Lockdown has changed the way people think about dating and relationships.
The evidence is clear. Ever since the first round of lockdown, people have been looking for something more serious. And as cuffing season looms, that trend is only going to continue.
27% of Hinge users say they’ve been ghosting less over the last six months, and both in-person dates and video dates increased by 17% in August, in comparison to the same time last year.
Dating app Badoo found that 47% of their users are more eager to find a partner than they were before lockdown, and 58% of singletons are claiming to be dating in search of a potential partner, with only 20% looking for casual hook-ups.
So, the dating scene is certainly a buyer’s market for the moment. We have had a taste of the loneliness of quarantine, and people are keen to lockdown a lover before the next lockdown hits.
Beyond trying to counteract the loneliness and isolation of being locked indoors for months on end, people are also looking for new relationships because their priorities have shifted as a result of the pandemic.
‘We suspect ghosting is down overall because users have spent the last few months breaking bad habits and developing healthier ones – including being more intentional and thoughtful with their matches,’ Logan Ury, Hinge’s director of relationship science, told Metro.co.uk.
But, amid the good new dating habits, the positive reduction in ghosting and the people genuinely looking for ‘the one’, you might need to be on guard for a more negative dating trend – the quarantine rebound.
While it might be assumed that you can only rebound off a person, this trend suggests that you can rebound off a specific situation.
The quarantine rebounder is someone who is so desperate to find a companion off the back of the loneliness of lockdown, that they will try to initiate something serious with the first person they come across – even if they’re not really ready, or may not want the same thing in a few months time.
So, how do you figure out if your new relationship is the real thing, or if you’re their quarantine rebound?
The danger with being a rebound – whether it’s off the back of a relationship, or the back of lockdown – is that the other person tends to rush into things too quickly.
It can also cast doubt over the authenticity of their feelings. Who’s to say that when lockdown is over they might not just ditch you along with their failed sourdough starter and Spanish for beginners books?
Dating expert and VP of Dating.com Maria Sullivan, says it’s really important to watch out for the telltale signs that you might be a quarantine rebound.
She says that just like with traditional rebounds, quarantine rebounds are using you to get over something – the boredom and loneliness of lockdown. But she also says there are ways to tell if this is what is happeneing with your new relationship.
Short time period
Maria says if they haven’t been single for long, that could be a red flag in terms of rebounding.
Maybe their last relationship ended just before the first lockdown and they couldn’t cope with quarantining alone.
‘Look out for how long they have been single for since their last relationship ended,’ warns Maria.
It isn’t always a bad sign, but it can be when combined with other patterns of behaviour.
A classic sign of a rebound relationship is when someone is cagey about looking ahead.
‘Be aware if you notice that your date appears noncommittal when it comes to making plans for the future,’ says Maria.
‘Or if your time spent together appears to always be last-minute, or if you find yourself only hanging out with them late at night.’
This could be a signal that they aren’t taking your relationship seriously, and that they are only thinking about their own needs rather than yours.
Little to no affection
‘When a relationship first begins, the couple is in the honeymoon phase – always wanting to be with each other and doing romantic gestures such as buying flowers, presents, going on dates,’ says Maria.
‘If this isn’t happening in your new relationship, you might be a rebound.’
Take a mental note if your new partner isn’t affectionate with you, or making the effort to be romantic.
We don’t need flowers and chocolates and fancy date nights all the time, but if they’re not showing affection with their actions in the first few months, your relationship might not be the real deal.
Bringing up their ex in conversation
Of course, you might actually be a rebound from an ex partner. This could be common because people may have struggled to move on or get over an ex without the normal distractions of holidays, socialising and nights out.
‘Your new beau might not be over their ex and could be using you as a way to distract themselves from being sad or thinking about their ex,’ warns Maria.
So it’s normal to be wary if they mention their ex one too many times.
Doesn’t tell family or friends about you
‘If your new partner is keeping you a secret, this might mean they don’t see a future with you,’ says Maria.
If, after a number of months, there has still been no mention of meeting family or friends, that might be your warning to take a step back.
Listen out for whether your partner uses your name when on the phone with their parents, or do they always take their calls in another room?
You deserve to be with someone who is proud of you and wants to show you off, so anything less than this should most definitely be a red flag.
What to do if you think you’re a rebound
Maria has provided some simple advice for if you suspect your partner might be using you as a quarantine rebound:
Don’t push your new partner
To help strengthen your relationship, give your new partner the time they need to figure out what they want from your relationship.
Being understanding and giving them this time will show them how much you care for them allowing them to realise that the relationship could go somewhere great.
Talk about it
If you sense you might be a rebound, talk to your partner about it. This will help get all feelings out in the open and really strengthen the relationship.
For situations like this, communication really is key.
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