8 Rebound Relationship Stages (2024) & How To Break It

Rebound relationships promise love and excitement at the beginning. But they aren’t what they seem on the surface.

Rebound Relationship Stages
Photo by Katerina Holmes

Stay with me as we discuss rebound relationship stages, timelines, possibilities, and more!

Let’s dive in.

Key Rebound Relationship Stages One Must Go Through

After a stay or leave dilemma as illustrated in the video, you may leave a relationship. And while you try to process emotions, a rebound relationship is bound to begin with another.

1. Pickup Stage

This is a place of meeting your rebound partner. Based on rebound relationship psychology the following are reasons that could be leading you to this first stage:

  • You’re feeling the urgency to fill the emotional void created by the break-up
  • You’re not over your ex
  • You’re scared of being alone
  • You feel you’re incomplete without a romantic relationship
  • You long for the attention of a romantic admirer or partner 
  • You want your ex to be jealous
  • You want to show your ex and/or other people that you’re attractive
  •  You have weak self-worth and depend on someone to make you feel worthy of love

Whatever the reason for doing this, the first thing you’d probably do is pick an easy target for a rebound. That person could be exactly similar to your ex or perhaps you may choose someone totally different from them.

It could be:

  • Someone who always liked you but couldn’t have you since you were in a relationship
  • Someone you friend-zoned in the past 
  • Someone you entertained as a backup partner
  • Someone who’s comfortable being friends with benefits
  • Someone readily available for you
  • Someone that takes advantage of your vulnerability – even though you’d be kinda using them as well

Whatever the case, you’d choose low-hanging fruit – someone who’d hardly say “no” to you.

2. Passion Stage

Some call it the honeymoon stage, others, the excitement stage but whatever you call it, this stage is all sparks and roses. It’s a stage packed with passion and fun as if the unexplored dark emotions of the past will never come creeping.

After all, this rarely is genuine love. It’s simply a cover-up of emotional baggage from the loss of the previous relationship. 

While most real honeymoons are packed with a deep emotional connection, all there is to a rebound honeymoon is excitement. 

This stage is known for mimicking normal honeymoons though  – Passionate public displays of affection, new partner excitement, adorable in-love posts on social media… you name it! But sadly, all these are unconscious coverups of the true emptiness of the rebound relationship.

You ignore flaws to avoid souring the mood. You move the relationship quickly to avoid thinking about things rationally. Some make big decisions like moving in together, getting to know each other’s family, and even moving towns to spend more time with each other.

But honeymoons, even real honeymoons eventually end. And that’s where the trouble begins.

3. A Hit Of Reality

In this stage, passion and excitement have worn off a bit as life settles to normal. After all, you can’t keep up beginner excitement once you’ve known many basics about your new partner.

Here you can no longer be blind to your partner’s flaws since they reveal more clearly as you get more acquainted. They see your imperfections more too.

That’s when reality smacks you in the head. Maybe it’s not such a perfect relationship after all.

4. Constant Conflict

Since you have emotional baggage from the previous relationship that you failed to deal with, the rebound relationship with this new person becomes tough to deal with as well.

You carry on with the communication immaturity you had since you never really healed and yet there is no quick fix to deep behavioral errors. So you start finding it hard to communicate without you fighting.

If you knew better, you’d take some time to think and heal from the previous relationship before getting back with this new partner – that is if you find the relationship worth fighting for after reflection.

5. Comparison Stage

If you go on with the rebound, you’re bound to move onto this stage once habitual conflicts break out. You start comparing this new partner to your ex.

Comparison Stage
Photo by Leonardo Santos

You might sometimes even voice out your comparisons out of frustration only to escalate the conflicts even further. After all, no one likes being compared to someone else let alone an ex.

6. Regret

I wish I knew how to enforce my boundaries, I wouldn’t have blamed my partner that much. I wish I didn’t rush to get to a new relationship. I wish I communicated what I needed more clearly, we wouldn’t have broken up.

This rebound relationship stage is packed with regrets after you realize that no relationship is sunshine and rainbows. And that you didn’t have to rebound to make things right.

But regrets don’t solve anything. They’re merely a sign of your mistakes. Fortunately, you can fix some and move on from others.

7. A Time Of Searching

All the above stages would push you to search for solutions. Even if you’ve been running from your problems, the realization that relationships are what you make of them can help you reach the self-introspection you need.

This stage is filled with questions. You’d probably be spending less time with your new partner which helps you think things through more clearly.

You’d be able to analyze your previous relationships and discover the direction you’re willing to take whether you’ll choose to get your ex back or pursue a healthy long-term relationship with this new person.

You can check out this Relationship Test – Proven by Tony Robbins to find out where your new relationship is likely going.

8. Last Choice

In most rebound relationships, both partners would have second thoughts about the relationship by now. Although you may want to hold onto the new relationship, you’d be uncertain about many things by then.

Last Choice
Photo by cottonbro

Stay or leave? The questions mainly lie in the two spectrums. 

