5 Huge Red Flags You're in a Rebound Relationship, Therapists Say

These telling signs suggest you or your partner aren't over an ex just yet.

Ever heard the expression "The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else?" While you may think that dating another person will help distract you from your broken heart, it often only delays your ability to heal—and before you know it, you've found yourself in a rebound relationship.

That's not to say a casual fling can't have any benefits. In fact, research has found that when people find a new partner while recovering from a breakup, they often become more trusting and more confident in their own desirability. That said, hopping from one relationship to the next means you may learn to depend on others for your sense of happiness, fulfillment, and self-esteem, says Jackie Golob, a sex therapist and founder of Shameless Therapy & Consulting Services.

"A rebound relationship often occurs before the individual has fully processed the previous breakup or resolved their emotions related to it," explains Luis Cornejo, a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship expert at Clara for Daters. "Without adequate time for self-reflection, individuals might repeat negative patterns from their previous relationship."

According to Cornejo, a rebound relationship can be positive, but if and only if both people are open and aware of each other's current emotional bandwidths and dating intentions. But first, it's important to be able to recognize when you're in a rebound relationship by looking out for the following signs.

RELATED: 6 Passive-Aggressive Comments That Mean Your Partner Wants to Break Up.

1
The dynamic is codependent.

Codependent couple in an embrace
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Codependency is a term used to describe a dysfunctional relationship dynamic in which both people are overly reliant on each other. According to Golob, this dynamic can often suggest a rebound relationship since it's common for people to feel extra needy following a breakup.

"Leaning too heavily on a new partner for emotional support can create an unhealthy dependency," explains Cornjeo. "It can also put an immense amount of pressure on the new relationship to 'fix' or stop the grieving process from the loss of the previous partner." This can then lead to feelings of resentment or frustration.

2
The ex keeps coming up in conversation.

A young man looks really bored on a date with a woman
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It's normal for your ex's name to come up once in a while—say, when having discussions with your partner about your past relationship histories. But if you or your partner just can't resist regularly bringing them up in your conversations, that could be a red flag, says Michele Leno, a licensed psychologist and founder of DML Psychological Services.

Cornejo notes that constantly talking about your ex suggests you're constantly thinking about them—which means you're probably not over them. And dating someone new before you've emotionally moved on from your previous partner is the definition of a rebound relationship.

RELATED: The Top 5 Signs You Found the Love of Your Life, According to Relationship Experts.

3
You're not connecting on a deep emotional level.

unhappy young couple fighting
Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock

If you feel an emotional distance between you and your partner, despite attempts to connect, Leno says that's another sign you may be in a rebound relationship. That's because it's extremely difficult to build emotional intimacy with someone new when you're still hung up on your ex.

For example, you or your partner may avoid talking about your feelings or discussing future plans.

"This avoidance often stems from a fear of repeating past mistakes or a reluctance to open up and be vulnerable again so soon after a painful breakup," Cornejo explains.

As a result, a rebound relationship often lacks depth and feels superficial.

4
Things are moving unusually fast.

mand and woman chatting at a cafe
adriaticfoto/Shutterstock

There's something to be said for taking things slow in a new relationship—particularly after a painful breakup. So, if you find that you or your partner is rushing things along in those first few months of dating, it's time to pump the breaks and ask yourself why.

It's tempting to try and quickly fill the void left by your ex, says Cornejo, which can then lead you to try and cross certain relationship milestones before you're actually ready. However, moving too fast is only likely to backfire once you're in too deep with someone you didn't take enough time to get to know.

RELATED: "Breadcrumbing" Is a Toxic Dating Trend on the Rise—How to Spot It in Your Relationship.

5
You or your partner keep making comparisons with the ex.

Problems in family quarrel, uncomfortable, unhappy, worry, misunderstood, offended, jealousy, infidelity, conflict, awkward and other bad feelings cause to couple break up and ending relationship.
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It goes a little something like this. You come home on your birthday and think, "My ex would've had flowers and champagne waiting for me." Or, your partner says something like, "My ex would never leave dishes in the sink." Whether it's you or your new significant other who's playing the comparison game, experts agree it can be super detrimental. It also hints at the strong possibility of a rebound relationship.

"If you feel like you're in a competition with the ex, it's a significant red flag," says Cornejo. "This behavior indicates that they are still processing their past relationship and using the current one as a benchmark or distraction."

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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