In the movies and TV shows we all watch, it's pretty easy to tell when someone isn't over their ex. When McDreamy wasn’t over Meredith, he just longingly stared at her all day and sniffed her hair in elevators, all while performing complicated brain surgeries because he was a hunk who could multitask. In that case, it’s pretty obvious that he wasn’t over his ex. If we go back to the 90s, how about when Ross said Rachel’s name at the alter instead of Emily’s? Oh, and then there's The Notebook, when Noah builds Allie a friggin house so yeah, Noah wasn’t over Allie.
Unfortunately, in the real world it’s sometimes harder to figure out if a guy isn’t over his ex. The worse case possible would be that the guy you're dating isn’t over his ex, who he dated before you. No body wants to be that girl - the Addison, the Emily. Everyone wants to be the Rachel to someone, so figuring out if your guy is still hung up on his ex is a necessity to some extant.
Of course, the real life signs that a dude isn’t over his ex are subtler than they are in popular films and television shows but there are, in fact, tell tale clues that you can definitely see. Once you know what to look for, it’ll be easier to figure out if he’s still crushing on his ex. So, here are fifteen ways you can tell that he's not totally over his ex. It may hurt to admit to yourself that he still has feelings for his ex, but, in the long run, it will hurt less than finding it out the hard way.
13 He Talks About Her All The Time
Why is he constantly bringing up his ex? Um, probably because he misses her! Duh. If he is talking about his ex all the time, that is a quick and easy way to tell that he really misses her. Even if he isn’t saying very nice things about her, he is still talking about her, which isn’t a good sign. Sure, he could be talking about the fact that she was always late or how she cheated on him, but he's bringing her up because he is thinking about her. She may have hurt him in their relationship, which is where the not-so-nice things that he's saying are coming from. If the topic you are most often talking about on your dates is the girl he used to date before you, that is not a good thing. Even if he isn't saying nice things, those not-so-nice feelings that he is expressing are still feelings.
12 He Never Talks About Her
If you’ve asked the guy you're dating about his ex and he refuses to talk about her, that isn’t a great sign either. I know that it's hard to gauge. First, I tell you that him talking about her too much isn't good and then I tell you that him not talking about her at all isn't good either. Where's the sweet spot? Well, think of how you would talk about someone you've dated who you no longer have feelings for whatsoever. You'd talk about them if it ever came up in conversation but other than that, you wouldn't bring them up and you also wouldn't be adverse to ever saying their name aloud.
If he were truly over her, he won’t have any qualms about telling you about her. If he tells you that they dated for two years and broke up five months ago and that it is still painful for him, that’s not a good sign. He is likely trying his hardest to suppress feelings he has for her. Guess what? Choking down feelings you have for someone doesn’t make them go away. He needs to deal with why he cannot talk about his ex before you moves on with you.
11 He’s Still Involved In Her Life
If he is actively involved in his ex’s life, he hasn’t let her go. Sure it’s true that there are exes who become great friends and are actively involved in each other’s lives, but you can easily tell the difference between those exes and the exes who are still clinging to the relationship for dear life.
Mainly, if a couple is able to forge a friendship after a relationship, it usually happens a bit after the dust has settled. If they broke up last week, he shouldn't be grabbing drinks with her. He doesn't have any emotional distance. If they broke up years ago, you most likely have nothing to worry about.
Another tell tale sign is if he treats her the way he treats his other friends. Is he really, really upset if he misses an opportunity to hang out with her? If he especially relishes the time he spends with her more so than he enjoys spending time with his other friends, you could be in trouble.
10 The Breakup Wasn’t His Choice
This isn’t always the case, but if the breakup wasn’t his choice, that isn’t the best sign because there may have been less closure for him in the end. If the relationship ended because of, say, distance, he may not feel closure because he's often wondering 'what if we lived closer'. The what if question can haunt someone and make it very difficult for them to move on, especially if the break up wasn't his choice.
In the case that she abruptly left him, he may be stuck wondering what he did wrong to make her leave. His inability to move on may rest on the fact that he doesn't quite understand why they ever broke up in the first place. In this case, he may be wondering 'what if I did this or that differently'.
Most of us have all been in the position of wondering ‘what if’. It can torment us. It doesn't let you move on. If you haven’t been in the position to wonder ‘what if’ about a relationship, it’s basically how Ross and Rachel felt during 90% of Friends. If you stay with this guy, you may just end up being his Emily, which is the worst.
