Is this a Rebound Relationship?

Pixiecut86 asks:  

I just discovered that my boyfriend of 6 months was involved in a 3.5 years relationship before me. They spent less than a year together then were doing long distance for almost 3 years after that. It ended up with him proposing to her and her saying no. 6 months after that he started dating me. He’s still in touch with her, they talk and call each other regularly (he thinks I don’t know) and he hasn’t told her he has a girlfriend. Now since the beginning of our relationship he was eager for us to establish that we were boyfriend and girlfriend and he introduced me to all of his friends and includes me in his circle. We spend a lot of time together and we already went on a week-end getaway and a 10 days vacation in Portugal (both his idea). But I don’t have him on any social media website and he openly told me that he doesn’t like for us to be friends on fb or Instagram. I think I’m a rebound even if that wasn’t his intention when he started dating me and I’m questioning our whole relationship that he was more trying to convince himself and his friends that he moved on rather than he was really excited about dating me. What do you guys think ? I’m thinking about confronting him but I need an objective opinion about the whole thing before doing so.

Demetrius says:

Thank you for teaching me something today. Today I learned that the capacity of the human mind to ignore warning signs is incredibly powerful. You are so obviously in a rebound relationship I’m tempted to just say “Yes” and write an entire blog devoted to literally anything besides you being a rebound. Instead of writing that post, which probably would have been an awesome exploration of the history of comics, I’ll tell you why you’re a rebound.

First, let’s talk about the timing. After 3 and a half years, he proposed, she said no, now 6 months later he jumps into a committed relationship with someone new. I just want to be clear before I get ahead of myself that I do think it’s possible to be engaged, break off and engagement, and be ready to date 6 months after that, but I’d immediately be wary of a girl in the same situation. What troubles me is the fact that 6 months after his engagement ended, he didn’t just start dating you, but he jumped into a serious long-term commitment with you. Where was the grieving period? It’s possible that I’m drawing way too big of a conclusion here and he did do some grieving and soul-searching after things ended, but the fact that 6 months after his breakup he jumped into dating you with what seems like a lot of enthusiasm is raising a red flag to me. I’m sure you’re a wonderful girl and all, but if I was on the path to marriage and I was rejected, I doubt that 6 months later I’d be willing to date seriously. It’s not the biggest sign, but it is a big one.

The constant contact though? That’s where things escalate on the “Holy crap how can you not see how much of a RED FLAG this is?” scale. I’ll freely admit that I’ve dated some awesome women in the past, but there is no way I’d call any of them on a regular basis. Not that they aren’t great, but regular contact with someone is something you do when you want to keep them in your life in a significant way. An occasional text or call to an ex is okay (ex. Birthdays, Condolences, Congratulations, etc.) but contact on a frequent basis says to me that he’s still invested in her life. In what way he is invested in his ex is up to interpretation, but the fact that she doesn’t know that you’re his girlfriend is pretty strong evidence that you’re a rebound and he’d leave you for her in a heartbeat.

His eagerness to establish that you’re his girlfriend after 6 months of dating might sound like a good thing, but no, it’s not. It’s a classic rebound move and the worst kind, because it’s an overcompensation. Rejection hurts, on that we can all agree, but being rejected after a proposal probably hurts on a whole other level. Sometimes people deal with a rejection that major by trying to minimize its impact, and getting a new girlfriend is a great way to gloss over the fact that 4 years of your life were thrown out in one single rejection. To him, you’re a band-aid covering an open, festering wound. I hate to say it, but that’s what he’s reduced you to. Instead of disinfecting the wound, getting stitches, putting in the work to heal himself, he went out and got a fancy band-aid, put it on, then went around saying “Look guys, I’m all better, because of this Spider-Man Band-Aid!”. I’m sure you’re a lovely girl and all, but to him you’re just the means to an end. That end is “appearing as if I’m over my ex”, which he clearly is not.

The fact that you ARE NOT on his Facebook or Instagram should show you all you need to know about his opinion of you. While he’s eager to show off his new girlfriend to his friends, he’s ashamed or scared to announce to the some people (I’ll let you take a guess who) that he’s got a new lady. Those people probably include family and friends, but more importantly his ex. This goes back to the fact that his ex-almost-fiance doesn’t even know you’re in a relationship with him. Putting you on his Facebook or Instagram would announce to her that he’s off the market, and everything he has done has shown that he DOES NOT want to close the door on her.

Let’s talk about the weekend trip and the 10 day trip. Those both sound awesome! Question for you though? Do you think that 10 day trip was maybe, just maybe, what he had planned for his honeymoon? Just throwing it out there so you can let it rattle around in your head for a bit. Look, maybe I’m wrong and he’s just the type of baller who can foot the bill for a 10 day trip to Portugal and a weekend getaway 6 months into a brand new relationship. I wouldn’t go on a 10 day vacation with someone I’ve only known for 180 days, but that’s just me. I could be wrong, or, and this is more likely, you were substitute body for a trip he had planned with his ex.

If you don’t see that you’re rebound after all of this, I really don’t know what else to tell you. It’s clear that he still wants to keep in close contact with a girl who refused his proposal. It’s clear that he doesn’t want to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram. It’s clear that he has not told his ex about you. I’m not sure why you don’t see it, but it’s as plain as day.

What you do next is up to you. I don’t want to trivialize what you two have together, because 6 months isn’t 6 days, but you can’t ignore all those warning signs. You need to figure out what you should do next. The things you mention, the connection with the ex and his refusal to acknowledge your existence to her and his Facebook and Instagram friends are obviously bothering you. If you decide to work things out with him, you need to address these things. If you’d like to know what I’d do if I was in your shoes I’ll tell you. I’d put our relationship on a break, tell my partner that I think they need to acknowledge and address my issues and concerns, then really evaluate whether or not they want to be me with me and have moved on, or if I’m a rebound.

Put the pressure on him to evaluate his life and give you an honest answer. It’s entirely possible that a relationship can start as a rebound and grow into something more, but it’s not a possibility if he’s holding out hope of reconnecting with his ex.

Good Luck Out There.

6 Replies to “Is this a Rebound Relationship?”

  1. He hasn’t gotten over her and he’s keeping his options open that’s why he didn’t tell her he was seeing someone. How will the old girl take him back if she knew he was with you. The fact that you knew about it and didn’t speak up says a lot. You are willing to allow bad behavior continue unchecked. So he’s not just the issue but you are as well