Nothing can be more frustrating than finally finding a guy you feel like you want to settle down with, only to not be able to shake this nagging suspicion that your boyfriend is still pining or thinking about his ex-boyfriend.
While you can understand that he has a past, I would also expect him not to be distracted by those old flames that broke his heart and instead be excited and driven by the prospect of a healthier, more fulfilling relationship – with you!
So how can you tell if your guy is obsessed with a past love that might interfere with what you’re trying to develop with him?
Here are some telltale signs that could snag your antenna.
1. Constantly mentions his ex
Whenever you have arguments of any kind, your guy seems to have a special ability to ingratiate his ex into the conversation, whether it’s to use him as an example, to reminisce about the glory days, to bash him, or to toot his own horn.
Regardless of whether the tone of your inclusion is positive or negative, it still shows that the ex has some degree of significance (which may be unconscious to your partner).
The key here is that this behavior tends to be repetitive, patterned and consistent, or sometimes the opposite, not talking about your ex at all, could be an indicator.
2. You still have your ex on file on your cell phone or email
The inability to let go could also be reflected in you continuing to store your ex’s contact number in your phone or address book. Even if you no longer communicate with him, the symbolism of your inability to delete this information could have some significance.
The inability to let go could be reflected in you continuing to store your ex’s contact number in your phone.
The same could be said for holding on to gifts, photos or love letters from your ex that you leave in plain sight and handle frequently.
3. She calls out her ex’s name during sex.
Perhaps this is a bit dramatic, but a consistent pattern of feeling like your boyfriend isn’t fully present during intimacy may be a sign. Or are sexual difficulties starting to infiltrate the bedroom?
While you can certainly be distracted by any number of other reasons, when some of these other variables are present, this could be a possibility.
This does not necessarily mean that you are fantasizing about having sex with your ex. It could be representative of your adjustment to being intimate with someone other than the man you last felt comfortable with: your ex.
4. Spends all his time with his ex
While many gay men seem to have the ability to maintain platonic friendships with their ex-partners, when you start to see an imbalance in the amount of time he spends with him in front of you, this could be a clue.
Which relationship do you seem to be devoting the most energy to? If you experience a tug-of-war dynamic in your relationship where you feel your boyfriend is attentive one minute and distant the next, this could also be indicative that he has unresolved feelings for his ex.
5. Follow your ex’s every move
If your boyfriend seems to watch his ex’s life with determination and excessive curiosity, this could be a sign of unfinished business.
Reviewing your ex’s social media posts or asking friends about what the ex is doing on a regular basis would be examples to corroborate this possibility.
What can you do about the situation?
1. Allow your partner some time to grieve the loss of your previous relationship.
Everyone needs time, at their own pace and in their own way, to adjust to a breakup. His distraction may have nothing to do with how good it feels to be with you now.
2. Avoid letting paranoia sabotage a good thing you have.
Avoid making assumptions and make a realistic assessment of yourself to make sure you are not projecting your own problems onto this situation or that you may not be struggling with jealousy that could cloud your view of what is going on.
Make a realistic assessment of yourself to make sure you are not projecting your own problems.
Focus your energies on removing these emotional barriers, as well as looking for your role in any contribution to the relationship problems.
3. Communicate your concerns to your partner without judgment.
Use lots of “I feel” statements, validate how meaningful this relationship is to you, and point out discrepancies (use factual examples and evidence) in your partner’s behavior (not him as a person!) that lead you to have questions.
“Help me understand” and “How can I help?” can be good questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and collaborate on how to make your relationship feel more secure.
It may also be helpful to work things out with the couple’s counselor or coach.
What are some other signs you have experienced? How did you resolve this dilemma?