3 Things You'll Notice If Your Date Secretly Sees You As Just A Rebound
As you hop into the game called dating, not every Tinder match or meet-cute(-enough) is going to make it to the championships. Whether you're looking for something serious or casual, one challenge you might run into is how to tell if you're a rebound for a date. Going out with someone just to get over someone else is a common part of the breakup cycle: You shoot for the free throw, miss, and redirect to a rebound. Of course, the number one sign that you're date is in rebound mode is how they talk about their ex.
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, said there are some other clues to look out for. If your date very recently broke up with their SO and seems to be dating "everybody and anybody," then there's a good chance you're being bounced into rebound territory.
Still, no two post-breakup plays look alike. Pricilla Martinez, a member of the women-focused online life coaching team Blush, says your date's emotions can be a giveaway. "Rebounding can mean that your partner can have lingering feelings for a former flame — that can be positive, negative or both," Martinez says.
Here's the playbook for what you'll notice if your date is on the rebound.
They're fresh off a breakup.
"It's important to get information on how long it's been since their last relationship," Martinez says and the purpose is two-fold. First, if it's been six to 12 months, then you know that your date is still possibly in the rebound zone.
"While this is important to get a sense of how much time they've had to recover, there is not real prescribed amount of time for how long it takes to get over a broken heart," Martinez says.
Which leads to the second point: If your date has had their heart broken within the past year, they may still processing. Those fluctuating emotions can cause instability in your relationship, Martinez says. So, you're going to have to referee the situation with both empathy and objectivity.
They're playing the ex games on social media.
Keeping tabs on your ex via social media is an addictive practice. Whether it's curiosity, lack of closure, or the possibility of reunion we're trying to address, we still follow exes we should've hit "unfollow" on a long ago. Unfortunately, this is only Gatorade and granola bars — more fuel — for the person on the rebound who's still hung up on their ex. Constantly checking up on an ex's social media is a surefire sign your date isn't over them. An extra foul is awarded to the player who reacts to their ex's social media posts and involves you in those conversations.
On the flip side, Martinez says, your date's own posting habits can expose them. What to look out for? "They try to create the image that you two are closer than the current stage or length of your relationship would merit," Martinez says. "They do so publicly because they are hoping to get their ex's attention in order to make them jealous or prove they've moved on." If you feel like your date is going into overtime trying to post the two of you on social media, feel free to side-step and dribble away from some of those Instagram Stories.
They're still emotionally attached.
Again, no two rebounds are alike. Sometimes, it's not simply the breakup that has someone in their feelings. It really can be the ex themselves. If your date is saying "ex this" and "ex that," Martinez says, "You may want to get a sense of which ex they are referring to and determine if there's a pattern. If they keep referencing the same person, then you know their may be lingering feelings there — even if they're not positive." Whether it's romantic tenderness or breakup-spurred spite, these feelings for an ex can cause instability in a relationships.
More than just dating in the rebound zone, these feelings can be the antithesis for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. It's just not fair to you or the rebounder.
"Everyone’s hung up in their head on someone — whether it’s real or in their head. It’s usually an ex. But it can be that one person who you just wish things would be right with," Trombetti says. “Then it just becomes that fake guy or fake girl in your head that you is not giving to you and keeping you from finding the right one. That will get to you."
To quote the Oscar-snubbed cinematic masterpiece that is High School Musical, it's crucial both parties have their head is in the game — and aren't stuck on someone else.
They're comparing you.
This can be anything from how you dress to your taste in music to your beliefs to how you are in bed. It's "my ex this" and "my ex that," but now you're in the mix, too. Unfortunately, this is yet another part of your date processing their breakup. "They haven’t figured out what went ‘wrong’ in their part in ‘wrong’ in the last relationship," Strombetti says. "There’s no closure for them."
But more than being sh*tty, the comparisons can end up being toxic. "They [can] accuse you of things — without probable cause — you know were issues in their previous relationship," Martinez says.
What to do?
Sometimes, rebound relationships work out. That's typically the case when it's a rebound because of timing and not necessarily because one person is hung up on their ex. But for the most part, trying to mold someone on the rebound into defined-relationship partner material could be disastrous. “If you want that person and you want to date them seriously? Cut it off. Or understand that you’re not going to be able to date them seriously,” Trombetti says. “They’re just not ready.”
Chances are, Martinez says, they have asked you to take things slowly or keep the relationship casual. Not only is that a sign they're simply on the rebound, but it's also a warning. If they're blowing the whistle, listen. Sit them down and have a conversation with them.
Trombetti says to lay out like this: "Hey, if you get to this point and you’re ready to move on in a healthy way, and I’m still available, then feel free to call me." Let them know that yes, you like them, and yes, they're a great human being (hopefully). But that if you're going to pursue any kind of relationship — serious or not — it's going to have to be when there's nothing holding them back. Once they get to that point, you'd be willing to reconnect with them. You can wait for them, but, Trombetti says, "Don’t get hung up."
Typically, a conversation like this will snap your date out of it. “And sometimes it won’t, but at least you’re not wasting your time," Trombetti says. "The worst relationship to be in is the one where you’re not getting your needs met and what you want."
So, no, maybe this won't be a slam dunk. But you know what you're getting into, you know what it is, and you can at least have fun with it while it lasts. Go your separate ways and look out for the championships. Until then, let them keep doing jump shots until they figure themselves out.