Have you started dating someone who’s three to six months out of a serious relationship? There are some things you need to watch out for. Unless he actually said that he’s over his ex-girlfriend and is fine with how things ended, there is bound to be some attachment there.
Guys might not show it, but they also get hurt after a relationship ends. In fact, he might even be more hurt than you think because he keeps his feelings close to his chest. He’s probably still on the emotional mend, so you need to decide whether to stick around or move on to someone more emotionally available.
Start by asking yourself a few key questions about his behavior.
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1. How does he talk about her?
A few things to watch out for: him slagging off his ex – which could be his way of dealing with the pain – or him saying only nice things about her or not mentioning her at all. Either one of these might be a sign that you’ve got a problem on your hands.
If he’s still fond of his ex, it’s an indicator that he hasn’t moved on from her. What if his ex wants him back? Do you feel like he might run straight back into her arms?
Does he blame himself for the break-up? Maybe that’s his subtle way of showcasing that he regrets the past and wishes he could change it.
If he can talk about his ex in an objective way without blaming her or getting wound up, it’s a sign that he’s emotionally mature and ready to move on. Of course, there’s always the chance that he’s putting on a show so that you believe he’s available.
There’s a huge level of trust required to start dating someone who is recently out of a relationship. You simply cannot know what their relationship was like, how in love they were, or the memories they’ve shared. You are the new woman, so you need to decide if you are up to the task.
2. Are things moving too quickly?
Another sign that your boyfriend is not quite over his ex-girlfriend is that he’s coming on too strong. He texts you all the time, wants to hang out every day, and is talking about introducing you to his parents after just a few dates.
Could it be that he’s still hurting after the break-up and is over-compensating? Perhaps he’s afraid to be alone, or afraid that you might dump him. He desperately wants to believe that this is serious and you won’t disappoint him.
Someone who’s feeling more vulnerable tends to rush in quickly into a new relationship. It’s almost as if none of this is about you and he’s just trying to recreate his past relationship.
3. Who ended the relationship?
When it comes to the recovery process, there is often a huge difference between the guy who was the dumper and the one who was the dumpee. If he broke things up with his ex, he might have already made peace with the ending – even before it actually happened. Therefore, he’s more emotionally available and in a strong place to date you.
If he got dumped, on the other hand, he might be grieving the end of the relationship and be desperate to truly connect with someone new in order to make himself feel better again.
If he’s up for talking about the relationship and how it ended, it should give you some really good insight as to whether you two are in a good place.
Next up, determine for yourself whether he’s still not over her by watching out for these signs:
- He mentions her all the time and talks about her with fondness. It’s okay to tell him if this makes you feel uncomfortable. A strict “no ex-talk” rule might be required, for both of your sakes.
- He compares you to her but pretends like it’s no big deal when you call him out. No one likes to be compared to someone else, especially if that someone was really special. It’s way too much pressure and not fair.
- He won’t talk about her at all. So, you probably have to guess what went wrong and you are checking her out on social media so you can find out more about her.
- He is unable to be alone and gets co-dependent and needy with you. In this situation, you may feel like things are moving too fast for you, so you need to tell him that. You don’t want to be someone’s rebound, right?
- He struggles to let you in and open up. As a result, you keep wondering how he feels about you.
- He wants a serious relationship with you straight away. Yes, it might be a sign that he really likes you, but it could also be a sign of his fear of being alone. He’s trying to move on from his ex faster than is healthy.
- He still talks to or sees his ex and doesn’t see anything wrong with that. If it bothers you, you just have to confront him about it.
- He can’t tell what went wrong between them. He acts all clueless when you ask, which makes you feel like he’s someone who doesn’t like to accept blame.
- He’s jealous of her new boyfriend and calls him a loser. It makes you feel frustrated when he brings him up, because the last thing you want to hear about is his ex.
- He keeps tabs on her on social media and somehow always knows exactly what she’s up to and with whom. Is he making her a priority over you? That’s not a good sign for your relationship.
Here’s how to date a guy who is not over his ex.
