Ah the problem of the “ex-factor.” That one little annoying fly buzzing around your brand new relationship that just won’t seem to buzz the f*ck off.
It seriously sucks when someone is inserting themselves into places they don’t belong (i.e., your relationship), but what if it’s your girl who refuses to let go of her ex?
Sometimes it just takes time to get over that ex and realize that what you have now is way better, and sometimes you just need to be alone to sort through your decision alone.
What sucks worse than being in the position of wondering about an ex, is being in the position of the new love interest with a girl that seems hung up on an old flame.
Obviously, you don’t want to flat out accuse anyone of anything, but you do want to find out if she’s over her ex or not. Look for these 5 red flags, and if you seem to be checking them off one by one, it might be time to have an open and honest heart to heart about your new relationship and where it stands against an old one.
1. He comes up in conversation often
Whether the comments are positive or negative isn’t the issue. If the ex happens to pop up in every conversation, there might be some underlying problems at hand; problems she might not even be fully conscious about or aware of.
New relationships should be about learning about one another. Yes, exes and past relationships can help give insight into what you each want and would like to avoid in the future. But, those conversations should be short and simple, not a recurring topic.
It’d be best to just explain that you’d rather focus on your relationship together and not past relationships. If she can’t accept that, she might not yet be over her last relationship.
2. When she invites you out, her ex mysteriously shows up
- She invites you to a friend’s party, and he walks in. *Coincidence*
- You attend her work party, and he’s there. *Coincidence*
- She picks out a random restaurant to check out for your weekly date night. Surprise, surprise, he’s the bartender. *Mmmm little suspicious*
If she runs in the same social circles or works with her ex, sure, you’re going to just have to deal with the fact that her ex is going to be around and it’s 100% not her fault, so don’t let it become an issue you bring up often because all it’s going to breed is resentment and accusations that you’re too jealous.
But – and this is a huge but – if you happen to see her ex as often as you see her in places that you don’t have to be, but she chooses to be, then it might be time for a chat. Who knows, the guy might actually be stalking her, so it’s best to clear the air and make sure it’s not the other way around.
3. When he does show up, her attitude changes
If the ex shows up at an event you two are at and she has no reaction, then you have nothing to worry about. You’re good, bro!
However, if her reaction is at either end of the reaction spectrum, there could* be cause for concern:
1) She all of a sudden stops touching you and her body language seems uncomfortable
2) She is all of a sudden draped around your neck and trying to make out (when it’s not in her character)
* But, again, this is a touch one to gauge because if she seems uncomfortable, she could just have anxiety with any ex. After all, it is an uncomfortable situation. And, if she begins to get really close to you, she might be doing it for your benefit so you don’t feel insecure. Again, just talk to her.
4. She’s still friends with her ex*
*This one is a really tricky flag to be cautious of because some people can be friends with their exes no problem.
As long as the boundaries are clearly drawn, then you’re not really in a place to police her friendships. BUT, if the relationship seems shady, then chances are you’re a temporary substitute during one of their off again stints.
Examples of times when a friendship isn’t a good idea:
- They’re on their 5th break up during their 7 year on again/off again relationship
- They would regularly hookup before you came along even though they were broken up
- She gets drunk “I love you” texts still
Examples of times it’s normal for a friendship:
- She broke up with him months/years ago
- They had a mutual breakup because they were more friends than lovers
- They run in the same social circle and didn’t want to split up their friends
5. She texts him when she’s with you
Ugh. He’s texting me again. Let me reply and tell him we’re making out so he’ll leave me alone.
Even if she’s texting back to say leave me alone, he’s learning from her replies that she’s going to respond, even if it’s just to say screw off. So, of course he won’t stop texting her when he’s getting the yellow “proceed with caution” light and not a bright red “f*cking stop” light, which would be silence.
Hate to sound like a broken record here (and please excuse the tired cliché), but you need to – say it with me now – have an open and honest conversation. Ask her to block his number if he’s harassing her. Or, if she’s friends with the ex, simply ask her to respect your alone time, and reply to him later. Your relationship should come first.
In the end, dodging the ex drama is all about good old-fashioned communication, and it’s especially important when trying to determine if she’s over him or not.