23 Signs Your Partner Isn't Completely Over Their Ex (2023)

As great as it is to start a relationship with someone completely new, chances are you'll be dating someone who already has some kind of romantic past. While letting the past stay in the past is the healthiest option, sometimes people enter a new relationship without being completely over an ex. So how do you know if your partner isn't over their ex yet? Experts say there are some behaviors to watch out for.

as a relationship coachJenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MPShe tells Bustle that dating someone who was still DJing with her ex is never really a good sign. "Sure, we all have our moments when we can remember orThink of our past partnersevery once in a while," she says, "but if you're still at the point where your partner can't let go of what was then, that's a sign it's time to take care of yourself."

When someone gets on onenew relationship before they are really ready, only prepares the pain for both partners. "You end up depriving your new partner of experiencing the real you," says Ponaman. Meanwhile, the current couple will end up feeling a bit cheated. Because of this, it's worth finding out where your partner stands in regards to their ex.

So how can you tell if your partnerstill not over your ex? Here are some signs that experts say to watch out for.


They still have photos of their ex

This is pretty obvious, but if your partner still has photos of their ex, they're not over it. "It may be in their wallet, on his desk, or in a more hidden place, but they refuse to part with it because 'they're still friends,'" says the director of the Baltimore Therapy Center.Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, he tells Hustle.

Keeping an old photo of a past love is not usually appreciated by a current partner. Most of the time it sends the message that someone ishold on to something there."When you're in that situation, express your feelings about the presence of the photo in a calm but firm way," says Bilek. You have to be direct to let your partner know that you don't agree with that. But it is equally important to pay attention to your tone. Stop sounding accusatory to avoid a fight.


They suggest doing the same things to you that they used to do to their ex

If your partner is still comfortable with your ex, you can suggest that they do the same things they used to do with their ex. For example, your partner may want to continue going to a restaurant that has a lot of memories of their past relationship or go bowling every Thursday night because that's what they used to do with their ex.

"People who are still connected to their exes will continue to have an emotional connection to the things and places that connect them," says Ponaman. "When you start a new relationship, even if you're still attached to an ex, it's natural for you to want to revisit those places and try to replace old memories with new ones."

If you find this to be the case, you may be able to discuss it with your partner.


They mention their ex in conversations out of the blue

This may be another pretty obvious one. When your partner is constantly finding ways to do itMention your ex in your conversations, Which canstill attached to them. "Of course that's unfair and unpleasant",Jeannie Assimos,Head of Advisory at eharmony, says Bustle. "I would definitely be concerned if I keep hearing from an ex and feel like he still has unresolved feelings for someone else."

If they tend to get hot or emotional when talking about their ex, that's also a sign that they really haven't.let go of your past. When you are in this situation, Assimos says that you need to protect your heart. "Be careful if someone has oneEx who is still quite entwined in his life.she says. "Don't be afraid to ask questions and find out where the relationship stands. As a new partner in that person's life, you have to come first. Spot".


You get defensive when you address your concerns.

If you find yourself worried about your partner's ex and he's hitting you, that's a big red flag. According to Licensed Marriage and Family TherapistAshera DeRosa, “Advocacy is usually an attempt to get away from shame, which begs the question: Why is there shame there? We all have exes and it's not uncommon to talk about the history of a relationship, especially at the beginning of a new one. But if they get hot or defensive, it's worth mentioning."

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When you discuss your concerns with your partner, do you immediately defend yourself or your actions? If so, he must consider why. They may have something to hide or feel guilty because they know they have crossed the line.


They make suggestions about how you should behave based on what your ex did.

when your partner is nottotally over his ex, they can give you suggestions on how to behave in a very similar way to your ex. For example, if your ex was more sensitive but you use humor to lighten the mood, your partner may tell you to be more sensitive.

"When you make suggestions to change your new partner's behavior, you're trying to emotionally replace your ex, essentially replicating it in this new person," says Assimos. If your partner is trying to make you into someone you're not, that's definitely something to talk about. If that's the case, he's not really falling in love with you, but with the person he wants you to be.


They will make an effort to communicate on their ex's birthday.

If your partner still makes the effort to do something out of the ordinary for their ex on their birthday or on vacation, that can be a problem. As a matchmaker and dating coach,steve safranBustle says, "That could mean they're too connected right now." While he thinks a "happy birthday" text is fine (as long as they tell you and you agree), anything else can "be a little gray." .

