- Abstract The interaction between a pair of Bloch fronts forming a traveling domain in a bistable medium is studied. A parameter range beyond the nonequilibrium Ising-Bloch bifurcation is found where traveling domains collapse. Only beyond a second threshold the repulsive front interactions become strong enough to balance attractive interactions and asymmetries in front speeds, and form stable traveling pulses. The analysis is carried out for the forced complex Ginzburg-Landau equation. Similar qualitative behavior is found in the bistable FitzHugh-Nagumo model.