Why Rebound Relationships Fail? (18 Reasons)

There’s nothing like the feeling of being newly single.

The world is your oyster, and you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But at some point, most people feel lonely and look for someone to fill that void.

And that’s how rebound relationships are formed. You meet someone, feel attracted to them, and start dating without really thinking about the consequences.

But rebound relationships almost always fail. Here’s why.

They Carry Unresolved Feelings

Rebound relationships are often a safe haven to cover up unresolved feelings and carry them inconspicuously. This effort to sweep unprocessed emotions under the relationship rug often leads to an emotional imbalance. Just imagine you’re recycling the old kitchen trash to bake a brand new cake—you can imagine how unpleasant that would be!

When feelings from a previous relationship remain unresolved:

  • They can impede the development of emotional connection with the new partner.
  • You tend to project those feelings onto the new partner, causing undesired friction.
  • They can prevent you from deriving a healthy, satisfactory experience from the new relationship.

On a side note, it’s not wrong to feel hurt or bear the emotional weight after a breakup, but remember, a new relationship isn’t a therapy session. It requires a clear dynamic slate for both parties to build something meaningful.

They’re Often Based On Impulsive Decisions

How many times have we made that late-night online purchase and regretted it the very next morning? Majority of these “impulse buys” end up being a letdown, don’t they? Most rebounds have a similar story to tell. There’s a sudden gap that you want to fill, making you prone to impulsive choices.

A quick comparison table indicates the outcomes between impulsive and thoughtful decisions:

Impulsive RelationshipThoughtful Relationship
Attractiveness and simple consolationEmotional and intellectual compatibility
Short-term distractionLong-term potential
Temporary escape from painSustainable joy and peace

Rushing into a relationship to avoid pain can be akin to putting a band-aid over a wound that actually needs stitches. The comfort is temporary, while the real problem persists underneath.

They Lack Mutual Understanding and Commitment

Mutual understanding and commitment are the two wheels of a relationship bicycle. With either wheel missing, it’s easy to lose balance and fall. In rebound relationships, participants often overlook careful understanding and commitment to move on quickly.

Lack of Mutual UnderstandingLack of Mutual Commitment
Miscommunication, leading to constant disagreementsUncertainty and lack of trust in the relationship
Disinterest in each other’s proceedingsReduced effort to solve relationship issues
Misalignment of shared goals and life plansDisinterest in each other’s proceedings

While rebound relationships might seem a shortcut to happiness, skipping critical steps like understanding and commitment only creates roadblocks.

It’s like signing up for a marathon without proper training. Sure, it feels exhilarating at the start, but the lack of preparation can quickly lead to a lack of enthusiasm and possibly even failure.

They Shorten Time for Personal Healing and Growth

Heartbreak is like a wound; like any wound, it needs time to heal. Imagine this: You trip and bruise your knee. No matter how much you wish for it, that bruise doesn’t disappear overnight. It goes through a process—it hurts, scabs, and then heals. Heartbreak works similarly. Both physically and emotionally, time is the best healer.

In a rebound relationship, the time needed for personal healing and growth is often overlooked. It’s like wanting to run with that bruised knee without allowing it to heal. It might seem possible for a while, but in due course, that bruise could change into chronic pain.

Personal growth involves two key elements:

  1. Understanding and processing your emotions.
  2. Recognizing and acknowledging your weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

Without allowing yourself time for these, you could face the following issues:

  • Carrying forward the same problematic behavioral patterns.
  • Feeling trapped in an emotional limbo.
  • Running on an emotional deficit, leaving you and your partner unsatisfied in the relationship.

They May Lead to Continuous Comparison with Exes

Ever tried to watch a movie while constantly comparing it to its prequel? Rather overwhelming, isn’t it? It prevents you from enjoying the present flick and keeps drawing you back to the previous one. Comparing your current partner to your ex can be a very similar experience.

Unfortunately, rebound relationships often lead to continuous comparisons with ex-partners. Since there hasn’t been adequate time or emotional distance from the past, it’s like having a ghost in the room that just keeps coming between you and your current partner.

Effects of such continuous comparisons include:

  • Preventing you from fully investing in the new relationship.
  • Frequently triggering memories of past relationships.
  • Creating unfair expectations and disappointments.
  • Leading to issues such as envy, resentment, and dissatisfaction.

Whether it’s the way they dress or the jokes they crack, constant comparison of your current partner with your ex can cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing them for who they really are.

They Deter Critical and Necessary Changes

Have you ever wondered why history tends to repeat itself? It’s simply because we often fail to learn from our past. Rebound relationships frequently discourage constructive self-reflection and necessary change, akin to trying to drive a car with a fogged-up windshield.

