By Kelly Coleman
You're seeing a new guy and things are going swimmingly, except his end of conversations recently have included quite a lot about 'her' and not so much about you. You can't shake the feeling that he might not be over his previous romance. Is his 'ex' talk no big deal... or an EXceptionally big red flag?
Knowing the Signs
"'Hung up' shows up in various ways," says Bobbi Palmer, GalTime dating and relationship coach for women over 40 and founder of Date Like a Grown Up. "Whether he is still in love with her, he is still hurt or he's still pissed, she is in his thoughts and he can't resist expressing what he's thinking." Constantly talking about his ex in any capacity is a problem. Palmer asserts that even if your man compares you to his ex in a complimentary manner, this still suggests he is thinking about her.
Related: How to Go Out to Dinner With Your Ex
GalTime's Jane Greer, Ph.D. says, the "frequency and nature of contact is an indicator" to whether a man is over his ex. Dr. Greer is a marriage and family therapist, radio host and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Dr. Greer asserts that keeping in touch with an ex on a regular basis "speaks to an ongoing connection". Keeping mementos, such as carrying around a picture of her or interacting with her on social media, signifies the presence she still has in his life.
The nature of any communication, of course, is vital. "If a guy is over a woman, he would never even think of texting her first," says David Coleman, known worldwide as the Dating Doctor and author of Making Relationships Matter, Date Smart!, and 101 Great Dates. In the same way that you can analyze if a guy's texts or online messages show that he is interested in you, you can observe his communication with her. If it consists of short, cryptic messages, he may just be responding to be polite. If his messages to her encourage further conversation or are flirtatious, there is a problem. Coleman stresses that if a man is uninterested in a women, his interactions with her will plummet in length and emotional quality.
Addressing the Issue
If eventually you still can't help but feel your guy has some lingering feelings for his prior romance, it may be time to bring it up. Dr. Greer emphasizes that the key to popping tough questions is tone: avoid accusatory phrases such as, "What's going on?!" Instead, inquire with curiosity and emphasize how you feel about the situation. Your goal is to get information, not to attack or blame him.
Finally, the hard part. When is it time to leave? Dr. Greer states, "If your relationship isn't growing more intimate and closer, then it's a problem," whether or not it's because of his ex. As is the case with any issue you feel strongly enough about to discuss with your partner, if your man isn't responding to the needs you have spelled out for him, it is time to go.
More from GalTime.com:
When Is It OK To Be Friends With Your Ex?
How Do You Handle Your Ex's New Partner?
3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Dating Again
Bounce Back After A Breakup With These 5 Steps