Dating 101: 5 Signs They’re Not Over Their Ex

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Dating 101: 5 Signs They’re Not Over Their Ex

When you’re navigating the modern dating scene, there’s nothing worse than getting excited about a new match and starting to form an emotional connection… only to discover weeks or even months down the road the signs that they’re not over their ex. As a therapist, dating coach, and heartbreak recovery expert, I know that dating someone who’s not over their ex yet often ends in disappointment and heartbreak. 

To find a lasting, healthy relationship, you need to focus on partners who are ready and available, and not still ruminating about the last relationship they were in. This article will give you a peek into what happens in dating coach, and teach you about the five signs they’re not over your ex, so you can focus on potential partners who are ready for true love. 

1. Lingering Emotional Baggage

The first sign that someone you’re dating is still tethered to their former partner is the presence of lingering emotional baggage. If they frequently reference their ex in conversations, it’s a sign that they’re still thinking about their ex a lot, which gives you a peek into the emotional space the ex still occupies. They may express anger toward their ex, regret over how they handled the relationship, or sadness about the breakup. Be wary of phrases like “My ex and I used to…” or “This reminds me of something my ex and I did together.” While it’s normal to reflect on past experiences occasionally, frequent comparisons or references can indicate that they still have unresolved feelings.

2. Social Media Engagement

Social media provides a window into people’s lives, including their past relationships. If you notice your partner regularly checking in on their ex’s profiles, scrolling through old pictures, or keeping tabs on their activities, that’s a red flag that they’re not ready to cut the cord. While curiosity about an ex’s life is natural, obsessive monitoring suggests a lingering emotional attachment that they haven’t yet severed.

3. Unresolved Feelings of Resentment

If you notice a lot of unresolved feelings about their ex, that can be a sign they’re not over it. They may blame their ex for the downfall of the relationship, or for where they are in life now. Healthy closure involves acceptance of what happened and moving forward without resentment. If your partner seems stuck in a cycle of negative emotions about their ex, they might still be processing the end of that relationship.

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4. Emotional Unavailability

One of the most significant signs that your partner isn’t over their ex is emotional unavailability. If they struggle to fully invest in your relationship emotionally, keeping a part of themselves reserved, it could be that they’re still attached to someone else. Emotional unavailability often stems from a fear of vulnerability, and if your partner hasn’t healed from past wounds, they may find it challenging to open up fully to someone new.

5. Comparisons and Idealization

If your partner frequently compares you to their ex or idealizes aspects of their past relationship, that’s a clear indication that they haven’t moved on. Statements like “My ex never did that” or “We had such an amazing time together” may seem like openness and transparency, but they reveal a level of comparison that can introduce insecurity and keep your relationship from growing. It’s essential to build a connection based on your unique dynamics rather than trying to live up to the perceived ideals of a past love.

What to Do If They’re Not Over Their Ex

If it’s early on in the dating process and you notice these signs that they’re not over their ex, my advice is to call it quits, sooner rather than later. Not being over an ex isn’t a crime, but it is a surefire way to waste your time on a relationship that doesn’t have potential. The good news is, relationships that don’t get off the ground for a reason like this have the potential to be rekindled when they’ve had a chance to detach from their ex. If you decide to end the relationship, you can tell them that you’re interested in connecting again in the future once they’re feeling healed. But don’t wait around!

Of course, it’s not so easy to walk away if you’ve been together for a longer period of time and you discover they’re still hung up on a past relationship. In this case, spending some time with a good couples counselor can help you get clarity about the best path forward. 

Support for Dating with Intention

Understanding the signs that a potential partner might not be over their ex is crucial for finding a healthy and fulfilling relationship. While it’s natural for people to carry some emotional baggage from past relationships, actively addressing and working through these issues is essential. You deserve someone who is ready for a meaningful relationship with you. Trust your instincts, communicate openly, and remember that both of you need to be fully present and committed for a relationship to thrive. 

If you would like support with dating from a relationship expert on my team, I invite you to schedule a free consultation


Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. — For more resources on dating with intention, see my “Dating Advice” collection of articles and podcasts.

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