Rebound (dating)

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A rebound is an undefined period following the breakup of a romantic and/or sexual relationship.


The term's use dates back to at least the 1830s, when Mary Russell Mitford wrote of "nothing so easy as catching a heart on the rebound".[1]

Rebound relationship[edit]

The concept of a 'rebound' relationship is rooted in the idea of entering into a new romantic relationship before fully recovering from a previous breakup. This pattern can be common in those who are still healing from the emotional wounds of a past relationship and may be using the new relationship as a way to distract from the pain or fill an emotional void.[2] The term may also refer to the partner in such a relationship. When a serious relationship ends badly, these partners suffer from complex emotional stresses of detachment. This, in combination with the need to move forward, leads previous partners to have uncommitted relations called rebounds. Common confusion exists around the extended duration of rebound periods; simply put, one's critical core values and love are often still gravitated and polarized toward a particular person (i.e. one's previous partner) thereby preventing the overall development and accurate assessment of feelings for others during this period of time (the rebound) because true love requires complete mental-emotional commitment.


Someone who is 'on the rebound', or recently out of a serious dating relationship, is popularly believed to be psychologically incapable of making reasonable decisions regarding suitable partners due to emotional neediness,[3] lingering feelings toward the old partner, or unresolved problems from the previous relationship. Rebound relationships are believed to be short-lived due to one partner's emotional instability and desire to distract themselves from a painful breakup. Those emerging from serious relationships are often advised to avoid serious dating until their tumultuous emotions have calmed.[4]


  1. ^ Rebound, n. (and adj.). Oxford English Dictionary. Third edition, July 2010; online version November 2010. Accessed 7 January 2011.
  2. ^ Thompson, Kevin (12 July 2019). "Rebound Relationships – Signs, Common Patterns and What To Do if Your Ex is in One". Ex Back Permanently. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  3. ^ Stewart, Lyra. "What is Emotional Neediness?". Alyssa Murray. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  4. ^ Shimek, Cassie; Bello, Richard (27 January 2014). "Coping with Break-Ups: Rebound Relationships and Gender Socialization". Social Sciences. 3 (1): 24–43. doi:10.3390/socsci3010024.Barber, Lindsay L.; Cooper, M. Lynne (20 December 2013). "Rebound Sex: Sexual Motives and Behaviors Following a Relationship Breakup". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 43 (2): 251–265. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0200-3. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 24356947.