Rebounds are only good in sports.  But when it comes to break ups, the word "rebound" should be flashing in your mind as a big, red warning sign about your next attempts at love.

But how do you know if you are falling into the top traps of rebound love?  If you've just ended a relationship, here are the top two missteps to recognize.

1. Shortly after the break up, you believe you found the right person and fell in love quickly.

Yes, life is filled with the unexpected, so it's possible that you got lucky in love.  But, most of the time, speedily chosen relationships end in disappointment.  This advice sounds obvious, yet many people "avoid the hurt by filling the void."  Feeling lonely, sad, angry or confused are not pleasant feelings. A choice made out of convenience or in haste will not necessarily heal your heart-or teach your head about your previous relationships. 

2.  You choose someone who you think is "totally opposite" from your previous partner.

We often fall into what I call the "Flip Cycle of Love" in the hopes that a very different kind of partner will fix our recent hurts.  For example, if you broke up with someone who was too controlling, you might choose someone whose seemingly easy-going style later turns to unreliability.

Or, if you and your previous partner lived like "two peas in a pod," you most likely felt loved and valued-at first.  However, as time went on, you ended up feeling smothered.  Now you've chosen someone who wants so much "space" in the relationship that you feel alone. 

You can reduce your chances of making these top mistakes by following this advice.

1. Have casual, time-limited dates. Go out for breakfast, lunch or a quick bite after work.

2.  Resist the temptation to go back to each other's place.

3. Don't get into any "serious" or sexual relationships for a while.

4. Date in groups. Observe how your new partner acts with others.

5. Take time to reflect and learn about your past relationship. Make a list of what you've learned about yourself in love∧ about the types of people you choose. 

6. Also, examine how you acted in the past relationship.  Think of adjectives or words that best describe how you acted with your partner. For example, would you say you were too silent, critical, controlling, passive?  Did you put up with unacceptable behavior or hang in there too long?

7. Make a list of what you now know are your top needs in a relationship. 

8. Focus on other aspects of your life.  Pursue new or lapsed interests.

9. Take a long look at your dating patterns.  Ask a trusted friend to look with you.  See if you are caught in rebound cycles of over-correcting your previous relationship.

For example, if your last unhappy relationship was with a bossy person, you might find yourself attracted to a mild partner.  Calmness is a fine quality—as long as it doesn't make the person too indecisiveness, too dependent on you or afraid to speak up when there are hot topic issues that need to be discussed.

Or, if you were previously with someone who lived for the career, you might be over-attracted to someone who lives to play.  Play is good—but balance is the key word.  You don't want to find yourself suddenly dropping your friends or work to run off every night or weekend.

10. To avoid this over-correction tendency in all of us, one strategy is NOT to avoid dating a similar person.  Not all strong, capable people, for example, are bossy and abusive.  And not all calm, easy-going people are necessarily ineffective.

11.  Date lots of different kinds of people. Don't worry if the person doesn't seem your "type" or if there isn't any "chemistry."  Be surprised and discover the hidden gem of a person or that "diamond in the rough."

12. If you have trouble benefiting from any of this advice, seek professional help.

If you take these steps, you'll most likely be ready to put yourself in a position to meet new people and open your heart to life and love again.