I have been the rebound, and I have rebounded after a breakup. To be honest, neither really feels good. But sometimes, it's not exactly deliberate on either end. I wasn't trying to lead on the people I rebounded with, and I'm sure the people who prematurely dated me didn't have awful intentions. It just happened. But I frequently wonder how to know if you're in love with someone, or if you're just trying to run away from the feelings of your past. I mean, they always say that to get over someone, you need to get under someone new. That seems a lot easier than actually dealing with your feelings.
However, rebounding, unfortunately, will get you nowhere. It certainly won't get you over your past breakup. It will only prolong it and drag other innocent bystanders along in the meantime. In an effort to move on from exes, I've forced myself to date new people, only to find out it makes me miss my ex even more. Then, it forces me into new breakups with the people I just started dating. It's a vicious cycle, but it's one that can be avoided if you're aware of how you actually feel about your old and new partners.
So here's how to figure out if you're in love with someone, or if this is just a rebound. Because rebounds should just be for basketball. (Sorry. I didn't know how to end this paragraph, so I just went with a sports metaphor. Sports!)
1. Do You Post Pics To Make Your Ex Jealous?
Before you hastily post on social media after a breakup, always ask yourself who you're posting for. It's normal to take pics of you and your new boo in the beginning of a relationship. You want to show each other off to the world, and things are exciting. But if you're posting to get the attention of someone from your past, then you're just objectifying your new partner and using them as a prop, not a person.
Figure out why you're posting and who you're posting for. If you're doing it to get someone else's attention, then your relationship might be a rebound.
2. Do You Think Of Your Ex During Or After Sex?
Sometimes, hooking up with someone new is the best way to figure out whether or not you're actually ready to move on. After one memorable breakup, I burst into tears after having sex with someone new. The guy, rightfully freaked out, thought he had done something wrong. I had to explain that, no, boning him simply made me realize I still loved my bonehead ex.
If you're thinking about someone else while you're having sex with someone new, then most likely, you're still in rebound territory. And there's nothing wrong with that. But just make sure it's clear to everyone you're dating that you aren't looking for a relationship right now, so you don't end up leading anyone on.
3. Do You Compare Relationships?
If you're comparing your new relationship to your old relationship or the specific behaviors of your new partner to your ex, then most likely, you aren't ready to move on.
It's important when dating to judge people as individuals. You can't bring your old baggage into new relationships and keep unpacking it every time you meet someone new. Eventually, your suitcase of sh*t is gonna get pretty heavy. So if you find yourself telling your new significant other, "My ex and I did things differently," then you probably aren't ready to move on.
4. Are You Hot And Cold With Your New Partner?
If you're inconsistent or hot and cold with your partner, then that's probably because they aren't your main priority. When you truly care about someone, you want to treat them well. You respect them and their emotions, and you give them the attention they deserve. However, if they are just a prop in your life to fulfill a need (like a rebound), then you might be desirous for them when you feel lonely and want to dispose of them quickly when you crave independence or time alone.
It's hard to know if you're truly ready to move on sometimes, and we may move on too early intentionally as a defense mechanism — to make others jealous or to distract ourselves from heartbreak. Either way, the results are never good for ourselves, our exes, or our new partners.
If you're fresh out of a breakup, take some time to actually get over it first, before you move on. Your new relationship (and your heart) will be all the better for it.
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