1. Ask about his ex
One way to save yourself potential disappointment is to ask about his ex when things are starting to feel serious. Don’t be too shy to get some intel on:
- Who broke up with whom and was there any specific reason?
- When was the last time they saw each other and how did it go?
- Has he dated anyone else ever since?
- Is he still on dating sites?
If you find out that he’s not over his ex, why is he even on a date with you? Go ahead and ask him! You’ve got to lay the cards out if this has any chance of working out.
2. Trust him when he says he isn’t ready
If the guy you like tells you that he isn’t looking for anything serious, believe him. Don’t just assume that he will change your mind and that you are the woman he needs right now. It’s really painful when you’ve caught feelings for a guy, and he suddenly delivers the “I am not over my ex” speech.
You’ve got to have the self-respect to accept that and not pressure him for a relationship when he’s clearly not ready. Maybe him being unavailable makes him that much hotter and irresistible, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to walk away and find someone more attainable.
You can look at this experience and choose to see the positives:
- He was honest with you
- He hasn’t known you for a long time, so there’s always a chance he will develop feelings for you
- He was HONEST with you. You know he didn’t have to but he was anyway, which makes him a decent guy.
You could at least rest assured knowing that he isn’t using you as a rebound and wasting your time.
3. Slow down instead of cutting him off
If you really like this guy and think you can be good together, you can choose to simply slow down and not move on from him entirely. Accepting that he needs time to heal from his breakup is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know each other and not rush into things.
A good rule of thumb is to always move slower than a man would like to. It usually does wonders for the dynamic as men prefer to chase women, and a woman who’s too eager is automatically less attractive.
4. Continue to focus on your life
No matter how much you like this guy, if you don’t believe he’s truly over his ex, you need to protect your feelings. That means focusing on your life and career and not overly focusing on him.
Spend time with single friends and people who don’t define themselves by their relationships. Enjoy your life and be proud of it. If this guy will develop feelings for you, it will be when he sees you living your best, independent life, not if you latch on to him.
5. Don’t bring her up
As part of his recovery, he may need to block his ex on everything in order to be able to cope with the breakup. The best thing you can do is respect that and not bring her up. Men recover from breakups in different ways.
If he would rather not be reminded of his failed relationship, you’ve got to respect that.
6. Coach him
Whether you are going to stay with this guy for a while or not, you might bring an invaluable perspective into his life and his past relationship. If he’s willing to open up to you about his ex, there may be patterns and behaviors that you spot straight away.
Want to help him learn from his mistakes? Coach him to understand what went wrong and what he could have done better, including:
- Was he taking her for granted so she ended up feeling used?
- Was he a workaholic and she got tired of waiting for him to spend quality time with her?
- Was he keeping her a secret from his friends and family?
- Was he unwilling to define the relationship and played it casually?
- Was he jealous of her and letting it get the best of him?
Of course, this process comes with a big warning: you don’t have to mentor the guy you date to get over his ex so that he can become emotionally available to you. It isn’t a sure-fire way to make him fall in love with you either.
If he does need a female perspective on his past relationship though, the least you can do is give him your honest thoughts on it.
7. Get on the same page
It’s important to understand what he needs from you and whether you are the right woman for him. In the meantime, you also need to look after yourself. If he’s too fragile after his breakup, this might not be for you.
You are not responsible for fixing him after his failed relationship, and he also doesn’t owe you anything. Make sure you are honest with each other.
At the end of the day, if he’s shared what his relationship with his ex was really like, you will end up drawing conclusions:
- About what he’s like in a relationship and what he values
- About what kind of person she was
If all you can think about is that she sounds like a right b****, you will probably feel really protective of him and want to make things right – show him what a healthy relationship is.
However, you can’t make these decisions for him or speed up his healing process. It’s up to him to want something (and someone) better.
He might still be invested in her life and want to stay friends with her. It’s probably a sign he isn’t over her and he’s holding out hope that they might still end up together.
There’s no easy way to date a guy who is not over his ex. You have to remember to:
- Have self-respect to walk about from it if it isn’t serving you
- Build your relationship on what bonds you together and not allow him to discuss similarities between you and his ex