You might choose to:

  • Stay and work things out
  • Take a break so you both can check whether you’d like to get back together
  • Break up

Some leave and repeat the stages of a rebound with another new person while others get back with their ex. Some also take a break from romantic relationships until they heal from the past relationship. The latter decision is the wisest of all.

After all, you cannot build a successful relationship without proper healing from an old relationship.

Related: Push-Pull Relationship – How To Break The Cycle

How Long Does The Rebound Phase Last?

The rebound relationship timeline is different among people but most typical rebound relationships last somewhere between one month and a year, an average of five months. They could take longer depending on the people involved but once the honeymoon phase is over, things often start going downhill.

What Usually Happens In A Rebound Relationship?

What usually happens in rebound relationships is infatuation and excitement at first but that quickly changes to conflict as reality starts settling in. It’s usually a reaction to the old relationship where one or both partners are involved in unresolved issues.

Let’s recap what usually happens in an average rebound relationship:

  1. The pick-up phase goes first when someone seeks a new rebound partner in an attempt to continue experiencing all the feelings from the old relationship.
  2. The passion phase usually comes second when two people experience surges of attraction and passion hence it’s the most romantic.
  3. But reality kicks in soon enough and the new relationship starts revealing cracks, taking the rebound relationship to a new level known as the conflicts stage.
  4. The conflict phase takes on the disagreements around the imperfections of the individuals involved and since one or both partners have unresolved old relationships, no quick fix can make things work.
  5. Comparison starts kicking in whenever one views the present difficulties in light of their previous relationship and this takes a toll on the existing emotional bond further.
  6. The new rebound relationship becomes so tough that one is filled with regret over their past relationship.
  7. After much disappointment, one starts spending time alone to contemplate the state of the current relationship plus life in general which prepares for the next phase and last stage.
  8. This is the final stage where one has to choose whether they’ll stay and deal with the same problems they encountered before, leave and go through self-healing, or leave and get back with their ex.

How Soon After A Relationship Is A Rebound? What Is A Rebound Relationship?

A relationship is a rebound mostly when time lapsed after a big breakup is somewhere between a month and a year. However, there’s no right answer in terms of time out there. A relationship is a rebound if you don’t take time to heal yet jump onto a new relationship after a breakup. It’s more about intentions, not time.

A relationship is a rebound if:

  • You’re trying to get over an ex by getting into a relationship with someone
  • You’re avoiding dealing with issues from your old relationship by getting a new one

How Long Will My Ex’s Rebound Relationship Last? Rebound Relationship Length

While a typical rebound relationship lasts up to one year, there’s no exact prediction of how long one can last in a rebound relationship. It depends on the rebounder but generally, few people take rebound relationships to the long term.

Signs Rebound Relationship Ending

If a rebound relationship features these signs, it’s probably ending:

  • You no longer feel like spending time with your partner
  • You’re avoiding your new partner
  • One or both partners still feel attracted to their ex
  • The physical attraction is also waning
  • The partners have different time expectations for the rebound relationship
  • Someone is using the other to get over their ex

Warning Signs A Rebound Relationship

Here are warning signs you’re someone’s rebound:

  • You can see most rebound stages unfolding in your relationship
  • Things are on a superficial level between you
  • They broke up with another not long ago
  • You sense you’re being used
  • They talk of their ex all the time
  • They seem emotionally unavailable from the start

Rebound Relationship Success Rate

If we’re talking about the rebound relationship time frame when evaluating their success, most rebound relationships fail within the first three to five months. But whether or not they succeed in helping people get over an old flame, recent rebound relationship psychology research says they do help people get over their ex-partners and also gain self-confidence in their dateability.

However, for most people, rebound relationships are toxic especially when you’re doing it:

  • Without the other person knowing your intentions for dating them – you’ll be using someone else’s feelings for your selfish gain
  • To make the ex jealous or to get revenge
  • To escape dealing with problems you had in your old relationship

Not all rebound relationships are toxic of course if both partners are aware of their mutual intentions and are ready to proceed with the relationship from the pre rebound stage.

I Realized I Was A Rebound – What To Do

What if you can see all the warning signs you’re in a rebound relationship? Here’s what to do:

  • Ask if your suspicions are true
  • Establish what the relationship meant to you
  • Forgive the other person for using you without being honest with you
  • Learn acceptance and letting go
  • Take time to nurse your emotional wounds
  • Choose if you desire to pursue a healthy relationship with them or want to leave
  • Reassure yourself of your worth and work on your mental health

Closing Reflection

While many people think rebounds are all fun, knowing all rebound relationship stages helps one have a clearer picture of what it’s all about.

After all, the truth remains that it’s best to deal with emotional baggage before getting into a new relationship. This is a solution one can turn to no matter what rebound stage they’re in.

So whether you’re the rebounder or have an ex pursuing a rebound relationship, or simply wish to learn whether a rebound is a way to go, I’m positive you got most if not all of your answers.

So hey, if you liked this article, keep sharing it with your friends to help us better lives.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.