The same applies to maintaining contacts in general. For example, a 2016 study published in the journalPersonal relationshipsfound a link between dating an ex and committing to your current partner. Basically, people who trykeep in touch with an exthey tend to be less committed and less satisfied in their current relationship. They also saw their current partner more as a backup plan.


They keep in touch with their ex's family

If your partner has been with their ex for a long time, they may have developed a close relationship with their ex's family. It might not be a big problem if your partner keeps in touch with them from time to time, but it can be a problem if they only keep in touch to keep up with their ex's life.

If this is the case, talk to your partner about how you feel. "Ultimately, it is up to you if you want to be in a relationship with someone who is allowed to benot being fully emotionally availablejust for you,” says the dating and relationship coach.carla rom.


They will avoid talking about their ex if you approach them

When your partner has no problem bringing up their ex but refuses to talk about them whenOfBring it on, breakout coachlee wilsonShe tells Bustle that they may not have moved on. "It's a sign that it's too painful to talk about and you probably still have deep feelings for the other person," says Wilson.

When anger is involved, it can also be very revealing. According to Wilson, anger stems from deep pain. If you walk up to your partner's ex and he yells at you, he may still be hurt by how things turned out. This does not necessarily mean that your partnerI want to be with them again. "It's natural to be upset, but know that it doesn't mean your relationship is doomed or that your partner doesn't want to be with you," says Wilson. "It's just part of being human." They may just need more time to heal.

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They don't post pictures of the two of you on social media.

if your partnernever post pictures of the two of you on social mediaeven after dating for a while this is something to keep in mind, relationship therapistDra. Alisha Powell, Ph.D., LCSWhe tells Hustle. If you've been together for a while, what's there to hide? Of course, you can't always count on social media to give you indications of how your relationship is going: your partner may not be very active on Instagram or Facebook. But if using social media is important to you, your partner should consider it. As Powell says, "If your partner doesn't understand your concerns or puts you off, you need to realize that [they] may not really be interested in pursuing something long-term with you."


They always react to their ex's social media posts.

"If your partner constantly checks their ex's social media, I wonder if they're really over it." Certified Counselor & Relationship ExpertDavid Bennettsays hurry. It's one thing to stay friends on social media. It's quite another thing to constantly check an ex's social media and then emotionally react to what he sees. According to Bennett, when you're on top of someone, you ignore them. You might wonder if they're okay, but you won't bother looking for them on social media. While this or any of the other signs don't have to mean that your partner wants to date her ex again, they may still have feelings for her. "If your ex ever comes back or shows interest, problems can arise," she says.


He hides things related to his ex

Especially if the relationship with your ex was serious, your partner should be open with you about it. DeRosa tells Bustle, "If the entire relationship is treated like a secret and only revealed through mutual friends, it's a sign that they may not be over their ex yet." If you find out for six months that you've been committed to a long-term partner and never brought it up, that's pretty weird and could mean the feelings aren't resolved there. Withholding details about your dating history from him is a sure sign that something is wrong.


You will find many excuses why you did not take your relationship to the next level.

If your partner isn't over their ex, you can sense their lack of commitment in the relationship. "They are hesitant to get involved in future events or activities, so they make excuses to justify their behavior," dating and relationship coach.Rosalind Sedacca, CVXhe tells Hustle. "They don't use language that makes you feel special, so you feel insecure in your relationship."

Someone willing to commit to a long-term, committed relationship only with you will let you know. You don't have to wonder if they arestill thinking about his exbecause they take the trouble to make plans with you and show you how much they care about you. If you feel that disconnect, Sedacca says, acknowledge it: "Ask your partner head-on and trust your gut whether or not you can believe them."


They still get emotional when they talk about their ex

The way your partner talks about their ex gives you an idea of ​​how they feel about their ex. "If they get emotional, there are likely unresolved feelings that still need to be addressed," clinical psychologist.Sabrina Romanoff, PsyDhe tells Hustle. Your partner may be processing the breakup while talking to you about it.


Most of the stories they tell are about their ex.

It's a big red flag when most of your significant other's notable life stories involve their ex. AsGato Blake, LICSW, psychotherapist and divorce coach, Bustle says, "It means they haven't distanced themselves emotionally. Also, they don't have enough content from their solo life or continue to interpret the world as if they're still in that relationship."


they leave their ex

Some people may still need to interact with their ex in cases like co-parenting. But if her partner often talks to her about her disagreements, power struggles, and drama, it doesn't bode well. "Even if that person is intellectually ready to get into a new relationship, he's not really available emotionally when he gets into that kind of dynamic with his ex," says Blake. This could be a sign that her partner is still not at peace with the end of the relationship, or that she has more healing work to do before she is relationship material again.

