I'm frequently asked by clients both in new and long-term relationships how to determine if the relationship is a rebound or real love.
The term "rebound" carries quite a negative stigma in our cultural lexicon, and armchair psychoanalysts tend to throw it around anytime someone enters a new relationship within weeks after their last relationship ended.
In short, we understand it to mean that the newly brokenhearted person is filling their emptiness and smoothing over the pain of a breakup by immersing themselves in the romance of a new and exciting relationship. While this may be the case at times, to simply judge a situation as categorically "rebound" because it follows a certain timeline can lead someone down a path that may not be the most loving choice.
It would be nice if life could be compartmentalized into "brown paper packages tied up with strings." In an ideal world, the aftermath of a breakup would be spent turning inward, reflecting, and spending time alone so you could process your grief and lay a healthy foundation on which to begin your next relationship. But we don't live in that world; we live in this world — messy, complicated, and mysterious.
This means that if you find yourself in a loving, healthy relationship just weeks after a breakup, you could be experiencing real love.
Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether it's a rebound or real love:
If it's a rebound: