Signs you might be the rebound in a relationship

By Kamy Smelser, Staff Reporter

Lucas Martinez

During a relationship that lasted through the summer of 2020, Spencer Washington, a creative writing graduate student, started seeing the red flags of their relationship with someone who had only been single for a few months.

“I knew I was a rebound when they kept bringing up their ex, and then when I tried to be affectionate with them, they would pull away,” Washington said. “I felt that if they liked me enough, they would want to be affectionate and talk about serious things, like, ‘Are we together? Are we a couple?'”

An exciting, new relationship can come crashing down when you see the previous relationship baggage the other person brought with them, and you are the drug that is supposed to help them move on. After realizing you are a rebound, it is good to take a step back and evaluate before heartbreak occurs.

Katie Roach, associate licensed marriage and family therapist at Relationship Reality 312, 333 N. Michigan Ave., recommends that if you notice a lack of accessibility or responsiveness within a relationship, this can be a sign the person may not be as committed or interested as you.

“We talk a lot about dating and attachment in therapy, that you want partners in general who are accessible and responsive and who are willing to meet your needs or to negotiate to meet your needs,” Roach said.

Roach said transparency is key when dating, especially now during the dating app age. When someone searches for a rebound, there can be issues along the way based on differing intentions between the two partners.

“The risk of having someone be a rebound is that, ‘What if they have feelings for you?'” Roach said. “‘What if they want a relationship? What if they’re under the pretense that you’re available emotionally?'”

As you continue to evaluate whether or not this person is truly interested in a serious relationship, Roach said it is important to recognize if they are making you feel satisfied as a partner.

Roach gave an example of a sign to look out for: Your partner only reaches out to you when they are bored or want something, but they become dismissive when you want to see them or engage with them.

Matthew Walcott, a junior graphic design major, said a month into a relationship in high school, he realized the downsides of entering a new relationship when he was not ready to be committed to a new partner.

“I realized myself that I was really just [dating] because I felt hurt from something else I was in,” Walcott said. “I didn’t want to be that person to string anybody along. She was understanding; she wasn’t really upset, and we didn’t end on bad terms.”

Relationships founded on rebounding can sometimes last. Roach said some relationships can be maintained even if both parties are rebounding from previous relationships, as long as it’s based on respect and transparency from the beginning.

“A relationship can survive almost anything,” Roach said. “I would equate that a little bit to people who meet who just want to hook up, and if that’s both people’s intention, then that often turns into a relationship, [though] certainly not always.”

Washington was eventually cut off from their relationship after getting blocked and said they regret not listening to their friend’s advice about leaving their partner beforehand.

“Trust your gut because your gut knows more before you do emotionally,” Washington said. “If it makes you uncomfortable that they won’t go further [in the relationship], then you have the right to cut things off yourself.”

Walcott recommends that if you are about to look for someone new to date, especially after immediately ending a relationship, do some reflection on whether or not you are running to someone else for safety or comfort to escape the pain you may be feeling.

“In the long term, you’ve got to really think, ‘Will that help you entirely? Or is it lust?'” Walcott said. “While you try to seek happiness from someone else, at the end of the day, can you really rely on that person to bring you happiness completely?”