How To Not Turn Your Rebound Into A Relationship

When you find yourself reeling from a serious breakup, it's almost always a good idea to go find yourself a rebound relationship — that is, any relationship that is primarily about finding someone to fill the void left in your life by your ex. Most rebound relationships are casual, fun, and pretty much just about sex, but, if you don't get ahead of them, they can lead into you straight into that most dreaded of fates: a serious relationship with someone you're not actually crazy about.

Researchers have found that having a rebound relationship after a breakup offers benefits beyond just helping you get over your ex — those who rebound have higher self-esteem, greater dating confidence and feel more secure in their ability to love again than those who skip the whole rebound scene. Basically, after a breakup, you need rebound loving, for both your mental and physical well-being. It’s science!

But rebounding can be a slippery slope. Even though rebounds do not make for ideal serious relationship material — because they're usually relationships based on wanting to get over someone else, rather than legitimate interest in your rebound partner — they can seem initially comfortable and appealing. And so sometimes, when we find ourselves a good rebound relationship, we fall back into old habits, and want to hang on to our partner, as if we were in an actual good relationship.

And that's okay. As long as you remember that rebounds are called "rebounds" for a reason — they're about helping you bounce back, and as soon as you've gotten everything you can out of it, you need to bail. So use the nine tips below to make sure that your super-hot rebound doesn't accidentally turn into just another crappy relationship.

1. Commit To The Idea That This Is Just A Rebound

You need to define this relationship to yourself as a rebound, and not waver from that. You must admit to yourself, wholeheartedly, that this isn't about love, but about getting over your ex — and you must remember that, so you don't find yourself lost in confusion over some random intimate moment you have with your rebound person.

If you can recognize that your rebound relationship is a temporary good time and stick to that thinking, you'll be more able to have fun, and less likely to fall into an accidental relationship.

2. Keep Your Feelings About Your Rebound Partner In Check

Don't let yourself get sucked into the usual relationship behavior, like constant texting or always being in touch. Instead, keep your distance and don't take things too seriously. If you don't hear from them for a few days? You're cool. You've got this. You know that you need to work on yourself and your own healing, rather than hanging around waiting for someone else.

3. Take Any Opportunity To Point Out That You’re On The Rebound

From the beginning, put it all out there to your new bang buddy: "This is just sex. You are my transitional person. We'll have fun. If you don't call me, I won't cry. I'm totally in control of my feelings and won't let them get the better of me." If you can be upfront about your intentions in the first place, then ideally, you'll create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4. Don’t Get Too Personal

Play your cards close to your chest. Since you know that this relationship is a short-term thing, there's no need to get carried away emotionally exposing yourself to your rebound. You don't need to know the specific details of their lives, either. When people truly open up to each other, they create intimacy and connection. You don't need (or want) that with right now; you want to keep things light and uncomplicated. So talk to your friends about your worries and deep thoughts, not your rebound.

5. Avoid Talking About Any Major Future Plans

While your heart might jump for joy at the thought of bringing someone home for the holidays instead of rolling solo, you need to be honest with yourself about what your rebound really is. The likelihood of that person staying in your life is pretty slim, so there's no point in signing up for creating more memories. Realize that you will have a person that you make future plans with again some day, but your rebound partner isn't that person.

Plus, you don't want to have to explain to your family that the person you brought to Christmas dinner was just someone you were casually banging in order to get over your ex.

6. Recognize All The Ways Your Rebound Won't Work Out

If you feel yourself slipping into dangerous "I have feelings" territory, make a concerted effort to pull back from the situation. Some rebounds can go from zero to 60 in no time, because of the vulnerable state that you're in when you begin them. If you feel this happening, make a conscious decision to really examine why this person isn't right for you.

Force yourself to examine the pros and cons, the logistics of the relationship, and all the reasons why this person is best as a temporary place holder, not the real thing. Making a list is always a helpful tool — it might seem silly, but when you're face to face with the good and the bad aspects of your rebound, you'll realize that your relationship is just not feasible in the long term.

7. Allow Yourself To Grieve For Your Past Relationship

Since you just came out of a relationship, there's a good chance you're still a bit broken, confused, and wounded. You need to allow yourself to grieve the loss of what you had with your ex — because even if you had the worst breakup, there were still probably parts of your relationship that were once great. If you let yourself truly experience your tears and your grief, you'll see that you're not ready for anything but a rebound — because a relationship that starts when you're still mourning your past is likely to be doomed.

8. Have Realistic Expectations

You need to be realistic about what your rebound means to you and where they stand in your life. They are not a friend or a serious partner, but rather a buddy you call when no one else is around. They're not part of your inner circle — they're more like a distant moon that sometimes comes into your orbit.

If you feel worried that you might get in too deep with your rebound relationship, give yourself a time frame. Tell yourself that you will allow your rebound to last for a few months, and then you'll take some time off to collect your thoughts before jumping back into serious dating. This way, you won't find yourself getting too attached and lowering your expectations in order to stay in the relationship. This will also allow you ample alone time and breathing room before you get that profile back on OKCupid.

9. Realize Your Rebound Serves Only One Purpose

The purpose? To occupy your time and your vagina, and bring you back to life after being dealt the blow of a break-up. That is all. Don't try to make it more than it is.

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