How to Tell If The Person You’re Dating Is Rebounding

Rebounding often has a negative connotation, but rebounding is not necessarily negative. Relationships may end making us better or bitter. Over three decades as a licensed and marriage and family therapist, I have watched many people end relationships and move on to make healthier choices. The definition of rebound refers to an object hitting a hard surface and bouncing back. There can be healthy rebounds.

How can you tell if someone is rebounding in an unhealthy way into a new relationship?

What Is Their Attitude Toward the Last Relationship?

Since the opposite of love is not hate but indifference, a rebounding partner who still maintains a significant degree of anger is probably not ready to begin anew. Such people will need some time and space to understand the part they played in the former destructive relational dance that should not be repeated. When there remains inordinate shame and blame it is unlikely that a person is ready to move on.

Are You Trying to Rescue Them?

Another red flag is when the potential new partner continues to feel a need to rescue the person from the former relationship. If stuck in roles as rescuer, victim or a persecutor in relation to former partner it is unlikely he/she is ready to begin with someone new.

I will give you a couple examples of healthy and unhealthy and rebounds:

Jerry was a 50-year-old who initially came in for marriage counseling with his wife. In the process they made a decision to divorce. He remained in therapy for another six months and examined the part that he had played in behaviors that led to divorce. He had been critical and at times contemptuous of her and she responded by being defensive and building an emotional wall. He was determined to change those patterns in future relationships and met and married someone else the next year. He has gone on to create an extraordinarily strong marriage.

On the other hand, an example of an unhealthy rebound was a 35-year-old woman with two children who caustically blamed her husband for all their problems. She remained unwilling to look at her choices and part that she played in the destructive patterns. She rebounded quickly into another marriage after her divorce. In the beginning things went well because she ranted about her ex-husband and her new husband saw himself as of white knight who came to the rescue. Within two years, she began to blame her new husband for their problems and demonized him in her mind. Despite his willingness to work on the marriage, she separated and rebounded quickly into yet another relationship.

Rebounding is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It depends upon one’s attitude and whether the person becomes bitter or better.

About Dr. Linda Miles

Dr. Linda Miles has worked in the field of mental health for over thirty years as psychotherapist, consultant, educator and writer.

She has appeared on national television, radio and in magazines such as Woman’s World, Parents and Entrepreneur. She wrote the award-winning book The New Marriage, Transcending the Happily Ever After Myth with her husband, Dr. Robert Miles. Recently she has published:

Dr. Miles has also served the mental health community through public service, including on the National Advisory Board of Access Technologies Social Simentor Model for Intervention with Autism and the Florida Commission on Support Initiatives for Marriage and Family. She has received several professional awards for her service, such as the “Outstanding Educator in Business and Industry” award from Florida State University and the “Outstanding Contributions to Knowledge in the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy” award from the Tallahassee Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Dr. Miles has a continued passion for creating a better world through loving relationships. Visit her online at

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