9 He's Weird Around The Holidays
If he suddenly acts weird during the holidays, that isn't a good sign for two reasons. The first reason has nothing could do with his ex and is actually that he may be feeling the pressure of the holidays to take the relationship to the next level. Does he like you enough to bring you home to meet his parents? Are you expecting him to say 'I love you' during your romantic Valentine's Day dinner? Obviously, this is a problem in and of itself and has nothing to do with feeling for his ex-girlfriend.
The second reason he could be acting strange around the holidays is that they remind him of his ex. If he dated her for a few years, it is likely that they spent the holidays together and had a bunch of little traditions. No longer practicing these traditions may bum him out if he's missing her. There's also a chance that the holidays were the first time that she met his family so thinking of these memories could also make him upset.
Either way, if he's distant during the holidays that's a bad sign if he's missing his ex or even if he's not.
8 He Stays In Touch With Her Family
When you break up with someone, you break up with their family and friends too. That's just the way it is. If he became very close with her friends during their relationship, it's understandable that he may stay in touch with them but it's unlikely that anyone who is truly over an ex will stay in touch with the family. Honestly, how much does he have in common with her mother or her uncle Bobby? Even if he does attempt to say in touch with her family as a good gesture, it should eventually die off because, again, what is he really going to talk to her uncle Bobby about?
If he stayed very close with her family, it is due to some effort on his part. In our fast paced world, it's hard to even stay in touch with your own mother, let alone someone else's mother. If he's still in touch with her family, it is because he wants to be. This could either be to keep tabs on his ex or because he doesn't believe their relationship is truly over. If he still thinks he may still end up with her, he may still view her family as his future family and thus, it makes sense for him to stay connected to his future in-laws.
He's Still Interested In Her Likes
This could be on two different levels, but at the end of the day, if he wonders if his ex would like something, you're in trouble. A more obvious example could be if he verbally says, "Hm, I wonder if Holly would like this show." Um, he's not supposed to care what Holly likes or doesn't like, girl. He's supposed to care about what you, and only you, like. If he goes the distance to reach out to Holly, you're in even more trouble. Upon introducing your new guy to a restaurant, TV show or band, if he texts Holly to see if she's heard of it or likes it, that's not a great sign. He should no longer worry about what Holly likes and no longer seek her approval.
On a smaller level, less obvious but more common, he may bring up her approval in one way or another. If you say that you like a show and his follow up is that Holly also liked this show, that's a small way he's showing that he's still interested in her interests. At this point, he should no longer care that she liked that show, not enough to tell you about it at least. Also, bringing up the fact that his ex liked the same show as you clumps you into the same group as her and you don't want to play the comparing game.
7 He's Still Active On Her Social Media
If you're over an ex, you don't like every single status they make. You simply don't. You also don't comment on said status and start a conversation. If you're really over someone, you don't reach out to them on a public domain like Facebook or Instagram. So, if he is doing this, that is a sign that he may not be over his ex.
Of course, some people are friends with their exes on social media and more power to them if they can do that without losing their mind. That may be a sign of them being a bigger person, but it may also be a sign that they are trying to keep tabs on their ex.
The biggest social media red flag would be him liking her selfies. Liking a selfie is really just flirting with someone out loud on social media. Since they broke up, she's lost her right to expect him to like her selfies. He should be spending that time liking your hot selfies.
6 He’s Called You Her Name
He could blame this on force of habit, which could be true to some extant. It’s hard to use the same name all the time for months or even years and then switch to another name in intimate settings. It’s understandable a bit, but it’s also not like he’s calling a co-worker his ex’s name. It's not like he called his landlord or roommate his ex's name. He called you, his new love interest, his ex’s name, which may mean that he’s thinking about her when he’s with you, which is not a great sign. Obviously.
Girl, listen, if he's called you his ex's name, he can use every excuse he can think of but it's likely that her name fell out of his mouth because he was thinking about her while he was with you. If he calls you her name during sex, well, that’s… uh, not a good sign at all.
5 He Compares You To Her
It may be obvious or it may be done more subtly, but if he is comparing you to her, it’s because he misses her and is thinking you pale in comparison. That’s just the harsh truth. Since she is in the past, he can idealize her. You’re in the present, with all of your beautiful flaws, so it’s hard to measure up to the idealized past. Plain and simple. The comparison may not be as obvious as, ‘oh, well, she used to do this like this’. You may have to look into the subtext of what he’s saying, but if you feel pitted against his ex, it may be because he’s subconsciously making you feel that way.
