How Do You Know If He’s Really Over His Ex?

Dear Heather,

I recently got into a new relationship with a close friend of mine. I had been single for nearly a year and he had been single for over a year, but had just stopped sleeping with his ex a few months before we got together. Before we started dating, I talked to him to see if he was ready to enter a new relationship and to see if he was over his ex. He said he was over her and ready to start dating, and seemed confident about it. Everything seemed fine… until he went to show me a text on his phone and I saw his ex’s name in the list of people that he had recently texted. The text read “how was Vegas?” and it was sent two days before I saw it.

I’m assuming she never read it or is ignoring it, because there was no response, but I can’t seem to understand why he is starting a conversation with her so randomly. I’m trying to find a way to bring this up so we can talk about it without making it seem like I was snooping, which technically I wasn’t. I’m just feeling a little insecure because they were together for three years and we’ve only been together for a month. I’d love to know how to approach him about it to see if maybe he isn’t over her. If he isn’t, I think the best thing to do would be to break up because it’s not fair to either of us if he is in love with someone else. Please help.

Sincerely,
The Newbie

nicole

I definitely see where your concern is coming from here. It can be hard to tell when your bae is rebounding because they haven’t quite moved on from their relationship yet, and on top of that, it’s not really something you want to have to confront. Unfortunately, I have to agree that his actions seem shady here, and I do think you need to have a conversation with him.

It’s fine for your boyfriend to have a friendly relationship with his ex, but his text seems a little too random and out of nowhere – on top of that, the fact that she never answered makes it seem like this is a one-sided relationship. When someone is totally over their ex and completely into dating someone new, their ex is the last person on their mind – they don’t want to find excuses to start conversations with them or talk to them about random things that aren’t important. When someone has moved on, they’ve moved on. End of story. I know this is just a small instance, but judging from how you described it and the fact that they kept hooking up for a while after breaking up, it definitely seems possible that he might be holding onto something with her.

Before you freak out and decide to end things, you have to talk to your boyfriend. You’re right – what you saw wasn’t the result of “stalking” or spying on him. It was completely innocent and there’s no reason you can’t bring it up. Being open about this kind of thing is really important in a relationship. Figure out the right time, then let him know you need to talk. Explain that when he passed you his phone that day, you saw the text, and it upset you. Let him know that you’re worried he might not be over his ex and you would really appreciate a truthful answer.

I suggest doing this in person, as uncomfortable as it may be, because it will be easier to tell if he’s lying or not. If he’s not over her, you might be able to see it in his face. While it’s always possible that he just wants to be friends with her, you have to really think about your gut feeling here. Keep an eye out for other things he might do that indicate he’s rebounding – for example, getting really serious with you very fast, getting visibly upset if her name is brought up, and feeling jealous over things she does even now.

You’re right – if he isn’t over her, you need to end the relationship. It’s not fair for you to stay with him while he’s still emotionally attached to someone else. You deserve someone who will give you their full attention. Talk to him ASAP, and then go with your gut – it’s probably right.

take care,
Heather

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