When is it a rebound relationship, and when have they moved on?

German relationship coach Emanuel Albert, known as Date Doctor Emanuel, explains how you can recognize a rebound relationship for what it is and whether it is built to last. 

Your ex broke up with you and now she has a new boyfriend? 

You have been dating someone for a few weeks now and have found out that their previous relationship only ended when you two met? 

Despite being in a new relationship, you find yourself thinking about your ex all the time?

All three situations may describe so-called rebound relationships. But what do we really mean when we speak of a rebound? And how good are the chances that these relationships will last? I will give you the answers to all of these questions. 

If you are reading this article because you want your ex back and he or she is in a rebound relationship, you may be asking yourself if its possible to win him or her back. It is possible and I will tell you what you need to do, but first you have to understand what a rebound relationship really means.

What is a rebound relationship?

A rebound relationship describes a superficial and less committed relationship. This relationship swiftly follows a breakup that has not been fully processed. So if you have only been single for a week and jump into something new, chances are high that you are rebounding. Time is not the only factor, however. You and your ex-partner may have separated more than a year ago but you still have not worked through the breakup. In this case a new relationship, even after all this time, may still just be a rebound. Unsure whether you or your ex are in a rebound relationship? Luckily there are a few pointers that can help you decide.

What are the signs of a rebound relationship?

Relationships are as unique and versatile as the people involved. Therefore it can be difficult to tell if someone is simply on the rebound or whether they are fully invested in their new relationship. 

As a relationship coach I have helped hundreds of people win back their ex partners. In many of these cases, the ex partner broke up because of someone new, or entered a new relationship soon after the breakup occurred. If this has happened to you, you may want to believe that your ex is “only” in a rebound relationship and that there is still hope. 

These four signs can help you recognize whether or not your ex is in a rebound relationship:

  1. Your ex still contacts you regularly.

  2. Your ex tries to make you jealous with their new relationship.

  3. Your ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is extremely similar to you in looks and personality traits. 

  4. The relationship between your ex and their new partner is moving extremely quickly. In this case, your ex is simply transferring old couple behaviors onto the new relationship instead of letting it grow naturally. 

How long do rebound relationships last?

Studies on rebound relationships tell us: six months seem to be a magic time frame. Within the first half year following a breakup, people are the most emotionally vulnerable and likely to enter a rebound relationship. Fast forward another half year … that is the maximum length we would expect a relationship to last, if it is only meant to patch up old hurt feelings from a previous love. 

More often than not rebound relationships last only a few months. And especially once the honeymoon phase is over people can become nostalgic and remember all the good times spent with an ex, which in turn damages the rebound relationship. However, after 6 -9 months in their new relationship, you may have to accept that it is not only a rebound anymore. 

Can rebound relationships work?

Whether or not a rebound relationship will “stick” and develop into a secure, permanent relationship often depends on how the previous relationship ended. 

Especially those that act insecure and anxious in a relationship may profit from a rebound, quickly after ending a previous relationship. Research shows that rebound relationships can help improve self-esteem and ease the process of letting go of the ex-partner. So even though not all is lost when your ex is in a new relationship, it may temporarily help them move on. Personal coaching may be a good idea in helping you stop comparing yourself to your ex’s new partner and figure out if there is still hope for reigniting the lost relationship.

Rebound relationships generally have a better shot at working, if the previous relationship was short or ended amicably. If, as is most common, this person simply gets together with the first available single, their chances are slim. In some cases two highly suitable people end up in a rebound relationship. Although the timing may not be ideal, these two will not only use each other to patch up unresolved feeling. It doesn’t happen often – but sometimes a rebound relationship turns into a happy, healthy relationship.

Can you win back your ex even if he/she is in a rebound relationship?

Your relationship is over and your ex already has someone new? From working with many coachees, I know: that you feel replaced, angry, and completely hopeless. 

It is possible to get back with an ex, even if they have started a new relationship. Depending on your unique situation different strategies make sense:

  • Make sure to “pop up” every now and then, making it hard to forget you.

  • Don’t be afraid of the friendzone!

  • Stay interesting and work on being attractive.

  • Accept that success may not be immediate. 

  • Keep on dating other people.

If you are unsure how to act in your specific case, do not hesitate to contact us. We can analyze your relationship history and give you our tailored advice. 

The bottom line

Rebound relationships often fail but can serve a purpose in helping someone move on after heartbreak. Whether it’s you or your ex who has quickly jumped into a new relationship, it is important to be honest with yourself and be clear about what – and especially who – you want. When it comes to rebound relationships:


  • compare partners – everyone brings something else into a relationship

  • stay in a relationship if you feel like you are stringing someone along

  • hold on to the anger – your ex is allowed to be in a new relationship


  • enjoy dating someone new

  • Look for someone who suits you even better than your ex!

Best of luck, 

your Date Doctor Emanuel


Emanuel Albert

I have been working as a dating and relationship coach for more than 20 years. Every day my team and I help clients reach more happiness in their relationships. Our vision is to turn relationship problems back into love! To achieve this goal I developed the successful Emanuel Albert Method.