They can’t stop talking about their ex
The occasional reference to a past relationship is no cause for alarm, but if they keep bringing them up in conversation, there may be more to it.
If it’s happening 24-seven, it’s a problem. It’s going to keep both of you from enjoying the new relationship,
says couples counselor Joan Sherman, LMFT. Sherman suggests that if every story involves their ex, it’s a sign they haven’t moved on.
Completely silent and never talk about their ex
At first you may think they just don’t think about them, but the truth is if there’s too much silence about a former partner it may suggest a lack of closure. Guilty feelings for continuing to have feelings for their ex may make a person not want to talk about them at all. Sherman suggests that if you notice your partner seems afraid to bring up their previous lover or they’ve tried and it becomes a sore point, you may want to ask yourself why?
Sure there may be an occasional look to see how they’re doing, but if you find yourself constantly visiting an ex’s Facebook page or Googling them, continuing frequent online tabs can be a major red flag.
Contact overload with an ex
Frequent emails, calls, texts, or online messages with an ex can take away from the current relationship. Carolyn Hax, columnist for the Washington post suggests it’s a matter of context.
“If we’re talking weekly emails and she isn’t fully invested in the current relationship, then it’s not a sign of anything. But if it’s weekly emails and she says she’s devoted, then a suspicious partner has a legit concern. The cord hasn’t been cut,” states Hax.
She says the ex’s name during sexual climax
Beyond bad timing, this suggests a continued flame carried for an ex. Gray suggests, that during an orgasm the mind is uninhibited, which makes it easier for someone else’s name to slip out.
Reviewing sentimental items from a past relationship is part of the healing process, Sherman says. But when the feelings are resolved, it’s time to let go of reminders; that being said, it may be okay to keep a few items that are reminders of the past. One does not need to set out a shrine to their ex, but items should be put away from everyday reach.
Hot and cold romance
Watch out for a lover who is indecisive with their affection. It might be a sign of inner turmoil, Gray says. They may be cold and pull away when feeling guilty about not giving the same form of love in their past relationship. Then they may act passionate again in the relationship when feeling guilty or withdrawing.
Not ready for a commitment speech
The ultimate sign of not being ready to move on is when one keeps their new partner on a hook, but their not wanting to move forward in a relationship that has been longstanding. Lines such as “I want to see other people and you” and “I love you but I don’t think I’m in love with you” are such examples. It’s possible that their feelings from a past relationship are holding them back from moving forward.
Problems in the bedroom
Having trouble reaching orgasm can be a symptom of emotional hang-up, Gray says. “The guilt creates a sense of unworthiness to receive a partner’s love and can hold you back from fully surrendering to your partner.” However, it should be said that many other factors (psychological or medical) can impact arousal states and it should not be assumed that problems with arousal are due to having a continued emotional bond with an ex.
You just have that gut feeling
Instinct may direct us at times to review underlying issues that have yet to be resolved. It’s suggested that if something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth discussing the issues at hand. It may lead to bonding with your partner or learning that they want to be with someone else. If you want to do detective work and go through their materials, there’s a good chance the relationship has trust problems, Sherman says. It’s advised to hold off on snooping and try to get to the core issue of distrust.
If you find yourself going through this list and several items are fitting your experience, it may be time to take a step back and look at what you want to do next.
If you are on the receiving end of this and it looks as if your partner is still hung-up on their ex, you may want to sit down with them and express how you feel.
Relationships can resolve issues of trust and sometimes putting the problem in the forefront can actually help your partner realize their past relationship is hurting their current relationship.
The sooner you say something the more likely the issue can be resolved. That being said, be cautious of how the message is delivered. If using anger or jealousy when expressing your concerns it may push your partner away verses it feeling like a safe arena to discuss the current problem at hand. Hax says, “Often a hang-up is just feelings. But constantly being on the look out for bad things, that tends to be a deeper problem of trust.” If the issue is discussed and seems unresolved, couples counseling is always a great route for getting additional assistance when dealing with “hot topics” such as an ex.