made sure I heard every warning under the sun about how hurt I was bound to be very soon.

It's funny to think about other people labelling my relationship when I wasn't. It's so invasive, considering they only knew one side of the story, mine. They possessed zero understanding of what the relationship was like behind closed doors.

But this is what people do. They're going to jump to assumptions.

Before you even know what direction you're looking in, others will have decided your relationship for you.

If you don't have your head on straight, these assumptions can hurt your ability to have a normal relationship with your new partner.

Once you start believing you're in a cliche and doomed rebound romance, you're kind of screwed.

3. Sex is the only love language

Hot and heavy rebound romances. Don't you just love the way Hollywood portrays these relationships? It's all non-stop sex, night and day, with zero conversation or any form of human connection.

Or if there is any conversation, its intense and passionate dialogue, emotion fuelled with extreme hormone highs and lows dictating the interactions.

Yeah, it kind of sounds like the start of most relationships.

If you remove the romances that begin with safe dating - polite conversations over dinner, hand-holding at the movies, flowers on the third date - it's how every normal relationship starts.

There's also nothing to say rebound romances can't start the safe way either. There are no rules to rebound dating. People do it the way that works for them. It might be slow and steady and it could be a rebound.

4. You have a time limit on this relationship

I asked a few people, and the internet, about how long they think rebound relationships last. Some said a few weeks, others said no more than a month, and others said a year was the maximum.

There was one response that caught me off guard. This person said, "The time limit doesn't matter. They just don't last at all."

Basically, everyone assumes rebound relationships are doomed. There is no hope for any rebound to last forever or turn into a serious, meaningful, very long-term commitment.

Well, I'm living proof that isn't the case. Yet, this is only about my experience. 

I know many people who have found the right one as soon as they broke up with a serious ex. What was technically a rebound turned out to be their forever relationship.

This time limit everyone imposes on rebounds reinforces an inaccurate cliche.

And once you convince yourself you're in a rebound with this cliche, you start waiting for it to end.

5. Every rebounder is using a new relationship to heal

The best way to get over someone is to get on top of someone else. Right?!

This, by the way, is one of my favourite relationship quotes. It's basically a justification to hook up with anyone you want when you're newly single. It's also a way to help you sleep at night when you've regretted bedding someone too soon after your break-up. 

It's ok, because "you're healing".

And that's what a rebound is, right? A longer stint in relationship healing.

Whilst I must admit there are people who are healing by using a rebound, this isn't the rule. It's too great of a generalisation.

This is why rebound relationships can be so confusing. Some people genuinely move on quickly, having already moved on during the ending of the relationship already.

They've done their healing. The break-up itself was like the final moment of peace. They don't need a rebound to heal.

6. Spot a rebounder by how bitter they are

Some self-help professionals will say you can spot a rebound partner by how bitter they are towards their ex. What they say, how they act seems irrational and highly emotive considering the ended union.

Outside of my husband, I have been in rebound relationships before. These were younger, short-lived unions that I never called rebounds. They were flings to me. 

As I mentioned earlier, no one was putting any labels on what was happening.

But never in my experience of rebounds or even stories of friends of friends who've been in rebound relationships, have I ever heard of any party acting bitter.

This is the decency thing I was also talking about earlier. Most people refrain from trashing their ex with their new partner. They don't talk about their ex for fear of scaring the new person off.

And if they do initiate the conversation, it's a little more dignified.

Though I'm sure everyone who reads this will have a story to contradict my experience. I'm ok with that. 

But I want to make sure if you're looking for bitterness to prove your new partner is on the rebound, there are no guarantees you will find it.

7. Rebounders keep you apart from family and friends

It makes sense to me. If you're on the rebound, you don't want your family and friends to become invested in your short-term partner. They aren't going to be around long so need to get to know them. 

Sure. I get it.

But some rebounders subscribe to the opposite mentality. They aren't treating this like a rebound, instead, they're treating it like any normal relationship. They're quite happy to introduce their new partner to everyone. 

They don't think anything of it.

That's how people are. Some people can't have a relationship of any length or intensity without co-mingling friends and family.

But if you aren't being introduced to the loved ones when you think you should be, it doesn't always indicate a lack of commitment or a rebound relationship. There are so many reasons why keeping people apart is necessary. 

You can't jump straight to a cliche.

8. Successful rebounds know they're the exception to the "rule"

I'm fully aware that there are always these mythical rules to dating. I hate them, by the way. No one can impose rules on this part of our life. We should be able to make our own.

Yet, as human behaviour goes, people tend to act the same in certain situations. It's how we come to this cliched behaviour; many people have acted like this in the past.

I know the general experience with rebounds is that they fail. The percentage of them? I don't know. But as society goes, my experience is the exception and not the rule.

I'm ok with that, by the way. I love making life my own way. I don't care what box my experiences fit into. They're all uniquely mine.

If you've found yourself in this rebound situation, I offer one thing to remember.

It's a relationship. It doesn't differ from any other you've had, and yet it's completely new and unique, just like the start of every other relationship you've had too.

If you want it to be an experience you love, you learn from, you grow from, the best way to approach it is by doing it your way.

Forget assumptions. Equally, forget all expectations. Live in the moment and take each day as it comes.

You never know.


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

I’m here to use my wins and losses in #relationships as your cautionary tale | Writes 1LD; Cautionary tale #romance fiction |

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