Skip to Content

5 Obvious Signs Your Ex is in a Rebound Relationship

Nearly everyone I know has had a rebound relationship at some point in their lives. Breaking up is hard, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the one breaking hearts or the heart being broken.

Big feelings happen, and sometimes, it seems like a distraction in the form of a person can ease the pain.

It’s the “get under to get over” style of moving on, and while it can do a lot of damage, it can sometimes seem like the only way to break the attachment to the last partner and feel the hope that you’ll love again.

Rebounding happens when you don’t give yourself time to grieve the old relationship before you start a new one.

You’re probably not as emotionally available as you think, and it’s even possible that you aren’t actually ready for a new relationship.

Wanting to be ready is not the same as actually being ready, and understanding the difference takes a level of self-awareness that not everyone possesses.

5 Signs Your Ex is in a Rebound Relationship, According to a Former Therapist

After a breakup, you might look for signs that your ex’s new partner is just the rebound relationship — particularly if you aren’t over them and didn’t want the relationship to end.

It might seem reassuring to know that it’s just a rebound even though it’s really not your business. Here are five signs that the next relationship is just the rebound from you.

Why listen to me? I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement and psychology. My work has been featured on publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, Mamamia, and The Good Men Project.

1. They Immediately Begin Dating Someone After Your Breakup

If your ex immediately starts dating someone else after your breakup, you can go ahead and file this in the Rebound Relationship category.

He or she hasn’t given himself time to grieve or process the change. They just moved on to someone new.

It’s possible that they’re codependent and incapable of being alone, or they may be using the new person to soften the emotional experience of losing you. 

Honestly, you can’t know the why. It’s also not your business.

But what you can do is make sure you avoid making someone else your rebound because you don’t want to feel your feelings and accept the end of a relationship you wanted.

Even if you wanted out of the relationship and know that person isn’t for you, it can still sting when they quickly move on.

It might hurt your feelings and fill you with a sense of rejection, but the reality is that they were likely going to move on at some point.

The timing says nothing about you or the relationship you had with them. Trying to draw conclusions based on new relationship won’t help you grieve or let go. 

2. Their New Relationship Gets Serious Fast

One of the clearest signs that your ex is in a rebound relationship is when it gets serious fast. It’s the person who breaks up with you one day and is engaged the next.

You might suspect infidelity, but the truth is that some people will rush the next relationship because of their feelings about the last one. 

Moving from one serious relationship to another might be the marker of a serial monogamist, but it’s also likely that this person is using rebound relationships to get over past ones.

Again, issues like codependency can lie beneath the surface. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of timing, but if this person has the habit of forming close relationships quickly, it can also be an indicator of a rebound. 

3. Their Social Media is Taken Over by Relationship Photos

You might also notice that their social media has an influx of relationship photos with the new partner. This can be a sign that they’re in a rebound relationship when they seem to be flaunting the relationship.

It’s completely normal to be excited about a new partner and want to share photos, but a social media selfie takeover with the latest romantic partner could be an indicator that they’re more concerned with looking as if they are moved on than actually moving on.

Of course, if this is just this person’s habit, you can’t draw any conclusions from seeing tons of pictures of their new partner when they did the same with you.

This might be their way of bragging about their partner and letting the world know their feelings, but if it’s unusual for them to post pictures and suddenly your timeline is full of them, you might suspect a rebound partner is in play.

couple taking a selfie in Rome, Giardino degli Aranci
Foto de Gabriella Clare Marino en Unsplash

4. They Try to Make You Jealous of Their New Partner

One of the most obvious signs your ex is in a rebound relationship is they try to make you jealous of their new partner.

Mentioning the relationship and even going as far as bragging about it could be a way of trying to make you jealous.

If you broke up with them, they might want you to feel badly about it and see how well they’ve moved on.

If they broke up with you, they might want to see if they can still make you jealous while showing you just how well they’re doing now.

Jealousy is normal, but it’s not healthy. It’s especially not healthy to try to make another person jealous with a new relationship.

If your ex keeps pointing out how great their new partner is and contrasting it with your shortcomings, you might come to the conclusion that they’re in a rebound relationship that they want you to think is the real deal.

5. They’re Still Angry with You

An ex being angry doesn’t have to mean that their next relationship is a rebound relationship. But it can mean that.

Someone who is still angry and bitter about you hasn’t processed their feelings and truly moved on. The bitterness is a sign that they are simply rebounding into a new relationship without the benefit of healing from the old one. 

If you wronged them, expect them to feel angry. If you rejected them, they might also have some bitterness about that.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with your ex feeling anger. It could be a natural part of the grieving process.

But if they’re still angry toward you while enjoying a brand new relationship, you might suspect that the new person is just a rebound to manage their feelings about you.

Photo by Devon Divine on Unsplash

What You Might Not Know About Rebound Relationships

You might assume that a rebound relationship is not going to work out. But according to research, that’s not necessarily true.

For some people, the rebound relationship helps them work through their feelings and move on.

If they weren’t getting their needs met in the last relationship, the new relationship that successfully meets their needs could actually be considered the stronger and better relationship.

Just because it’s a rebound doesn’t mean it’s not as valid or as real of a relationship.

Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of timing. They might have been wrong for you and then happen to meet their right person while grieving the relationship.

It might make you feel rejected and even betrayed, but sometimes, the rebound relationship is just the right person at the right time, even if it doesn’t seem like the right time on the outside looking in. 

How to Move on While Your Ex Rebounds

The fact that you’re still tracking your ex’s movements could be an indicator that it’s you who hasn’t moved on.

If you’re overly invested in what they’re doing now and who they’re doing it with, you might benefit from some introspection. Are you doing what you should to move on?

If you want to move on and stop fixating on your ex’s every move, it’s important to grieve the relationship that’s gone. It hurts.

Sometimes, it even hurts when you’re the one who has to end it. Have you faced your feelings? Or have you been burying them in hopes they’ll go away if you ignore them long enough?

If you’re angry at your ex for moving on, there are likely a lot of feelings underneath that feeling. Rejection comes to mind.

You might even feel betrayed that they are better partners for the new person than they ever were for you.

It can be painful to see them improve for someone new in all the ways they would not do for you. You can stay angry with them.

You’re absolutely entitled to do that. But who does it serve? How does it help you? 

Maybe dating again could help

You might want to consider dating yourself. Let me clarify. You might want to consider dating your own self. And you might want to seriously consider dating other people; you can do both.

You can start exploring time alone and what feels good to you. And you can also put yourself back out in dating with the hopes that your right person might come along if you’re open to it happening.

You need that individual componenet to figure out more about who you are and what you want. But you’ll need that partnered component to become a better partner in relationships.

We’re all better partners in theory. But to practice being a better partner, it helps to be in a relationship.

Exes move on. To the love of their life or to a rebound. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you feel about it and what you plan to do.

You can do nothing. You can sit in your resentment and watch to see what they’ll do next. Or … you can start tuning into your own life and healing your heart. 

Their rebound relationship doesn’t mean they never had feelings for you. It doesn’t mean they’re not hurt anymore and have forgotten about you. It just means they’re connected with someone new.

It’s hopeful. Maybe one day, you’ll feel hopeful, too. 

Recommended reads:

Photo by Devon Divine on Unsplash

The Truly Charming