Rebound Relationships and Divorce

What is a Rebound Relationship?

The end of a marriage is rough. Spending many years with someone, then suddenly finding yourself divorced and single is a major life change.  Some people take this time to reflect and grow, to slowly adjust to being single again.


There are those, however, who jump right back in and start a new romantic relationship with the ink still not quite dry on the divorce papers.  This is what a rebound relationship is - one that is formed too soon after a breakup.

While we all love happy endings, experts say that if someone is coming into a romantic relationship fresh from a divorce, the chance of it developing into a long-term one is slim.  A rebound relationship is bound to fail because one has not taken the time to heal from a previous breakup. 

Dating anyone seriously at this point can be disastrous because of the emotional baggage or unresolved issues one may carry into this new relationship.

Rebound Relationships and Divorce: Why People Pursue A Rebound Relationship

People frown upon rebound relationships.  Afterall, why would anyone go into a new relationship immediately when the wounds are still fresh from a previous failed one, so to speak?  Here are some common reasons why:


  • It’s a distraction.  People try to seek solace from the pain of the divorce by getting into a new romantic relationship to forget about the other partner.  It can go very fast but can leave one hurt more when the relationship ends.


  • It’s exciting. Others may have been repressed during the previous marriage and some get into a rebound relationship for the excitement it offers.  Especially for a marriage which has turned “loveless” during the latter years, it’s a way to explore newfound freedom or to experience being sexually active and attractive again

  • Need for stability and love.  During the previous marriage, one most likely enjoyed stability that fulfilled emotional and financial needs . Divorce changes all this and one may be left to deal with an unsure path. 


Others take this opportunity to carve out a new life using lessons learned from the failed

relationship. Some take a short cut and rush into a new romantic relationship in an effort to

remain in the same type of living arrangement they had before their divorce  


  • Tit for Tat.  For some, it’s a competition. If the Ex is already in another relationship, some do so as well.  Not only that, it becomes a contest to show that the new partner is more successful, better looking or smarter or younger than the Ex. 


Recovering from a divorce is a long process of introspection, discovery and rebuilding of sense of self and eventual healing.   It can get lonely after a divorce and while people don’t really plan to get into one, they can easily fall into a rebound relationship. This can seriously derail the recovery process.

Ways to Avoid a Rebound Relationship


Before we go any further, let’s just make an important distinction. While jumping into a new relationship is not the wisest thing to do while you are still in the process of healing and recovery, dating several people casually can actually be a good opportunity to figure out what type of person you would eventually want to date seriously. 


Here, we give you several tips on how to avoid falling into the rebound trap as you move on with your life after divorce:


  • Be comfortable with being alone. Sometimes, being alone can be a good thing.  It’s the best time to gain proper perspective on why your past relationship ended - without distractions.  And remember this - being alone does not necessarily translate to being lonely.

  • Take your time, don’t rush into serious dating.  Dating seriously before you have taken time to heal from the hurts of your past relationship can derail your recovery process. 

Don’t recreate your past or fixate on your ex.  If you do find yourself dating someone, don’t let that new person be a stand-in for your old partner.  Dating someone because they remind you of your ex is a true sign that you are in a rebound relationship.

This is not only unfair for the other person, it is setting yourself up for more heartaches. 

Better to build a relationship based on friendship and companionship first before looking for 

a new romantic partner. 


  • Recovery from your past relationship is your foremost priority.  This cannot be emphasized enough. A new relationship is not the distraction you need during this critical period. It’s a good idea to occupy yourself with a new hobby perhaps or to try to be healthier by joining a gym or just enjoying the company of family and friends. If you feel you can benefit from counseling, take advantage of this time to do so.

With all this said, how long before a relationship is not considered a rebound anymore? The answer will all depend on the person.  Some people are able to move on from the end of a marriage or a long-term relationship fairly easily, and enter into a new romantic relationship with a healthy attitude towards it. 


This means they have already come to terms with why the past relationship has ended and have gotten rid of any emotional baggage.


Others may need more time to heal. 


If you do find yourself dating someone within a year after your divorce, it need not end in disastrous heartache.  Some rebound relationships can actually be called “healing” instead of harmful. It is important to remember to go into a relationship with honesty - being upfront about your personal situation, emotions and your expectations from the relationship.


While it is always a goal to build a lasting relationship, going into a rebound relationship with realistic expectations builds up your chances of faster recovery if it does end badly. 


Rebound Relationships and Divorce - A Last Word


Life after divorce is challenging. Any action you take or decision you make can impact your future in a major way.  To be able to go through divorce and move on to another relationship, it is important to take time to heal and recover.


It is also imperative to secure your financial future, post divorce.  As a certified divorce financial analyst, KImberly Surber is the best person to help you plan your finances so you not only survive divorce but more importantly thrive in the future. 


If you need guidance with your divorce planning, then contact us today.  907-347-3860

This information is not intended to be a substitute for seeking legal advice from an attorney. For legal or tax advice please seek the services of a qualified attorney and/or qualified tax professional.

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Kimberly Surber

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