The lack of self-reflection can mainly lead to:

  • Repetition of mistakes: Without pondering over past relationship errors, there’s a high probability that you could tread on the same problematic paths.
  • Neglected personal growth: In the absence of reflection, you could miss out on determining key areas that need improvement.

The necessity of change often goes unaddressed in rebounds:

  • Same old habits: It could be the same argumentative tendencies or non-compromising habits, but without change, the same old habits tend to follow.
  • Stagnant life progress: Change is often a result of learning and adapting. Without it, your personal and relationship-oriented growth could remain stagnant.

They Often Encompass Unrealistic Expectations

When we find ourselves in the middle of the ocean, sometimes on a tiny raft, we understandably dream of the shore—an island paradise with every comfort known to man. But when we finally get there and discover it’s actually a barren, deserted place, the disappointment can be profound.

The same applies to those who jump straight into a rebound relationship, hoping it will magically erase their heartbreak. These relationships often carry the weight of unrealistic expectations:

  • Wishing for immediate happiness: True joy, in any form, takes time to cultivate and cannot be rushed.
  • Expecting the relationship to fix emotional pain: Using the relationship as a crutch to fix past emotional trauma can lead to a heap of disappointments.
  • Hoping for a perfect relationship: Comparing the new relationship with an idealized version of the old one or expecting it to be perfect off the bat is impractical.

Reality often offers a wake-up call, and that’s when the rebounding person is left with both the disappointment of unmet expectations and the unresolved pain of a past relationship.

They’re Sometimes A Means to Escape Loneliness

“Just to avoid being lonely”—countless songs have been written around this theme, and countless romantic comedies have used it for their plotlines. But in real life, entering a relationship just to escape loneliness can be a touch more complicated than it sounds in lyrics or looks in movies.

Rebound relationships can sometimes be a quick fix to avoid the feeling of loneliness that follows a breakup. But here’s the thing—being alone and being lonely are two different experiences.

Stepping into a relationship for the wrong reasons, such as this, can lead to overlooking possible red flags and settling for less, ignoring the need for personal healing and growth, or forming an unfitting emotional crutch that may become hard to let go of.

They Carry Heavy Baggage of Past Relationships

We all come with baggage—some of us just have a little handbag, some have a carry-on, and then some of us have moved and didn’t leave anything behind. And it is trying to haul that baggage into the new relationship that ends up exhausting us.

Dragging the heavy baggage of past relationships into a new one, especially a rebound, more often than not leads to a rough journey. This baggage could include unresolved issues, leftover feelings, or habits from the previous relationship.

Bringing in past relationship baggage can:

  • Cloud judgment, making it difficult to evaluate your emotions and the quality of the new relationship.
  • Trigger past pains and issues in the new relationship context.
  • Wear you down, leaving less energy for building strong foundations with your new partner.

While it may seem convenient at first, hauling this previous relationship baggage around gets heavy, affecting the people in future relationships and prolonging the process of completely letting go of the past. Carry-on baggage is fine, but relationship freight is better left in the past.

They Act as Heartbreak Defense Mechanisms

Heartbreak is like a burn. It hurts when it happens, and the healing process can be a long one. But have you noticed how cautious we become around hot objects after a burn? We quickly pull our hand away without a second thought and tag it as an automatic defense mechanism to avoid another injury.

In the same way, rebound relationships often serve as a defense mechanism against the heartbreak endured. We enroll ourselves in a new partnership to shield ourselves from suffering the agony of healing from heartbreak.

This defensive approach, as natural and human as it may seem, can often turn into:

  • A relationship based on fear, insecurity, and avoidance of pain rather than authentic feelings.
  • A tendency to brush the real problems under the carpet, avoiding working through them healthily.
  • Physical or emotional walls being built around yourself in the rebound relationship, making it hard for your new partner to connect with you on a deeper level.

Just as the burn heals and the reflex calms down over time, heartache heals as well. And with that healing, the need for a defense mechanism and a rebound relationship subsides too.

They Result in Unmet Emotional Needs and Desires

Imagine you’re hungry, but all you have are some stale cookies. Eating them might temporarily curb the hunger, but soon enough, you’re hungry again since you didn’t have a wholesome meal.

Much like stale cookies, rebound relationships might temporarily satisfy emotional needs, but in the long run, they often leave you starving for emotional fulfillment.

Relationships should not be about merely passing time or filling a void. They should be about satisfying emotional needs and desires, fostering a sense of security, and contributing towards personal growth.

They Often Unhealthily Lower Self-Esteem

When you plant a seed, you need to nurture it with water, sunlight, and fertile soil. Devoid of these, the seed’s growth is hampered, and it eventually withers. Similarly, a relationship without self-love and respect is like that seed, lacking the nourishing elements to thrive.

