When your heart hasn’t healed and your mind hasn’t let go of a past relationship (or past relationships), you bring your emotional baggage into new ones. Emotional baggage puts a damper on intimacy and emotional closeness, which can hold you back from truly connecting with someone new.
In my practice as a Psychotherapist, I’ve had many clients who enter new relationships soon after a breakup. When you enter a new relationship while still healing, you often lack clarity of how you truly feel. Is it a rebound or are your feelings genuine?
Your new relationship might be a rebound if you’re with someone new to take your mind off the last one.
It’s a rebound when:
1. You think about your ex more than you should.
If you find yourself comparing your ex to your new partner, it’s likely because you’ve been thinking about your ex a lot. You haven’t let them go. You’re bringing emotional baggage into your new relationship, and it will be difficult for it to flourish. You are likely looking for similarities because you miss your ex and you find their qualities comforting in your new partner.
2. The relationship revolves around sex.
We sometimes use sex as a distraction when we haven’t fully healed and let go of a past relationship. If your new relationship is highly sexual, without much depth or emotional closeness, you might be rebounding.
3. You want to be distracted by the fun.
You want to keep busy with your new partner, with a focus on fun. Rather than being alone together in an intimate setting, you prefer dates around a group of people, which creates less room for intimacy. Fear of intimacy is connected to a fear of commitment and a fear of getting hurt. If you fear intimacy it’s a sign that you haven’t yet grieved your last relationship.
Above all, if you’re rebounding you feel that you’re holding back. You’re not giving your full self to this person because you haven’t let go of the past.
If you’re falling for your new partner, your heart is open and your focus is on them only.
It’s love when:
1. Your new relationship feels very different than what just ended.
Your new relationship feels good and emotionally safe. It feels like it fits. It’s easy and might even feel like a relief after your last relationship.
2. You can talk about your feelings.
You have deep conversations about what happened in your last relationship and what went wrong. You can confide in them and trust in them, and you even admit to the mistakes you made. Your ability to be open and discuss the last relationship means you’re emotionally available. When you have intimate conversations it builds more than friendship. Your new partner might even help you grieve in a connected, intimate way.
3. You’re not rushing into the relationship.
Rushing comes from a place of insecurity. Love is patient, and if it feels right you trust that it will be there tomorrow. You know it’s going to flow and evolve naturally. When it feels right, there’s no need to push it anywhere else because where it is right now is perfect.