There’s nothing like an ex wife or girlfriend lurking in the background to potentially cast a shadow of doubt over a promising new relationship.
He may say he's over her, but how can you tell the difference between a new boyfriend who is coping healthily with his previous partner and one who is still influenced by her?
London-based Manj Weerasekera, aka The Fresh Start Guy , the coach for divorced men, has put together a 10-point guide to work out whether he's still hung up on his ex.
Manj said: "All of us have a few proverbial skeletons in the closet when it comes to love so we can all understand that men may need time to get over previous wives and partners. However there must come a time when they have firmly relegated their ex in the emotional pecking order. Men can be complicated at times and you won’t always become aware of the signs that your boyfriend may still be deep in thoughts about his ex-partner."
Here Manj, who specializes in working with people looking for love after the break-up of a long term relationship, reveals the warning signs that you're not the only woman on his mind:
1. HE TALKS ABOUT HER NON-STOP
Simply put, people talk about what’s on their mind.
If you find that your boyfriend is telling you all about his ex, why they broke up, and what went wrong, you can be certain that he’s far from over her.
2. HE'S ALWAYS DOING FAVORS FOR HER
If your boyfriend is constantly doing little tasks for his ex?
While there’s no reason they can’t be on good terms, there’s also no reason your boyfriend should be his ex’s right-hand man.
3. HE'S HER "PLATONIC" DATE TO EVENTS
Is your boyfriend somebody else’s arm candy at a wedding, business dinner, or other event?
It’s a major warning sign that he may one day choose her over you.
4. HE'S STILL PART OF HER FAMILY
When your boyfriend spends Sunday dinners at his ex’s family’s house, there’s a big problem. He can never be fully invested in your relationship if he still feels like he’s a part of her family.
5. HE KEEPS TABS ON HER ONLINE
While it’s never polite to snoop, sometimes you can’t help but notice if your boyfriend has been talking to his ex online, whether it’s in the browser history or conversations over social media.
Even if they never see each other in person, this is still a strong indicator that he’s far from over her.
6. HE HASN'T GIVEN BACK HER THINGS
The first thing most of us do after a breakup is cleanse our home of all reminders of our ex... unless we’re not over the relationship yet. If there are photographs, clothing, or mementos at his place, you can be sure he’s clinging to her memory.
7. HIS EX IS NOW HIS NEW BFF
If he tells you that his ex is now his best friend, I’d recommend treating this with a note of caution. He may just find it impossible to exit her from his life, so he finds another "role" for her.
8. COMPARATIVE THINKING
Do you ever feel you’re being compared to his ex? If you do, do you come off second best? Whether he uses it as a tool to get back at you or not, it shows that she is still lurking somewhere in his mind.
9. OLD HAUNTS
Is he taking you to places where he and his ex frequented? Whether it’s to remember the good old days or a wish to bump into her again, this may not be a healthy sign.
10. YOU SENSE THAT SOMETHING JUST ISN'T RIGHT
Whether it’s a distracted look in his eye, an offhand comment, or something else, there are times you know in your heart that your new boyfriend isn’t fully over his last relationship yet.
If this is the case, listen to your intuition and talk to him about it in a non-confrontational way.
MANJ'S ADVICE: WHAT TO DO IF THE SIGNS ARE THERE
- Speak with him and ask him to explain what’s going on for him. Create a ‘safe to say’ and caring environment. Make sure you understand his situation completely. Do not get angry or excited; be attentive, allow him to finish his sentences and listen carefully. Ask constructive questions and most importantly, ensure he feels understood.
- Explain your side of things and explain how it makes you feel. Speak with clarity and be open.
- Suggest and agree to acceptable parameters of interaction between him and his ex. This may include zero contact.
- Remember, lasting relationships are built upon respect and understanding as well as love and connection.
- Respect your partner by not involving your ex in your relationship in a negative or potentially destructive way... and just as importantly, respect yourself by not putting up with somebody who does.