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with Sam Garanzini, LMFT & Alapaki Yee, LMFT

How to Spot a Serial Rebounder Like a Pro

It’s good for you to be in a relationship —

So, why do you get a bad rep for being someone who moves on soon after a relationship ends?

If you find yourself reactivating and polishing your Tinder, Grindr or OkCupid profiles at the first sign of heartbreak, you could be what we call a serial rebounder.

A serial rebounder is always in a relationship soon after — or in some cases, even before — their previous one is over.

Is it okay to always be in a relationship?

Gina and Jaz recently took our Communication Style Quiz and found a troubling pattern plaguing Gina throughout almost all her past relationships.

When Gina first met Jaz, things were great.

Sure, there were a few red flags, but Jaz ignored them — nobody’s perfect, right?

Jaz and her friends thought Gina was too needy.

She was fresh out of a relationship so, from an outside perspective, it didn’t seem like the right time for them to be together.

Gina is never single for long. She’s always in a relationship.

If this sounds like you, let me help you understand your situation — and how to break the cycle.

Is It Wrong to Be a Serial Monogamist?

Yes and no.

Being a serial monogamist blurs the line between the pain of heartbreak and the high you get from being in a new, seemingly perfect relationship.

If you are forever swinging from one relationship to the next like an emotional monkey, you aren’t giving yourself time to reflect on what went wrong with your previous partner.

It is not okay to deal with heartbreak by jumping into yet another unhealthy relationship.

Yet, human beings are like pack animals — we thrive when we’re with other people.

So, how do you know if you’re on the rebound?

What Are the Red Flags?
For most people, it makes sense to stay single and play the field for a while after exiting a long-term relationship.

Having said that, we all have that one friend who tells us the best way to get over our ex is to get under the next.

Jumping into a relationship too soon after a breakup is often indicative of a deeper, underlying issue or, in some cases, self-esteem issues.

Common Indicators of a Rebound Relationship

  • One common indicator is a similarity between how your relationships end and the characteristics of the people you date.
    Maybe all your relationships break down after the same length of time.
    If you discover a pattern here, you may be a serial rebounder.
  • Another clue is talking about your ex all the time with your new partner.
    You may even bring them up on the first date, talking about what they did and didn’t do. Sound familiar?
    You could be a serial rebounder.
    Talking casually about a past relationship is okay, but obsessing over it often means you are still preoccupied with thoughts of your ex.
  • Human beings will always show you who they really are within the first five minutes of meeting them.
    We are creatures of habit.
    If your new prospective partner is late for your first date, don’t expect them to be on time for future meetups.
    If their behavior suggests they’ve had volatile breakups with several of their previous partners or they’re bad-mouthing their ex to you — a relative stranger — they may be a serial rebounder.

Heed the red flags and change course before you get in too deep.

Figure Out What You Can Tolerate
Everyone has a different threshold of how much insanity they can tolerate.

A partner who tells you the whole tragic tale of how bad their last relationship was but has done nothing to better themselves will likely do the same to you.

It’s not a good sign. That cycle will repeat itself with you — and their future partners to come.

They may feel bad about it, but if they don’t take any action to correct their behavior, they will remain trapped in self-destruct mode.

A partner who has gone through an intense breakup — we’re talking keying cars and setting clothes on fire here — but has learned from the experience through therapy or counseling demonstrates growth.

They have taken time to better themselves before their next relationship.

So, is it okay to always be in a relationship?

Long-term studies of human behavior show people who have healthy relationships enjoy a longer life, better health, and fewer incidences of chronic disease.

Healthy relationships are good for us.

Learn the tell-tale signs of a serial rebounder to avoid your next toxic encounter.

Are you stuck in a pattern where your relationships aren’t developing and each one ends exactly like the last?

You should take our Communication Style Quiz.

Meeting new people all the time can be both physically and emotionally draining.

Why not figure out your communication style and benefit from healthier, longer-lasting relationships?

Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.

For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit:

How to Spot a Serial Rebounder Like a Pro

Sam Garanzini, LMFT

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APA Reference
Garanzini, S. (2019). How to Spot a Serial Rebounder Like a Pro. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 May 2019
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