5 Rebound Relationship Stages and What They Mean

rebound relationship stages

Most people think rebound relationships don’t last too long and often don’t mean much. This assumption is somewhat true, as most rebounds don’t exceed the six-month mark. However, as short as they are, these relationships still have recognizable stages that every couple goes through.

Read on to find out more about all the rebound relationship stages, including what they mean and how long they last.

What Is a Rebound Relationship?


Before diving into all the stages of rebound relationships, it is necessary to define these relationships in the first place.

Put simply; people enter a rebound relationship with a new person right after or soon after a breakup with their ex. In most cases, the person entering this relationship still has lingering and unresolved feelings for their ex. Moreover, this relationship is usually a short bridge toward moving on and becoming ready for commitment once again.

There are different reasons people cite for jumping into rebounds. Some do it to suppress their pain due to a breakup, while others simply cannot stand the feeling of loneliness and need to be with someone.

Then, there are those who start new relationships as a form of revenge against their ex. This new relationship helps them show their ex how well they are doing after the breakup and that they are, ultimately, better off without them.

How Long Do Rebounds Last?


As already mentioned, most rebound relationships usually don’t last more than a few months. People typically end them when they realize they are not actually compatible with that person or when the pain from the breakup finally lessens. At that point, they know that continuing the rebound is pointless and could only hurt in the long run.

Of course, not all rebounds end immediately. In a small number of cases, this relationship might become serious and go on for months and even years. However, that is not so common.

No matter how long they last, most rebound relationships are worth it. After all, they help you gain valuable experience that can help make your subsequent romantic connections more meaningful.

The Stages of Rebound Relationships

The vast majority of rebound relationships have similar trajectories, regardless of their duration. They are usually broken into stages, and each of them has its own meaning.

1. The Pre-Rebound Stage


As its name suggests, this particular stage begins before you actually enter the relationship. It starts as soon as your last relationship ends, and you are suddenly free after months or years of commitment.

Though it may not seem so after the first week or two, having so much freedom is often difficult. You find yourself with a lot of free time, conflicted emotions, and no way to cope with either. Thus, you start seeking another relationship as soon as possible, as that seems like the only thing that would help you feel less alone and needy.

Again, different people enter into rebound relationships due to various reasons. So, while some might do it because of loneliness, others just might want to have fun or get revenge on their ex.

In addition, one’s reaction to the breakup depends on whether they ended the relationship or not. For example, the dumpee will often have a harder time coping with being alone and will grieve for a longer time. So naturally, they might not feel ready to enter a new relationship right away.

On the other hand, dumpers often feel relieved that the relationship is over, which allows them to move on more easily. Therefore, they might start a rebound sooner, as they are more ready for it.

Of course, these are just generalizations. Every relationship is different, and sometimes it is difficult to determine which party ended things. Moreover, there are instances where both people hurt equally, but they still start a new relationship to try and end the suffering as soon as possible.

Either way, this stage begins with the breakup and ends when a person initiates a new, rebound relationship.

2. The Honeymoon Stage


The second stage of a rebound is called the honeymoon stage. It covers the very beginning of a new relationship and is quite exhilarating and euphoric. In addition, it’s marked by infatuation.

During the honeymoon stage, you simply can’t get enough of your new partner. They fill your every thought, and you crave their presence immensely. In fact, it’s like kissing them, cuddling, and being intimate with them are the only things you can think of, no matter where you are.

Furthermore, it can also be said that this stage is marked by the parties wearing rose-colored glasses all the time. Thus, you aren’t able to see the other person’s flaws or perceive their whole personality. Instead, you only see their good qualities, and you are infatuated with them.

These emotions can often become quite overwhelming. You suddenly feel so much all at once, and the fact that sadness and loneliness are no longer prevalent makes you cling to the new feelings tightly. That can, in turn, lead to obsession and other toxic behaviors, which are not a good base for a healthy relationship.

Naturally, nothing so intense can last forever. With time, you’ll slowly start seeing your new partner for who they really are. The absence of the rose-colored glasses will slowly lead to arguments and tension, leading you directly into the third stage.

3. The Reality Sinks In Stage


This stage is, perhaps, the most essential in the entire rebound relationship. As it slowly begins, reality starts sinking in.

You suddenly realize that the relationship isn’t as perfect as you have convinced yourself at first. In addition, you come to the conclusion that you and your partner may not be as compatible as you once thought.

The main marker of this stage is seeing your partner’s flaws. After all, no one is truly perfect, and every person is bound to do something that irks you at least a little bit. During this stage, you begin to wonder whether these flaws are truly something you could live with in the long run.

Naturally, these thoughts usually lead to conflicts. You point out to your partner what bothers you, and they do the same for you, and all hell breaks loose. Most people see such arguments as personal attacks and get defensive, which leaves little space for meaningful dialogue and finding a solution.

The arguments usually end in one of two ways: acceptance or amplification. Acceptance means that you and your partner hear each other out, accept your opinions, and try to move on. However, the conflicts usually just keep recurring, as you cannot change who you are so quickly and drastically.

On the other hand, amplification only escalates matters further. Instead of finding a compromise, partners keep arguing and only find more things to be upset about regarding the relationship.

In most cases, both paths lead to the fourth stage.

4. The Comparison and Nostalgia Stage


The fourth stage starts when you begin comparing your new partner to your ex. This comparison can go in two directions, usually depending on how your last relationship ended.

Firstly, you might start realizing that your ex and new partner have the same flaws. They might act the same during arguments, behave the same toward you in general, or react similarly to something you say or do. However, it might be much simpler, and you might just notice that they look similar or have the same antics.

Conversely, you may become nostalgic and positively reminisce about your ex. In such cases, you will probably remember how well your ex treated you compared to your new partner, how much safer you felt, etc.

Either way, such intrusive thoughts will slowly start mixing with the growing resentment you already feel for your new partner. It goes without saying that these thoughts are a bad sign. In most cases, they lead to contemplating whether you should end the relationship and either get your ex back or move on to something new.

5. The Epiphany Stage


Finally, stage four leads into the last phase that most rebounds end with: the epiphany stage. At this point, there are two ways the relationship could go.

The first and the most common one is a breakup. You simply realize that you are in the relationship for the wrong reasons and that ending it is the healthy thing to do. Thus, you talk to your partner and end things, amicably or not.

However, there are instances where you are willing to work on the relationship. You might conclude that you actually care deeply about your partner and that you can see a future with them. As long as you are both willing to put in the work and try to make the relationship non-toxic, you might build something meaningful and lasting.

Facts to Remember About Rebound Relationships


It is important to emphasize that these stages are never linear. Namely, you won’t just go through them with clear-cut distinctions. In fact, you may not even notice that a phase has ended and another one has begun for weeks or even months.

Lastly, it is impossible to put a definitive duration mark on any of the rebound stages. Some of them might last for only a week, while others can go on for months. Thus, it is preferable not to generalize too much.

In the end, it is best to simply pay attention to your partner and your connection and try to relax. That way, you’ll be able to give the relationship a chance and see where it leads you.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.