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You are critical of your dating history.

"If they're focusing negatively on your past relationship history, that's something to consider. People often project their insecurities onto their partner, and when there's nothing to be seen, it's important to acknowledge it," DeRosa explains. If your partner isn't over their ex, they might accuse you of feeling the same way about your own exes to deflect the shame they feel.


You still have messages from your ex on your phone

Even if your partner isn't actively texting your ex, it can be a red flag if your partner still has your ex's texts on their phone. "Not only is your partner guilty of keeping all the texts, but despite your presence, they can still find solace by reading their ex's texts from time to time."Julia McCurley, a certified relationship coach, says Bustle. Your partner may still have a place in their heart for you.


They apologize for continuing to interact with their ex

It's one thing that your partner needs constant communication with their ex. But it's another to find excuses for why they still do it. "Sometimes your partner will use phrases like, 'We're just friends and I like to stay in touch,' 'I won't stop texting them.' there for them'”, Licensed Professional AdvisorMarcos Schuhmachersays hurry. “These phrases may be harmless on the surface, but they could bered flagswhen accompanied by some concerning behaviors.”


They cannot admit their mistakes.

If your partner can't claim their share of why the relationship failed, it could be a problem for your relationship in the future. As a Certified Divorce CoachAndrea Hipps, LBSWHe tells Bustle: "Just seeing the other culprit keeps us connected to them and traps us and our future partners in the tired narrative."


They think badly of their ex

If your partner only has bad things to say about their ex, that's another sign that they're not completely over it. According to Hipps, a partner who is fully emotionally available "should be able to express gratitude for what they had and a progressive approach to what was taken away." relationship with you

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They call their ex first when they have something to share

Whether it's a good or bad update, your partner should want to share it with you first. But if your ex is the first person they think of, their ex could still have a hold on them. AsSusan Trombetti, relationship expert and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle: "Your partner may want to seek input and validation from their ex first, to show that they're not completely over you."


They still keep some of their ex's things with them.

If your ex's toothbrush is still there or you always find some clothes in the closet, you might want to talk about this with your partner. According to Trombetti, these are items that need to be wrapped, returned, or thrown away, especially if you and your partner have been seeing each other for some time. If your partner can't part with items that belong to their ex, they may not get over it.


You eliminate your worries

If you get the feeling that your partner still has feelings for their ex, don't ignore it. Chances are they will say or do things that make you feel that way. But it's also a tell-tale sign when you talk about this with your partner and she puts your concerns aside. as psychotherapisttess brigham, the "Millennial Therapist," tells Bustle, "When you go up to your partner and tell them how you feel, and they brush off your feelings and tell you you're crazy, that in itself tells you something. It doesn't matter if you couple swears up and down that they're over their ex; you want to focus on why you don't feel comfortable in this relationship."

If you think your partner is still holding on to their feelings for their ex, it can cause problems in your relationship without you realizing it. That's why it's important to share your thoughts and fears, no matter how uncomfortable the conversation might be. If your partner keeps talking to their ex and it bothers you, tell them. Don't minimize your feelings ordismiss it as jealousy. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who is fully present and ready for all the great new things that are coming your way.


Rodriguez, Lindsey and Overup, Camilla and Wickham, Robert and Knee, C. and Amspoker, Amber. (2016). Communication with ex-romantic partners and current relationship outcomes among college students: communication with ex-partners. Personal relationships. 23.10.1111/pere.12133.


Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, Director of the Baltimore Therapy Center

Dra. Alisha Powell, Ph.D., LCSW,relationship therapist

David Bennett, Certified Counselor and Relationship Expert

Drag. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, clinical psychologist

Gato Blake, LICSW, psychotherapist and divorce coach

tess brigham, psychotherapist

Ashera DeRosa, LMFT, relationship therapist


Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP, dating and relationship coach

Jeannie Assimos,Head of Consulting at eharmony

steve safran, matchmaker and dating coach

carla rom, relationship coach, author of Contagious Love

lee wilson, breakout coach

Rosalind Sedacca, CVX, dating and relationship coach

Julia McCurley, certified relationship coach

Marcos Schuhmacher, Licensed Professional Counselor

Andrea Hipps, LBSW, certified divorce coach

Susan Trombetti, relationship expert and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking

This article was originally published on

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