It's often suggested that, after going through a breakup, you give yourself plenty of time and space to process what happened. Many people recommend focusing on yourself for a while, and being OK with single life before getting back out there. But then, inevitably, comes the rebound relationship.
You might stumble upon someone in a bar, or download a dating app, and before you know it you're hooking up and texting and having a grand old time. It can be fun in the moment, but since this type of relationship isn't really meant to last — and can even be kind of hurtful or confusing — it does make you wonder why they're so appealing.
Well, as you might have guessed, rebounds fill a lot of needs. And when you're going through a difficult time, it can be tough to turn down an opportunity to hang out with someone, and feel slightly better. "A rebound relationship often occurs through our innate human need for consistency," Alyssa Bunn, executive matchmaker and founder of Love & Co., tells Bustle. "When we have had a person to share our lives with — mentally, physically, and emotionally — our identity can feel lost without them."
So let's say you were with your ex for three years, and now they aren't by your side. Without that companionship, your knee-jerk reaction might be to find someone, anyone, to take their place. And that's completely understandable.
You might even find yourself drifting toward folks that remind you of your ex, which may sound weird, but makes sense given the emotional turmoil a breakup can cause. "You go through shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance, in no particular order," Bunn says. "It is typically in the bargaining phase that someone finds themselves in a rebound relationship, often with someone who resembles the characteristics of their ex."
Without realizing it, you may be trying to recreate your previous relationship by spending time with someone who rekindles those memories or somehow feels familiar. Or, you might find yourself in a rebound simply because you're trying to get over your ex, and wouldn't mind being busy.
"Someone might find themselves in a rebound relationship with the attempt to get over their previous partner and start afresh," April Davis, relationship expert and founder of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, tells Bustle. Instead of sitting at home, or wallowing, you choose to have a rebound, she says, as a way of moving on.
Of course, "breaking up can cause a huge blow to a person's self-esteem," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. And really, if a partner says they no longer want to be with you, it's only natural to feel that way.
But this may also help explain the desire to get back out there, perhaps before you're truly ready. "A rebound relationship can help convince someone that they are still attractive and lovable," Bennett says. It is exciting, after all, to get texts and go on dates. And hey, it very well may be helpful to have a little fling while moving through the toughest stages of a breakup.
That's why none of this is to say you shouldn't have a rebound. "As with anything in life, understanding your intention behind a rebound relationship is important," Bunn says. You might not want to go into it, she says, with the goal of replacing your ex or fixing your sadness, as this can be unfair to the other person — and ultimately to yourself.
If you just want to have a good time, and the other person feels the same way, then go for it. Just make sure you're doing the work necessary to move past your breakup. "Keep in mind that confidence and closure can only be found from within," Bunn says, so you'll want to spend time thinking about what happened, talking with friends, and even processing it with a therapist. Do whatever feels right. Have a rebound, or don't. But know that, with time, you will be able to move on.
Alyssa Bunn, executive matchmaker and founder of Love & Co.
April Davis, relationship expert and founder of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking
Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle.