This guest article from Psych Central was written by Nathan Feiles, LMSW
Rebound relationships can be quite intense. It’s often the case that the longer the previous relationship, the more intense the rebound. Why does this happen?
Rebounds have a lot to do with our attachment makeup (based on early life development). To create a visual, imagine for a second that you have a bunch of strings coming out of you — each string representing a type of need based on our attachment type. When in a relationship, most or all of these strings are attached to our significant others (like a plug into an outlet). When we make this connection, our partner essentially soothes our attachment needs by being the recipient of these strings.
When going through a breakup, it’s a form of emotional crisis. Even if we weren’t happy in our relationship, there’s an overarching feeling of being grounded in the sense that our attachment needs are being soothed. The longer the relationship, the stronger the “strings” become, and the more unconsciously dependent they become on this other “object” (our partner) to maintain this connection. So, when the strings are suddenly pulled away from our mate, we suddenly end up with these emotional strings aimlessly flying around in the wind waiting to attach to someone. It can feel similar to breaking a long-term addiction all at once — there’s generally no weaning process in a breakup. (It has been said that love is a form of addiction).
What ends up happening is that we end up looking for somebody who can be the recipient of our attachment strings in order to soothe our emotional crisis. When this happens, we end up in a rebound relationship, with pre-strenthened attachment strings, with an increased sense of urgency to re-connect, from the reaction of the sudden detachment. This paves the way for a fast and intense connection.
This leads to a combination of problematic issues that often present in a rebound relationship: