How to Avoid Rebound Love and Start Fresh

Are you worried about falling in love for the wrong reasons? These tips will help you avoid rebound love and start a healthy relationship with someone new.

“When you’re on the rebound, your new relationship isn’t about itself,” writes J.M. Kearns in Better Love Next Time: How the Relationship that Didn’t Last Can Lead You to the One that Will. “It’s about the old one.”

Falling in love too fast, making rash decisions, and tolerating people and behavior that you wouldn’t normally are possible signs of a rebound relationship. Below are a few quick tips on how to avoid rebound relationships.

Unhealthy rebound love happens when you use your new love possibility to run away from your past relationship. “We plunge into a new relationship, not because we are paying attention to the past, but to avoid listening to it,” writes Kearns in Better Love Next Time. “We use the new relationship as a distraction.”

Focus on finding true love by making sure you’re not running from something that happened in your past relationship.

Deal with your desperation or fear

Many of us have dated people we have nothing in common with or who we don’t even like – and who may not even like us. Are you dating out of desperation? That’s a surefire way to create a rebound relationship. If your heart is still broken from a past relationship, make sure you’re healing (and healing from breakups is a process!).

Figure out what went wrong with your last partner

To avoid rebound love, make sure you understand why your last relationship didn’t survive. Try to be honest and objective, and don’t make a hasty diagnosis. Kearns writes, “You misidentify the factors that made the last relationship sicken and die, and armed with that false vaccine, you set you to avoid the same infection in the future – and you walk right into it.”

If you’re still affected by your last relationship, read How to Get Past the Pain After He Broke Up With You.

Accept your role in your last relationship

rebound relationshipsMost broken relationships are caused by both partners – it’s rarely just one person who is to blame. Instead of blaming your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend for causing all the problems in the past, accept the role you played. This will help you achieve your new love and relationship goals by increasing your health, self-confidence, and ability to relate to others.

Also, make sure you’re ready for a new relationship. Maybe you’re not on the rebound – but you’re not healthy, either. Maybe you’re not pining for your ex – but you’re not 100% ready to commit to a new partner.

Let go of the past

This final tip for avoiding rebound love is about making sure you’ve moved on from your past relationship. Only you know if you’re over your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, and only you know if you’re emotionally healthy and ready for a new love relationship. Listen to your heart. Deal with your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical issues before you start a new relationship.

If you’re still in love with your ex, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love – it’s my most popular breakup article.

“You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip.”  ~ Jonathan Carroll.

Are you letting yourself fall into a new relationship for the wrong reasons?


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16 thoughts on “How to Avoid Rebound Love and Start Fresh”

  1. Hi Stacy,

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this – it sounds like so much to deal with, after being together for so long. I don’t know if I can give you the help you need, but I wrote this article for another reader — it’ll at least answer your question about how much you should tell a new guy!

    How Much Should You Tell Your Fiancé About Your Past?


  2. hi I just recently exited an 8 yr relationship with somone that I fimd to be perfect and I am still in love with him plus we have two kids. He left me for another woman but was going to break up with me before that anyways. He is the only person I have evr trusted in my life. But I pushed him away by cheating on him before I had my children more than once and sayong that the reason why I did it was because I got taken advantage of, so he did not trust me even though he cheated first. Also I pushed him away but not letting him be himself and I wouldnt met his needs in the bedroom even though I know I could of but I didnt seem to care at the time and when he would go to talk to me about it I would lie and yell at him stating I needed meds and I couldnt because of my past, which wasnt true. I would treat him like sh*t by always telling him what to do and controlling everything including money and not letting him have any however we did not jave much. He worked while I stayed hopme with the kids.

    He felt like I acted more like his mother than his wife, He would go around for four yrs stating his emtions to people and I would just ignore it, I ended up blocking him out. I would not tell him my emotions, he felt like I was easily manipulated, I burnt hi out hard core I took him for granite thinking that he would never leave me, he would spend nights just talking to me trying to get me to open up in the bedroom at first I would run into my sons room to avoid having sex like it was a game, then I would talk while we were intimate, I would think about the beach instead of him, I would only let him do his thing 3 times, I would change the music in the car to what I liked nevermind what he liked. I was abusive I would come home and yell about anything and everything, I didnt care if he was happy or not. I wouldnt respect his emtions, I would talk to him differently then others, he asked me to change and i blew it off, I would think things and not tell him what I was thinking like when he proposed I wasnt ready to settle down and at the end I knew it was coming to an end but didnt fight for it, so yeah basically I was a dumb b***h. Now my question is the next person I get with should I tell him these things as I will not repeat the same mistakes. I will cherish them.

    Also I went to the lunes as a result of our breakup. I put a restraining order on him. Also when I left his house I got into a car accident with my kids in the car and my son had to have surgery and i had mt spleen taken out. I still love this man more than anything he tried to gey us to move before he meet this new girl but I wouldnt. at the end it go so bad he was checking razors and toothbrushes and accusing me of having someone at the house well he was at work, I told him I would take a lie detector test to prove to him i didnt and i would put cameras around the house. I didnt treat him as my bf nor did i ever try too. He felt like killing himself because he didnt feel like a man. and he told me this and I just played it off he would ask me to bring back the passion that we once had and I wouldnt we both lost ourselves in the relationship mind you I had post partum depression untreated, he asked me to give him 100% and I told him I was and if he didnt like it to leave, when in reality I wasnt giving him 100%.

    I had thought about seeking counseling for both of us a yr ago but never did as I was thinking he would never leave me and I got to lazy. Then he left me for her she is nice and attempts to give him evertthing he wants and he can trust her he told me that it was like a generatorgoing off when he first meey her. He also told me that he saw more in her eyes then when we first meet, This man is not a cheater at all he is the most genuine man I have evr meet he takes awesome care of his kids and right now he is struggling with being away from them he had to go on meds for anxiety. But he tells me he has to learn to cope with it and right now he is too depressed to even be in love with her. cause how can he be in love when he isnt happy. What do I do I feel like I fu**ed up my kids and my life.

    I have to completely start a new life because I was living his life in RI and all my family is in Maine and I hate Maine, but need the help with the kids. Do you think that he is really in love with her and dont you think that it is a bit to fast for him to move on and already be living with this girl but the thing is he has only had me and this girl has his girlfriend he doesnt even look at other women. Once he has one thats it plus he is in a box and doesnt feel comfortable talking to other woman. at the end he could barely even walk and he ended up punching the stove but we still never sat down and tried to figure out the problem and I didnt know what I was doing to him till the end.

    I am no way in shape for another relationship I am on my depression meds and seeking counseling but my question for you is should I tell another man what happened between him and I? I am so scared it will scare them away but I know the next time I am with someone not to act in this manner and hopefully they will believe me. I know I put this man through hell and I feel like sh*t about it and there is nothing I can do to change the past and I just hope that someone in this world will forgive me and not judge me and still see that they could spend the rest of life with me. I have one guy who knows everything and he still likes me abd told me that you learn from your lessons but I dont like him like that.

    I am so scared I will settle in an attempt to not be alone. but how am I suppossed to get another genuine male when that is what I did thanks for all of your advice and yes I know I was a heartless b***h.

  3. I ended a 25 year marriage. I met an amazing man who turned out not to be as amazing as I thought. Didn’t matter, I am free. And that is was counts.
    I since met a man who is 18 years older than I. He is from another place and time. Originally I thought that I have nothing in common with this man. But the more I come to know him the more I liked him. In fact, I fell in love with him. He takes care of things and people. He genuinely cares about me and my family. He loves me too.
    Currently he lives out of state but owns a place close by here and comes around many times a year. When he comes, my heart leaps. I feel like a school girl. This man is so fun. He makes me laugh, he makes me dance and he makes me eat healthy. He is adorable. He is my best friend.
    Should be perfect but in never is, is it? He is married. He is also afraid. He believes his wife has had several affairs over the course of their marriage (I confirmed this by a reliable source). Change is scary. I sure can attest to that. So he hopes that she will end the marriage so he don’t have to. I hate this about him. I tell him he is like a small child at the end of the dock. He sees the kids swimming and wants to too but is afraid the water is too cold. He hopes someone will push him in. But no one will. So he don’t swim.
    I am frustrated with the situation. What can I do? We break up constantly. But we can’t stay apart. We love each other and aren’t even angry. So how can we break up?
    So when he leaves, I date. I hope to meet the man who will take his place in my heart and that will be the the way out of this mess. It hasn’t helped yet. I just meet men who fall in love with me and I cannot reciprocate. So I make things worse. But their feelings are not my responsibility. I am trying to find a solution. What is it?
    My friend knows that time is running out. I need resolution. I don’t want to Get married, I just want him to live close (which he could easily do) and openly date me. Would I date him exclusively? Yes! But I am caring for my elderly mother and I may not even get to live with him for a while. I still love his company and living separately is fine for now. He knows that I will not leave him. I figure we have 20 years together. It will be the best 20 years of my life. But I don’t know what’s my next move. Can you help? How do we shut off love and move on? Human beings are not interchangeable. I can’t just go to the next man. I am not desperate for love from just anyone.I have never been down this path before and I am lost.

  4. Hello Laurie,

    Thank you very much for your reply. You have given me a new perspective. I think that his asking me to marry him so soon is his reaction to being in a relationship that is so different than what he has experienced before. I was married for many years before this, and never thought I would have a chance at it again. I think that is why I was quick to say “yes”! However, I do agree with your point that we really need time to get to know each other in all situations, and a year is a reasonable rule of thumb. When I brought up the idea that we should hold off for a year he said that if that’s what I want, he is fine with it. He says he will wait for me forever.

    Thank you again for your advice!


  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello Jane,

    I think that it’s important for every couple to follow the “one year rule.” That is, they should be together for one full year before talking about marriage!

    Why rush into marriage, especially with a man who has been through so much? I don’t know if he’s rebounding with you, or if he really loves you for who you are. The only way to tell is to give it time. Date for a year, get to know each other.

    I think his rushing into marriage is a red flag. Whether it’s rebound love or not isn’t relevant — it’s not good for ANY couple to rush into something as huge, complicated, wonderful, and difficult as marriage!

    So I encourage you to remain hopeful for the next year, as you continue to date and get to know him better :-) If he’s not into this, then maybe he’s not the right guy for you.

    Let me know what you think,

  6. Hello. I am dating a man who just got out of a very toxic 3 year relationship with a woman who we will call #2. He lived with #2, and she would kick him out and then tell him she loved him and ask him back. Then when she got upset again she would kick him out, then ask him back again. #2 did other things like search his phone, hack his email, accuse him of cheating on her if he was a half hour later from work than usual…..It’s behavior I can’t see him putting up with now, but he did it then. He kept up this yo-yo relationship for 3 years until finally he quit her. Before #2, there was a woman he was with for 3 years and was engaged to. Lets call her #1. He and #1 had two children together. But #1 had drug and gambling issues that couldn’t be worked out, and he wound up getting full custody of the two children after breaking up with #1. Now he and I have an amazing relationship, but it seems like we have been on a fast track. He asked me to marry him, but we have only been dating a few months. My thought is that girlfriend #2 was the rebound of girlfriend #1. My question to you is, is it possible that I am a rebound from #2?? Or did he get the rebound out of the way with #2? Can people really fall in love this fast and make it work forever?



  7. Hi, ive been in a rebound relationship with a man i love for a year now. I dumped last ex because of infidelity and I wanted to be with my current bf. Alot of my fears and insecurities came out and has strained our relationship tremendously. But, we love eachother and he wants to be with me. He’s’giving me a chance to take time to heal myself and then come back to him when I’m ready. Is that a good thing? Is there anything else I can do to heal?

  8. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for sharing this piece of your life here; I’m glad you reconnected with him. There’s something special about old friends from school…

    About rebound love, I don’t think you can do anything to reassure him beyond a shadow of a doubt that this isn’t rebound love. He has to come to this realization on his own — you can’t convince him of something that you don’t even know is true! That is, he only had a month of being single…I don’t know if he’s rebounding and either does he or anyone else.

    All you can do is take things slow and make sure he has time to heal from his last relationship breakup. Only time will tell if he’s ready for a new relationship, which is why you need to take things slow.

    You say you can’t stop moving fast — but that’s not true. You CAN slow things down — you just don’t want to because it’s romantic and fun and exciting and special and passionate :-) I get it, but moving fast doesn’t give you the time or space you BOTH need to see if this is the right person for you.

    How are you and he moving fast? And, what can you do to slow things down? I encourage you to use your brain — not just your heart — and really think about taking it one small step at a time. You can still fall in love and be happy and passionate….and in fact taking it slow makes the relationship MORE happy, passionate, fun, and endearing! And, you’ll feel confident that you’re doing the right thing.

    I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best in this relationship.


  9. So,
    I have reconnected with someone from a school that I went to. When we were there, we liked each other but red each other wrong and in the end, he got a girlfriend and I left (not because of that).I was going through my facebook and I saw that he was single…I asked him and he told me why, but I never went into it. Since then, we have been talking and talking a lot…we are also moving fast…we both want this to work very much but we don’t want this to be the “rebound” since he has just gotten out of his 13 month relationship over a month ago…but we can’t seem to stop going fast .I like him a lot and he likes me a lot and we want it to work out. So, I guess my question is….what can i do to make sure that he knows that this will not be a rebound and that it can work?

  10. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Melody,

    I’m sorry to say this — and I think you know what I’m going to say — but it doesn’t sound like he loves you! After all, he told you he doesn’t love you. He’s being honest with you, at least.

    You need to figure out if you want to stay in this relationship with him. I don’t know if it’s rebound love or what, but he’s telling you that it won’t work for the long term, and he just wants to be intimate without regard for the future.

    It’s up to you: is this the kind of relationship you want? If so, then enjoy it! If not, then you need to let go and start healing so you can love again.

  11. we’ve been together for one year and a half. we got on wery well, understood each other, enjoyed spending time together. but he wants kids and i dont want. we knew we have to seperate and that he was looking for somebody else, but he wos insisting that we should keep the affair going iven then.. in the mean time he met somebody else wich is willing to have kids for him. although he says he likes and loves her, he is continues to sleep with me, and admits to enjoying s*x with me more but he says he does not love me he only likes me now. all i would like to know is: is he still in love with me?

  12. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Ana,

    Since you said yourself that you’re not over your last relationship — and even if you DIDN’T say that, my answer would be the same — I think you should take a break from romantic emotional attachments until at least six months have passed.

    Give yourself time to heal, to avoid the chance of rebound love. You can still be friends with him, enjoy his company, and do things together….but I suggest keeping it at the friends level until you’ve had time and space to process your last relationship.

    Getting romantically involved again so soon doesn’t give you the chance to figure out what went wrong, what you’d do differently in a new love relationship, and what you’re looking for in a man. Jumping into a new romantic relationship now might set it up for breakdown, because it does seem like rebound love — and you might not be thinking as clearly as you will be in six months.

    If you and your friend are meant to be together, you will be….you have to trust that it will work out the way it’s meant to. Six months may seem like a long time, but trust me…it will fly by. And, you’ll be glad you waited because you won’t have that “is this a rebound love relationship?” question hanging over your head the whole time.

    That’s what I think!


  13. Hi I jus recently ended a relationship of one year and I’m not over the situation its self. How ever about two days before I ended the relationship I came in contact with someone I dated back when I was 15. I am now 24 and this person has been my friend since I was 15 and even after I broke up with them we remaind good friends. We recently began a s****l relationship and it hasn’t been more than a week after my last break up. I guess what I’m trying to say is should I put off the idea that this may be true love after beingfriends for 9 years or should I just focus on me and getting past my last relationship. I feel torn. I love spending time with this person and we are trully good friends we have made plans for a few weeks inadvance..he is a good man and I know him but not romantically. What should I do??

  14. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Dwayne,

    Thanks for sharing your life and being so real here! You sound like an authentic, honest person — and both women and men respect that.

    I don’t think you should let your issues and health affect the possibility that you could enter into a healthy, loving, fulfilling, satisfying relationship! The mechanics not working the same way they did when you were younger is something all men face, and most women expect.

    I also think that if you believe that all women are like those ads on TV make us out to be, then you’re not only short changing women, you’re short changing yourself. Sure, those ads target a certain type of woman…and other ads target women who are incontinent, struggle with depression, or are dealing with menopausal issues.

    My third thought is that you’ll get what you set yourself up for. If you believe that you’re less of a man and are doomed to a life of loneliness, then there you have it! But if you believe that there ARE sensitive, caring, happy, considerate, compassionate, smart women out there….and all you have to do is put yourself out there to meet them…then that’s what you’ll get.

    Your health issues are secondary to your emotional and mental health issues. That is, the only thing stopping you from being in a healthy, happy relationship is your own attitude, self-perception, and self-judgements.

    I suggest finding quality places to meet women — and doing things you enjoy. If, for instance, you like to hike or sail, then join a local hiking or sailing club. If you like to cook, take sushi making classes. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, join a writer’s club. If you’re spiritual, start going to church or synagogue or something that encourages relationships with that or He which is beyond yourself.

    Regarding talking about it…I encourage you to talk one step at a time. Don’t put the cart before the horse, my friend! First, get out there and make some friends. Then, tackle the when’s, where’s, how’s, and why’s of confiding your health issues.

    One last thing — don’t worry too much about dating yet. Just start meeting women in safe places (like those I mentioned). Then, coffee and dinner dates will in all likelihood arise naturally.

    I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best! Do come back and let me know what you’re doing to meet new people :-)


  15. I would like to ask a very personal question. Men sometimes have failed relationships for several reasons. I have one that is caused by my health. I have been dealing with some real issues in my life and now they have affected my s****l health. I am not sure if any woman will have anything to do with me or if I will ever be able to talk to another woman about my problems that I have to deal with when it comes to s*x. I love deeply, am emotional, loyal, and very respectful, can be intimate and still have the same desires as before, but the mechanics don’t work as well when I was younger. Do I talk about it or am I doomed to a life of lonliness with out someone to love and cherish. I am older, am age 51 and I don’t consider my life over yet, but as far as relationships I am not sure what to do or how to approach them. Even dating is scary because I do feel less of a man and do hear all the stories and ads on tv what women want. I just simply don’t think that I can ever find my love again. Am I lost?