Could A Rebound Relationship Be What Your Mental Health Needs?

Rebound relationships have a bad reputation. You only have to turn to pop culture, professional relationship advice, or your own loved ones' views on it to know so. If you went through a breakup and moved on to dating someone else quickly, people in your life could be telling you to be cautious. They might also be advising you to take some time for yourself — to heal and process the grief of the breakup before moving on to a new person. 

This is mainly because breakups have a negative effect on your mental health. Whether the separation was amicable or not, feelings of self-doubt, fear of loneliness, anxiety over the future, and regret from your past relationship are all common emotions that plague your mind after calling it quits with someone. Sex therapist Emily Jamea told Self, "[Rebounding] gets a bad rap because a lot of people associate rebounding with impulsive negative decisions, and that can be the case, but it's not always."

While there's nothing wrong with being cautious and taking time to heal by yourself, is it possible that there is also no need to avoid the rebound for fear of moving on too quickly? What if rebound relationships can actually be used to help with your mental health after a breakup? A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that rebounding can actually serve a purpose. Here's what it can do for you. 

Rebound relationships can help you feel more confident, independent, and ready to move on

A dip in confidence is one of the main repercussions of a breakup, and rebounds can be particularly helpful in that area, according to psychologist and author of the study Claudia Brumbaugh. "People who start new relationships quickly have better romantic life feelings. They felt more confident, desirable, loveable. Possibly because they had proven it to themselves," she told BBC Future. It is also not uncommon for someone in a rebound relationship to feel a sense of personal growth and independence, according to Brumbaugh. 

They're also a great way to put some distance between you and your ex. If you've ever been through a breakup, you are probably familiar with the feeling of temptation you get from time to time to check on your ex's whereabouts or what they're up to. Regret and a desire to rekindle things can make you stay stuck in a state of limbo and rebound relationships can give you the perfect chance to accept things and move on.

They also offer hope at a time when that feeling can be scarce. It can feel like your entire world is thrown off course when you part ways with someone. The prospect of finding someone else can feel daunting, even impossible. Whether the rebound relationship lasts or not, it can help you see that there's hope on the horizon. 

How to approach a rebound relationship

Even though some experts believe rebound relationships can be good for your mental health, there are certain things to keep in mind. 

Using the new love interest as a way to escape uncomfortable emotions from your breakup is one thing to watch out for. For example, if your partner cheated in the relationship and that was the reason for the breakup, consider seeing a therapist to process those emotions. Feelings of depression following a breakup also need to be addressed with professional support. It's best not to put that responsibility on the person you just started seeing. 

Your intentions matter too, added Jamea to Self. If you're only involved in a rebound relationship to make your ex jealous, then it might be time to take a step back and assess things objectively. It is also important to be aware of what kind of mate you've chosen as a rebound, according to breakup expert and author Amy Chan. "I often see that people choose a rebound who represents everything that they didn't get in their last relationship," she said in a TikTok. This can become problematic, especially if the rebound turns into something serious. Take your time with them and really get to know them for who they are. Do they have the qualities you actually want in a partner (even if that means admitting that you still admire some qualities in your ex)? Can this really work in the long run? It's important to be honest with yourself.