Everyone has baggage – whether they’ve had a string of failed relationships, they’re recovering from a failed marriage or they’ve just broken up with the person they thought was The One. Thankfully though, time does in fact heal most wounds. Nowadays, you probably never think about that broken heart that seemed so earth-shattering when you were 18.
Unfortunately, rather than taking time to process the hurt from a broken relationship, some people jump straight into a new relationship, hoping that will sort them out instead – this can be disastrous for both parties involved. The rebounder buries their pain and the new partner enters blindly into the relationship, thinking all is well.
Over time, warning signs will start to crop up that you’re not necessarily the total focus of your partner’s affections. You’ll find an old photo tucked into their glove compartment, or maybe you just have the nagging feeling that when they’re with you, they’re not really with you.
Here’s how to know if you’re the rebound date:
1. Your partner is obsessed with the past
In the course of any budding relationship either side will probably mention their ex. The odd, ‘Oh, I went there once with James’ is perfectly acceptable. But if your new partner mentions how his last girlfriend used a shampoo that made her hair smell of vanilla, or that her ex loved a particular restaurant and always ordered the black cod, (extra cause for concern if she’s trying to persuade you to go there too) then it’s time to be worried. Remember, if your partner is thinking about their past, they’re not thinking about your future.
2. They’re incapable of being independent
If your partner can’t choose somewhere for dinner or pick a birthday present for a friend without inundating you with questions then they might not have made the move from being a couple to being an individual. It’s important in any healthy relationship that each partner can function individually.
They could they potentially be coasting along in the relationship, relying on you to make all the decisions. Another explanation is that they can’t cope without your input for more than a few hours – a common behaviour of someone unable to cope with the loss of their last relationship.
3. They keep you at arm’s length
Physically, everything seems ok – they hold your hand, shower you with kisses…you know the score. But, emotionally something doesn’t seem quite right. Your new partner doesn’t open up to you emotionally – he or she doesn’t share their feelings about your relationship and how they feel about where you’re headed. If they’re still hung up on their ex then they’re not going to be very willing to think about a future with you.
4. They’re bitter
People rebound from relationships good and bad, and if your new partner falls into the latter category you might note a high level of animosity from them. Over time we usually come to see a broken relationship as a learning experience – ‘well, the break up was tough, but I learnt more about myself’ – but if your partner hasn’t had that time to process the break-up then it’s likely they’ll be on the defensive.
If you’re pretty sure your new love is on the rebound, what happens next is totally down to you. We can’t tell you whether you should continue dating someone you think isn’t over their ex. In some cases you might be able to show them that a loving encouraging relationship is exactly what they need. On the other hand if the way they behave makes you feel like there’s a third person in your relationship then you need to have the guts to end it before you get in too deep.