- The previous relationship hasn’t been resolved. Rebounds are generally reactive. These relationships start out as an emotional response to a removal from emotional security and stability (whether or not the relationship was healthy). Therefore, the previous relationship as a whole, and the accompanying emotions from the breakup have not been processed or resolved. A rebound relationship is a subconscious way of trying to avoid feeling the hurt, sadness, disappointment, and other emotions from the relationship that didn’t work. The euphoria drowns the sorrow. But only temporarily. Eventually, these emotions surface and often cause confusion within the rebound relationship.
- The rebound partner is often idealized. In a rebound relationship, it’s common that the new partner is viewed as perfect — the person that we always wished we’d found first, and were so lucky to find this time. It’s euphoric. This response has a lot to do with our attachment needs seeking a state of stability to resolve the emotional crisis we experience in a breakup. In a metaphoric sense, we end up plugging all of our emotional strings deeply into a new partner all at once, in order to emotionally stabilize ourselves. They aren’t slowly worked in, such as with most non-rebound relationships. Eventually, the idealization (and euphoria) goes away, and this is when rebounds often hit a well.
- Our own role in the previous relationship has not been explored. People often find they deal with similar types of struggles from one relationship to the next. This is because we have a role, based on our developmental history, in the formation and dynamic of our relationships. Simply said, if we don’t work to understand how our previous relationships went wrong, and what we can do to learn and grow from the experience, there’s a significant chance we will end up dealing with similar issues, only with a different person.
It’s worth mentioning that many rebound relationships have grown into long-lasting, happy relationships. So they aren’t doomed from the start. But at a certain point in a rebound relationship, the above issues (as well as other possible issues) will most likely emerge and will need to be resolved. It becomes confusing when we’re in a new relationship that’s exciting and intense, and then suddenly we start experiencing the loss of the previous relationship. The question starts becoming, do we slow down the rebound, get to know our new partner, and stick with the new relationship?; or, do we end the rebound, resolve the residual issues from the other relationship, and work on ourselves?; or, possibly consider resolving and returning to the other relationship? There are options.
On the other side of the coin, it’s also worth noting that the new partner in a rebound relationship is in a vulnerable position just by being the rebound partner, due to the issues above. While the relationship can certainly grow, there are obstacles. The partner who’s fresh out of a breakup is forcing emotional space into a crowded well in order to have the rebound relationship. The question is, is the partner who is rebounding emotionally available for this relationship? This puts the new partner nearly at the mercy of the other. When the euphoria settles to reality, there is often a feeling that the partner is pulling away, which is generally due to the unresolved issues from the previous relationship.
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So, both people in a rebound relationship do have options. While rebounds aren’t necessarily doomed, there are built-in obstacles. Slowing down and facing the emotional process becomes a necessary step in determining how to move forward.