When you’re dating as an adult, it’s pretty much a given that whoever you’re with will enter the relationship with some kind of relationship history. Although the healthy thing to do is to let the past stay in the past, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes people will enter into new relationships without being completely over an ex.
As relationship coach, tells Bustle, being with someone who is still hung up on their ex is never really a good sign. “Sure we all have our moments where we may reminisce, she says, “but if you are still at the point where your partner can’t let go of what was then, that is a sign that it’s time to take care of you.”
“You end up depriving your new partner of really getting to experience the real you,” Ponaman says. If you find that you’re with someone who’s still hung up on their ex, you may end up feeling a little bit cheated.
So, how can you tell if your partner still isn’t over their ex? Here are some things they will do that you should look out for, according to experts.
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1They Still Keep Photos Of Their Ex
This one is pretty obvious, but if your partner still keeps photos of their ex around, they’re not over them. “It might be in their wallet, on their desk, or somewhere more hidden than that, but it’s something they’ll refuse to get rid of because they’re ‘still friends,’” director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, tells Bustle.
But keeping an old photo of past love around isn’t usually appreciated by their current partner. More often than not, it sends the message that they’re still holding on to something there. “If you’re in this situation, express your feelings about the photo’s presence in a calm but firm way,” he says. You want to be direct in order to let them know that it’s not OK with you. But it’s equally important to watch your tone. Refrain from sounding accusatory so it won’t blow up into a fight.
2They Make Suggestions To Do Things With You That They Used To Do With Their Ex
If your partner is still hung up on their ex, they may suggest to do things that they used to do with their past partner. For instance, maybe they used to go to a particular restaurant together, and it holds a lot of memories for them.
“People that are still connected to their exes will still have emotional connection to the things and places they associate with them,” Ponaman says. “If they start a new relationship, even if they’re still connected to an ex, it’s natural that they would want to re-visit these places and try to replace the old memories with new ones.”
If you find this to be the case, it may be something to address with a discussion.
3They Bring Up Their Ex In Conversations Out Of Nowhere
This is another fairly obvious one. If your partner is constantly finding ways to bring up their ex in your conversations.”This, of course, is unfair and uncool,” Jeannie Assimos, eharmony is Chief of Advice tells Bustle. “I would definitely be concerned if I had to hear about an ex constantly, and felt they still had unresolved feelings for another person.”
If they tend to get heated or emotional when talking about the ex, this is also a sign that haven’t really let the past go. If you’re in this situation, Assimos says, you have to protect your heart. “Be careful if someone has an ex that is still pretty intertwined in their life,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and find out where the relationship stands. As the new partner in this person’s life, you should come first. Period.”
4They Make Suggestions On How You Should Act Based On How Their Ex Did It
If your partner isn’t completely over their ex, they will make suggestions to you on how to behave in ways that are very similar to their ex. For instance, if their ex was more sensitive but you tend to use humor to lighten the mood, Ponaman says that the perosn who’s still hung up on an ex will tell their partner to be more sensitive. “When you make suggestions to change your new partner’s behavior, you’re trying to emotionally replace your ex by essentially replicating them into this new person,” she says. They may not be over the past, and it’s definitely something to talk about.
5They Will Make The Effort To Reach Out On Their Ex’s Birthday
If your partner still makes the effort to do something out of the ordinary for their ex on their birthday or holidays, that may be a problem. As matchmaker and dating coach, Stef Safran, tells Bustle, “That might mean that they are too connected currently.” Although she believes a “Happy Birthday” text is fine (given that they tell you and you’re OK with it), anything else can be “a bit gray.”