Coming out of a breakup is awful. Depending on how long the relationship was and the intensity of it, the heartache that comes with it can be absolutely debilitating.
It doesn’t matter what anyone says or how often you hear the phrase, “this too shall pass,” the pain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s this type of emotional turmoil that sometimes has people running into the arms of someone new. Then suddenly, before they know it, they’re in a rebound relationship.
“To understand rebound relationship psychology, you first need to understand the meaning of rebound relationships,” consult psychologist Jaseena Backer tells Bonobology.
“Sometimes when a long-term, serious or committed relationship breaks, people get entangled in a temporary transient relationship to basically find themselves again … It is about self-healing. When people cannot get over their ex, when they cannot stop feeling sorry for themselves, when they want someone to make them feel something again, then they get into these relationships … for a while.”
While not everyone who goes through a breakup will end up in a rebound relationship, for some, rebounding is the only way they can get over their ex, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What a rebound relationship can look like
There’s no exact formula as to what a rebound relationship should look like. In fact, sometimes people end up in rebound relationships and don’t even realize it — they think they’ve just moved into another partnership.
“The biggest sign that you are in a rebound relationship is if you feel like you are constantly missing your ex,” relationship expert Lori Bizzoco tells Bustle. “Naturally, you will miss your past partner, especially if it was a long-term relationship and you both had plans for the future, but there is a big difference between occasionally thinking about your ex versus obsessing over [them]. If you are constantly trying to figure out ways to get back together or if you cannot stop texting, Facebook stalking or even talking about your ex, even though you are dating someone new, then it is highly likely your new guy or girl is just a rebound.”
It’s worth noting that although you’re in a rebound relationship, it doesn’t mean it will always be this way. Rebounds can go through the five rebound stages and come to an end. Or they can evolve into an actual, committed relationship — they’re not all necessarily doomed.
Can rebound relationships last?
Short answer: yes. But what’s important to realize about a rebound relationship is that it has two people in it, and just one of them is using the relationship as a way to recover from their previous relationship. Because of this, you need to be honest with your new partner about where you’re coming from and what you want in this relationship you two have, especially if you think this is the person you want to be with for the long term.
“As long as there’s self-awareness around what’s going on, and there’s a willingness and ability to address some of the underlying issues that either took place in the other relationship or that were brought into the current relationship, it can work,” licensed professional counselor Elizabeth Fredrick, Ph.D. tells Popsugar. “Do your best to not be influenced by everybody else’s opinion, because they’re not the ones who have to live it.”
Just because you’re in a rebound relationship doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the future. So, with that in mind, stop worrying about if or when it will end. Instead, focus on what you have and nurture it.
A version of this article originally appeared here on glam.com