After my first love broke up with me, I asked my roommate for advice on when to date again. “When you’re not going home from the date and crying because he’s not your ex,” she said. Another friend had a different philosophy: “If you need to cry after a date, just cry. It’s OK.”

I ended up taking the second friend’s advice and meeting my next partner about two months after my breakup, while I was indeed still crying over it. And I’m glad I did. That relationship — and the dates with other people I went on before it — finally allowed me to get over my ex. It brought happiness into my life and let me see that there really were others out there for me. By the time we became serious, I wasn’t pining for my ex anymore because my new boyfriend was taking up my attention.

Some experts agree that rebound relationships are not necessarily a bad thing. “You might assume that you need a specific amount of time to elapse before moving on from a past relationship, but a 2014 study found that allowing less time to span between your last breakup and current relationship is positively correlated with higher self-esteem, [greater] well-being, and more respect for your new partner,” says Astroglide’s resident sexologist Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D. “Studies also suggest that starting a new relationship can help you to get over a breakup and boost your confidence as a dater.”

Rebound relationships can be rocky territory, though, so tread carefully. Here are some tips for making them last.

1. Make sure you’re not dating someone just to get over the breakup.

“In the immediate aftermath of a breakup, we tend to want to make the pain go away,” says Gary Brown, Ph.D., a dating and couples therapist in Los Angeles. “Our need to avoid or at least lessen the pain can impact our ability to make good judgments — and that is why many rebound relationships don’t work.”

Before you decide to get into a rebound relationship, make sure it’s with someone you actually want to date — and would want to date even if you weren’t rebounding. If you lower your standards just so that you’re not thinking about your ex, you may soon have yet another ex to think about.

2. View your new partner as an individual, not a replacement.

You don’t want to do the exact same things you did with your ex with your new partner or compare them to each other. “Create new rituals and explore activities you enjoy in your new relationship without the need to compare, contrast, or replace the ones from your past,” O’Reilly suggests. “If you approach your new relationship with an open mind — as opposed to a replacement for what you once have — you can lay the foundation for a lasting, meaningful connection.”

3. Let go of expectations.

Different relationships fulfill different roles in our lives, so don’t expect your new partner to give you everything your old partner did. They may do some things better and some things less well, and that’s perfectly OK.  

“If you’ve just come out of a relationship, chances are that you’ve got some expectations,” says Adina Mahalli, MSW, a certified relationship expert and mental health consultant for Maple Holistics. “Whether they’re good or bad, it’s important to put them aside if you want your rebound relationship to be more than just a rebound. Try to keep an open mind and appreciate this new person and romance for what they are and just be present in your current relationship.”

4. Be vulnerable.

If you’ve just gone through a breakup, opening up can be scary. However, it’s the only way you’re going to get close to someone again. Mahalli recommends being honest about any emotions you’re feeling about the relationship, including fears you may have because of your past relationship.

“Vulnerability is an essential component of any relationship, but it can be the hardest part when you’re still getting over someone else,” she says. “This doesn’t mean you should reveal your deepest darkest secrets, but if you’re comfortable opening up, don’t hold back.”

5. Process your breakup.

While you don’t have to be 100% over your ex to move on, you should be actively working to get through the breakup. This means allowing yourself to feel all the emotions it’s brought up rather than trying to suppress them.

“Be honest about your thoughts and feelings,” says David Bennett, certified counsellor and owner of Double Trust Dating and Relationships. “Usually people simply say ‘I’m fine’ and then hold in all of their feelings.” Discussing your feelings with friends or even a therapist could help in this situation.

6. Forget about your ex.

Even if you still have feelings for your ex, it’s important not to act on them by staying in contact (beyond a possible friendship, but that’s tricky territory as well) or stalking them on social media. “Seeing what your ex is up to constantly just brings back the old feelings and restarts the healing process,” says Bennett. “I’m not a big fan of blocking people on social media, but if it’s for your own mental health (verses for spite), then blocking them is a good idea.”

7. Don’t think of it as a rebound relationship.

Entering a new relationship shortly after ending the last one doesn't automatically make it a rebound. It's important to avoid letting others define your new relationship with these types of labels.

When friends and family express concerns about the speed of your new partnership, it's easy to fall into the trap of seeing it through the lens of their judgments. Labels can be harmful, and the tag of being in a "rebound" relationship carries the implication that you're not serious about the new connection, treating it as temporary. It's important to throw away these labels, both in your conversations with others and in your own mindset, to nurture and grow your current relationship for the long haul.

8. Make plans for the future.

You don’t need to get serious right away, but having some plans for the future, even if it’s just a few months down the line, can help you view your relationship as something that could, if you choose, be long-term, rather than just a distraction from your last one. Making plans and creating memories are foundational steps towards a committed relationship.

9. Learn from your past relationship.

If your ex is still on your mind, you don’t have to fight it. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn from your last relationship. Avoiding mistakes you made with your ex will help give your new relationship the best possible shot.

Think of looking back not as getting stuck in the past, but as a way to build a better future. Figuring out what went wrong and why can help you make smarter choices now. It's really about using your past to grow. Notice the things that didn't work out before and try a new approach this time. By doing this, you're not just moving on; you're setting up a stronger foundation for your new relationship.