Rebound relationships often have a tendency to lower self-esteem. They create an illusion that moving on fast equates to being ‘desired’ or ‘worthwhile’. But, over time, this could normalize the practice of seeking validation from external sources.

Before the ReboundSelf-esteem takes a hit due to the past relationship ending.
During the ReboundTemporary boost in self-esteem due to the distraction.
After the ReboundPotential crash in self-esteem when reality checks in.

But remember, your self-worth shouldn’t be intertwined with being wanted by someone. You are enough—and a relationship should only enhance that notion, not define it.

They Tend to Involve Constant Worry and Insecurity

In a rebound relationship, the worry is always there—ticking away like a time bomb. Am I in this relationship for the right reasons? Is this what I genuinely want? Will this end as my previous relationship did? It’s like trying to enjoy a beach vacation but constantly worrying about sharks.

What if your partner finds out that they were just a rebound? What if your ex wants to get back together?

Such constant worries and insecurities can cause a tremendous amount of stress making it difficult to maintain or enjoy the relationship. A relationship should be an environment of peace and comfort, not a breeding ground for worries and insecurities.

They Only Usually Bring About Temporary Relief

A rebound relationship can sometimes be the numbing cream for a fresh wound. It offers temporary relief by diverting the mind and making you feel wanted. However, what one might forget is that it’s just that—temporary relief.

Eventually, as this rebound relationship starts to lose its novelty, the numbing effect fades, and the wound starts to hurt again, often worse than before. The pain that was initially about one person or one relationship now extends to two. One must remember, healing requires dealing with the wound, not just numbing it.

They Lack the Necessary Bonding Time and Patience

Building a strong relationship is quite like building a skyscraper; it requires a firm foundation and plenty of time. The bricks cemented in haste are likely to crumble under stress. The problem with rebound relationships is that they often lack the necessary bonding time and patience.

The essential elements missed due to lack of bonding time include:

  • Deep understanding of each other’s personality.
  • Mutual trust and emotional dependence.
  • Shared experiences which form a strong bond.
  • Mutual support during tough times.

Patience, the other pillar of a sturdy relationship, is key. Without it, you’d be putting too much stress on the new relationship to progress quickly, often leading to:

  • Unrealistic expectations from your partner.
  • Straining the relationship and possibly leading to its premature end.
  • Missing out on the little joys that come with gradual bonding.

They Lead to Settling for Less

Breakups can often shake our self-esteem, leading us to question our worthiness. In this scenario, a rebound relationship seems like a perfect opportunity to prove to ourselves (and maybe others) that we are indeed desirable. The rush to move on might cloud our judgment, leading to settling for less than what we actually deserve.

In such cases, we might bypass red flags, overlook compatibility issues and settle for a relationship that doesn’t fulfill our needs or expectations. This spurs a cycle of dissatisfaction and conflict which ultimately might lead to another painful breakup.

Worthiness isn’t just being desirable to someone, but also means being treated with respect, love, and care that we deserve.

They May Push People Into Unwanted Commitments

Let’s face it, rebounds happen in a rush. The adrenaline pumps, hearts race, everything seems rather fascinating at first. However, as the dust settles, one might end up in a committed relationship that they aren’t quite ready for.

The idea of being in a relationship might be appealing, but the reality of the commitment it requires could be overwhelming.

Feelings of unease start creeping in when the realization hits that this rushed commitment might not be what they genuinely want or need at the moment. The commitment might feel like a heavy chain rather than a bond of love and respect.

They Can Lead to Emotional Dependency

Imagine two potted plants leaning against each other for support. Now remove one, and the other is bound to fall. This is what an emotionally dependent relationship looks like, and it’s quite common in rebounds. You lean so much on the other person for emotional support that should they leave, you’re left tumbling.

In fact, it’s perfectly normal to rely on your partner for emotional support, but it’s important to be able to stand alone as well. In a rebound relationship, emotional dependency can lead to:

  • An imbalance of power in the relationship.
  • An excessive need for approval or validation.
  • Difficulty to function independently, emotionally, and/or socially.

A relationship should be like two pillars holding up a structure—even if one is removed, the other should be able to stand tall and firm.

Final Thoughts

It’s natural to seek comfort and solace when we’re hurt, and rebound relationships might seem like the perfect solution. After all, they provide an immediate distraction, a sense of feeling wanted, and a way to move forward.

However, as we’ve seen, these relationships often prove to be quicksand, appearing solid at first but gradually pulling us down deeper.

At the end of the day, each person is unique, and every relationship is different. Some rebounds might serve as the learning phase you need, but most end in further heartbreak due to the reasons detailed above.

So, before you rush into the next available pair of arms, take a step back. Breathe. Understand your desires and your feelings. Most importantly, allow yourself the time to heal.

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant. When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.