So your ex has left you with a broken heart, and to make matters worse, he’s already with someone else. You’re still heartbroken, so how is it even possible that he’s already moved on?
Here’s the thing: Odds are good he hasn’t.
Instead, it’s quite likely he’s thrown himself into a rebound relationship, because a superficial relationship with someone else is easier for him than dealing with his feelings for you.
This may well be the case – or even especially the case, for some guys – if he can’t help telling everyone how great this new relationship is, if she’s completely different from you, and he’s putting in effort with her that he just didn’t with you.
All of those can be signs that he’s struggling to process his relationship with you. Or, in other words, that he’s rebounding.
But if you want to be sure, check out these five sure signs that he might not yet be as over you as he says, and that his new relationship is simply a rebound, his way of refusing to deal with his feelings for you.
Speed Dating, Anyone?
Do some math here: Did he jump right into dating someone else immediately after you two broke up? One rule of thumb for how long it takes to get over someone is a week for every month you were together.
A caveat there is that everyone processes at different rates, but if you were together for a year, and he’s dating someone else within a week, that’s clearly a rebound.
No one can move on that quickly, not without simply avoiding their feelings. Yes, some people can process more quickly than others, but think about your ex: You know him better than that. Was he someone that needed time to process difficult or emotional things?
If so, then jumping directly into a new relationship is a pretty clear sign that he hasn’t gotten over you yet. Instead, he’s simply trying not to think about you with his new rebound relationship.
One final caveat here: This may not apply to cheaters. If he cheated on you, this isn’t the article for you. Admit you’re better off without a cheating sack of shit in your life, and move on.
How Long Has She Been Around?
Not only is it important to note how long he waited before jumping into a new relationship, it’s also important to note how long he’s been with the new girl. If it’s been more than a few months, there’s a chance it isn’t just a rebound.
But, keeping in mind that studies estimate more than 65% of rebound relationships fail in the first six months, the less time they’ve been together, the more likely it is that it’s simply a rebound, his way of avoiding dealing with his feelings about and for you.
Look, most guys are really not good at dealing with their feelings. Rebound relationships give us a chance to avoid dealing with our feelings by replacing those feelings (sadness, loss, grief) with more fun feelings (mostly sex, to be honest).
If we haven’t been with the new girl for very long, and we jumped into the rebound straight out of our break-up? You can guess with fair certainty that we’re still thinking about you…possibly even as we’re sleeping with the new girl.
How Different Is She?
This is one of the big flashing signs that your ex is in a rebound relationship: How different is the new girl from you?
If she’s completely different, that’s a pretty good sign that he’s simply not over you. Call it overcompensating.
The truth is, he’s still grieving the loss of you, even if he won’t admit it, which is why he doesn’t want to be with someone like you right now. The less like you the new girl is, the less likely it is that she’ll remind him of you – which means the less he’ll be tempted to think about you, or so he hopes.
As a result, he overcompensates for losing you by dating the exact opposite of you. After all, if things didn’t work with you, they’ll work with the exact opposite kind of person, right?
The truth is, if he was with you for a long time, it’s because the two of you worked, and had a special connection.
Most often if he’s with someone completely different, it’s because he’s trying not to process his relationship with you. This is a pretty clear sign he still has feelings for you, and is simply running away from those feelings to his rebound.
How Quickly Is He Moving With Her?
This might be the biggest sign of all: The faster he’s moving with her, the more sure you can be that he’s in a rebound.
Remember what I said about most guys not being very good at processing their feelings? This is somewhere where that holds especially true. If he’s still stuck on you – even if he’s not wholly conscious of that fact – he’s more likely to move things quickly with the new girl.
So if he’s super serious about her and they’ve been together two weeks? That’s a pretty good sign his heart is still torn, and he’s throwing himself wholly into this new relationship to avoid thinking about his feelings for you, by transferring those feelings onto the new girl.
I mean, think about it. How well can he really even know the new girl if they’ve been together a couple of weeks? But rather than admit that, and take his time getting to know her, he’s taking his fully developed feelings toward you and transferring them to the new girl.
He’s trying to take the intimacy, comfort, and happiness he had with you at your relationship’s best and force it into the center of this new relationship, because that fills the emotional black hole where you are in his heart.
That’s the whole point of a rebound: He’s trying to get over the pain of losing you, and what the two of you had. And the harder you see him pushing the new relationship, the more sure you can be that he’s really struggling with the loss of you in his life.
For many guys, the pain of a breakup is simply more than they’re willing to do the work of pushing through and processing. As a result, they panic, consciously or not, and try to force intimacy and support elsewhere to replace what they’ve just lost.
So if he can push the new relationship forward quickly, that’s his way of trying to both decrease the pain he is feeling and replace the intimacy and emotional connection he’s lost.
It’s the same reason you might see him spending all of his time with the new girl: Because when he is alone he has an opportunity to realize what he’s just lost, and feel the connection he’s lost with you, and he doesn’t want to have that processing time, because it’s painful, and he doesn’t like that.
He can’t replace the time he spent with you in a few short weeks with someone new – but that doesn’t mean he might not try.
So if you see him escalating the new relationship, that’s a pretty clear sign that he’s not letting it progress naturally, because he’s still hung up on you, and that’s a real good sign that it’s a rebound, and not something more meaningful, no matter how much he might say otherwise.
How Is He Toward You?
Similarly, watch how he acts toward you. If he goes out of his way to tell you how happy he is, rubbing the new relationship in your face, that’s a pretty clear sign he still very much cares what you think.
He’s hurt by the loss of you in his life, and he’s taking that pain out on you by trying to hurt you back with this new relationship.
Think about it: If he was really over you, would he really care whether or not you knew he was in a new relationship? No! He’d be busy trying to emotionally connect and grow with his new girlfriend. The fact that he’s going out of his way to tell you about it means that he still has feelings for you.
On the flip side, if he seems to be hiding the new girl from you, it’s time to look at how your relationship together was. First, he could be hiding the new girl in the hopes that he still has a chance of getting back together with you. (If that’s the case, she’s a definite rebound.)
Second, though, he could be trying to avoid drama. If there was crazy drama between you previously, this is a fair bet.
So think about how the two of you worked, and how he’s acting toward you. Is he trying to make you jealous? It’s a rebound. Is he trying to get back together with you? It’s a rebound. Is he simply trying to avoid drama? It might not be a rebound.
If your ex is exhibiting more than a few of those five signs, though, you can be pretty sure that he’s not really over you – at which point you need to decide how you feel about that.
Do you want your ex back? Sometimes if things haven’t worked between you, that’s for the better. Try to be coolly rational here, as well as trusting your heart. Is he a long-term potential future, or was he simply a good thing while it lasted?
If you decide you do want him back, you need to make a plan; simply sitting on the sidelines isn’t going to get him back. While you make that plan, though, you can take comfort in the fact that he’s in a rebound relationship – because he’s pretty clearly not over you yet.