Most people think that return links don’t last very long and often don’t mean much. This assumption is somewhat true, as most rebounds do not make it past the six-month mark. But no matter how short, these relationships still have recognizable stages that every couple goes through.
Read on to learn all the stages of a relationship, including what they mean and how long they last.
What is a rebound relationship?
Before moving on to all the stages of rebound relationships, it is necessary to define these relationships first.
Simply; people get into a rebound relationship with a new person immediately or soon after breaking up with their ex. In most cases, the person entering this relationship still has lingering and unresolved feelings for their ex. Plus, this relationship is usually a short bridge to moving on and being ready to commit once again.
There are various reasons people cite for jumping on rebounds. Some do it to numb the pain of a breakup, and some just can’t stand the feeling of loneliness and need someone to be with.
Then there are those who start new relationships to get revenge on their exes. This new relationship helps them show their ex how much better they are after the breakup and how much better off they are without them.
How long do rebounds last?
As already mentioned, most rebound relationships usually don’t last more than a few months. People usually break up with that person when they realize they’re not really compatible, or when the pain of the breakup finally subsides. At this point, they know that continuing the rebound is pointless and can only hurt in the long run.
Of course, not all rebounds end immediately. In a small number of cases, this relationship can become serious and last for months or even years. But this is not so common.
Most rebound relationships are worth it, no matter how long they last. After all, they help you gain valuable experience that can help make your subsequent romantic relationships more meaningful.
Stages of rebound relationships
The vast majority of rebound relationships have similar trajectories regardless of duration. They are usually divided into stages and each has its own meaning.
1. Pre-rebound stage
As the name suggests, this particular stage begins before you actually get into a relationship. It starts as soon as your last relationship ends and you are suddenly free after months or years of commitment.
Although it may not seem like it after the first week or two, it’s often difficult to have that much freedom. You find yourself with a lot of free time, conflicting emotions, and a way to deal with both. So you start looking for another relationship as soon as possible because it seems like the only thing that will help you feel less alone and unwanted.
Again, different people enter rebound relationships for different reasons. So while some may do it out of loneliness, others may just want to have fun or get revenge on their exes.
In addition, a person’s reaction to a breakup depends on whether or not they end the relationship. For example, a scavenger will often have a harder time being alone and will grieve longer. So, naturally, they may not be ready to jump into a new relationship right away.
Dumpers, on the other hand, often feel that the relationship is over, which allows them to move on more easily. Therefore, they can start to rebound sooner because they are more prepared for it.
Of course, these are just generalizations. Every relationship is different, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which side is ending things. Moreover, there are cases where both people suffer equally, but they still start a new relationship to end the suffering as soon as possible.
Either way, this phase begins with a breakup and ends when a person begins a new, rebound relationship.
2. Honeymoon stage
The second stage of the rebound is called the honeymoon stage. It involves the beginning of a new relationship and is quite exciting and euphoric. In addition, it is celebrated with love.
During the honeymoon phase, you simply cannot get enough of your new partner. They fill your every thought and you crave their presence. In fact, it’s the only thing on your mind, no matter where you are, like kissing, hugging and being close to them.
In addition, it can be said that this phase is always marked by the parties who wear rose-colored glasses. Thus, you cannot see the other person’s flaws or understand their whole personality. Instead, you see only their good qualities and fall in love with them.
These emotions can often be quite overwhelming. You suddenly feel a lot at once, and the absence of sadness and loneliness makes you cling to new feelings. This in turn can lead to obsessions and other toxic behaviors that are not a good basis for a healthy relationship.
Of course, nothing this powerful can last forever. Over time, you will slowly begin to see your new partner for who they really are. The lack of rose-colored glasses will slowly lead to arguments and tension, leading you straight to stage three.
3. The Reality intrudes Stage
This stage is perhaps the most important stage in the entire rebound relationship. As slowly as it starts, reality begins to sink in.
You suddenly realize that the relationship is not as perfect as you first convinced yourself. Additionally, you come to the conclusion that you and your partner may not be as compatible as you once thought.
The main symptom of this stage is seeing your partner’s flaws. After all, no one is truly perfect, and everyone is bound to do something that annoys you even a little bit. At this stage, you start to wonder if these flaws are really something you can live with in the long run.
Of course, these ideas usually lead to conflicts. You point out the things that bother you to your partner and they do the same for you and all hell breaks loose. Most people view such arguments as personal attacks and become defensive, leaving little room for meaningful dialogue and resolution.
Disputes usually end in one of two ways: acceptance or escalation. Acceptance means that you and your partner hear each other out, accept your ideas, and try to move on. However, conflicts usually recur because you cannot change who you are so quickly and drastically.
On the other hand, amplification only makes matters worse. Instead of finding a compromise, partners continue to argue and only find more things to be upset about in the relationship.
In most cases, both paths lead to the fourth stage.
4. Comparison and Nostalgia Stage
The fourth stage begins when you begin to compare your new partner to your ex. This comparison can go either way, usually depending on how your last relationship ended.
First, you may begin to realize that your ex and new partner share the same flaws. They may act the same during arguments, act the same towards you in general, or react the same to something you say or do. However, it can be simpler and you can just see that they look similar or have the same antics.
On the contrary, you can be nostalgic and remember your past positively. In such cases, you’ll probably think about how well your ex treated you compared to your new partner, how safe you feel, etc. you will remember.
Either way, these intrusive thoughts will slowly begin to mix with the growing resentment you already feel toward your new partner. It goes without saying that these thoughts are a bad sign. In most cases, they make you think about ending the relationship or getting your ex back or moving on to something new.
5. Epiphany Stage
Finally, the fourth stage leads to the final stage where most rebounds end: the epiphany stage. At this point, the relationship can go two ways.
The first and most common of these is separation. You just realize that you were in the relationship for the wrong reasons and that it’s the healthy thing to do to end it. So you talk to your partner and everything amicably or not.
However, there are times when you are ready to work on the relationship. You may come to the conclusion that you really care about your partner and can see a future with them. As long as you’re both willing to put in the work and try to make the relationship non-toxic, you can build something meaningful and lasting.
Facts to Remember About Rebound Links
It is important to emphasize that these stages are never linear. Namely, you won’t just pass them by clear margins. In fact, you may not even notice that one phase has ended and another has begun for weeks or even months.
Finally, it is impossible to put a definitive time stamp on any of the rebound stages. Some may last only a week and some may last months. Therefore, over-generalization is preferable.
In the end, it’s best to just focus on your partner and your relationship and try to relax. That way, you’ll be able to give the relationship a chance and see where it takes you.