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Understanding the 5 Rebound Relationships Stages

Rebound relationships are hard to define. Oftentimes, the time period between breaking up and starting a new relationship becomes the basis of whether the new relationship is a “rebound relationship” or otherwise. The current generation might generally agree with the “3-month rule.” That is, both parties should not date other people within 3 months from the time of the breakup. These days, the rules seem to become even more blurry. You might find individuals hooking up with a new person the next day—or even the night of. It’s fairly a case by case situation. Nonetheless, being in a rebound relationship is pretty obvious for everyone concerned. Once a guy/ girl gets into a new relationship as fast as possible, it usually doesn’t end well.

Here are 5 rebound relationship stages that people generally go through:

Stage # 1 Breaking Up


Naturally, for any rebound relationship to take place, there needs to be a breakup first. For whatever reason, two people who used to love being around one another now have to part ways. It’s a painful, confusing stage. There are lots of questions in the minds of both parties. Questions like, Why can’t it work anymore? And, Is this the right decision? And the no. 1 classic, It’s not you, it’s me. All valid questions and all particularly difficult to answer cohesively or think about logically. This breaking up stage is wrought with emotions and a heavy feeling of loss depending on how deep the bonding was. But, especially if the relationship had been a good one, unfortunately, the next stage only gets even worse.

Stage # 2 Grieving

Among all the rebound relationship stages, this one is probably the most painful. Sometimes, some people like to numb themselves with alcohol, work, or friends. But grieving is likely inevitable at some point. And rightly so, because grieving gives space and time to heal. The length of this stage depends on a person’s resilience and support system. In some cases, however, heartbroken people feel in a rush to jump into another relationship in order to cover up the pain of the last one. This consequently leads to the next rebound relationship stage, which is exploration.

Stage # 3 Exploration


Exploration, in this context, could mean finding new ways to cope with a new partner or looking for different individuals and hooking up with them simultaneously. Either way, the rebound relationship commences and, for a while, the novelty of being with this new individual (or individuals) pushes back the painful feelings under the rug. There’s nothing like acquiring new things to cover up for the old ones but, in the case of relationships, this could be detrimental to proper healing. Healing might just be the most cliche word after a breakup but it is necessary. And so, it is in this period when the person must decide whether he/ she has actually moved on from his/ her past love in order to make room for a new one. The heart can’t serve two masters at once, after all. And when it comes to romantic relationships, loving two (or more) people can easily make things complicated and, often, unachievable. As the person decides, he/ she heads on towards the next stage, confusion.

Stage # 4 Confusion

Having to explore new people and experiences can have such a high but, eventually, going down from that high can lead to confusing emotions and feelings. Sometimes, this confusion can even lead back into the old relationship for the sake of “sorting things out” or “closure.” The person must decide between going back to the previous relationship, starting a new one with this “rebound relationship,” or remaining single for some time. All options are difficult to handle because they have different and interesting possibilities. The one thing to consider at this stage is the individual’s intentions.

In life and in most things, we need to make hard decisions. Making these decisions is how we learn and grow. This is why this stage is both crucial and confusing. Because of the immense possibilities and the pain that the person is probably still feeling, making a choice might take some time. It all adds up to the individual’s intentions. Whether that intention is to find a new mate, to remain single, or to go back to his/ her ex.

One thing to note is that there is no right way to “close” the old relationship. It simply ends and one just has to either move on or stay and begin a new stage of the relationship. The word “closure” is often ambiguous because there is no such thing as a proper closure for any good relationship that has to end. Whether the individual chooses to pursue the rebound relationship or otherwise, there is only compromise.

Stage # 5 Compromise


Compromise is a more fitting word than closure. Relationships don’t simply “close” as they end in order to one day “open” up for a new one. Humans and relationships are much more complex than that. However, there is such a thing as a compromise where either or both parties come to terms with a decision that feels right for them. Compromise might mean letting go of the old to make way for the new or vice versa. Depending on the circumstances, a rebound relationship still has the possibility of becoming serious. Mostly, the decision lies within an individual’s values and intentions.

The thing about rebound relationships is that they can be difficult to navigate. In the beginning, things might seem fun and almost exhilarating, but eventually the novelty wears off or unhealed issues and feelings surface to the top leading to insecurity in one or all of the parties involved. These rebound relationship stages are not the be-all-end-all processes of being in a rebound relationship.

They simply serve as natural stepping stones resulting from any breakup. People who have gone through breakups typically cycle through these rebound relationship stages at some point in their lives. As with any life lesson, the experience is one of the best teachers. Rebound relationships may not last forever but every individual placed on a person’s path–be it for a short period or otherwise–serves a purpose. Rebound relationships are not all about bad decisions. The beauty of mistakes is that they teach many lessons that ultimately encourage true growth and maturity.

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