Though, if he says things like, 'You're so much better than Stacy,' that's great to some degree. Yes, it's cool that he's singing your praises but why is he even bringing up Stacy when he didn't have to? That part is weird.
4 He Talks About Things They Did Together
We all talk about things we did in our past but it’s mostly things you cherished and enjoyed, ya know? You don't necessarily bring up the fights with your childhood best friend. You bring up your secret handshake and the time she gave you her lunch because you forgot yours. When most of us look at our past, we think about the positive, so if he's bringing up his past with his ex, it may be because he's remembering her in a positive light.
If he is bringing up vacations they took or habits they had nonstop, he’s probably remembering those times as being great and missing them. If he's missing their vacations and traditions, he's probably missing her, right? You can't fully separate the wonderful vacation from who you spent it with. Also, if he's actually bringing up their memories, you can only imagine just how much he's thinking about these memories.
3 He Texts Her Frequently
This could be text, call, email - whatever it may be. If he is reaching out to her frequently, well, hello... the dude is not over his ex. If you are truly trying to move on in life, you separate yourself from that ex. Maybe, you'll be friends down the line, but reaching out too soon after a break up is a sign that he's clinging to that relationship.
He'll probably have some excuses for this. Blah, blah, blah, they might be friends and all that jazz but if he is constantly initiating text conversations with her, it's not a good sign. This is particularly bad if the conversations are one sided. That means that he's doing all the work trying to be in her life, and she probably just wants him gone. Of course, you probably can't find out the nature of the conversation without going through his phone, which is toxic relationship sign #1. If you're so insecure in the relationship that you're resorting to spy girl tactics, just get out. You don't want a guy who makes you feel like you have to go through his phone anyways.
2 He Wears Things She Brought Him
Maybe she blew her budget to buy him a shirt from Prada or Burberry one Christmas and it’s his go-to good shirt. I mean, you can’t blame the guy for rocking a shirt that costs hundred of dollars over and over again. If I owned a Prada shirt, I'd wear it every day and night. I'd even sleep in the damn shirt. In that case, it may be okay that he's still enjoying the expensive gift his ex bought him.
If he continues to wear, like, a tee shirt or flip-flops because she bought them for him, there’s an issue. He shouldn't feel the need to wear a $10 tee shirt because it reminds him of his ex. An even worse sign is if he's told you it was given to him by his ex. But honestly, he probably has because how else would you know that blue tee shirt was from his ex? If he tells you an article of clothing is from an ex, it is because that's what he thinks of what he wears said piece of clothing.
That is also the difference in whether he wears the item because it’s great quality and he loves it or because she bought it for him and he’s grasping at anything to keep him feeling close to her.
He Tries To Continue His Habits He Had With Her
Having habits with someone is comforting and sweet. It makes you feel like a real tangible part of their life. Unfortunately, when you end a relationship with someone, the little traditions and habits end too. Say goodbye to that amazing brunch place you used to go to every Sunday or that drinking game you invented for Game of Thrones.
At least, they are supposed to end. If he is carrying on his habits with her, it’s not a good sign. You two should not be going to Sunday brunch every week at the same place he went to Sunday brunch every week with her. It’s a new relationship and there should be new traditions, despite how amazing the French toast is at his favorite Sunday brunch spot. If it seems like he's just replacing you and still doing the same things, that's a red flag. You're a different person and there should be different habits and traditions.
1 He’s Angry With Her
Remember in Sex and the City when Berger gives a double middle finger to a voicemail from his ex and Carrie worries about what that means? Well, she had good reason to worry. If he is seething with hatred for his ex, that is a big red flag. That is, perhaps, the worst red flag of all.
Remember, the absence of love is not hate. It’s apathy. Him not caring about his ex at all would definitely be preferable. If he’s hating on her, it means he’s still having intense feelings for her - like, super intense feelings for her. Think of when Derek hated Meredith in season two of Grey's Anatomy. That hatred was hot AF. Tons of other shows resort to this type of anger to show that characters aren't over their exes, and with good reason. In real life, being irrationally angry at an ex is certainly a sign that you aren't over them.
These may be residual feelings from the breakup and he may work through them but they may also be there because he misses her and wants to have hot hate sex with her. If you stay with him, you'll be rolling the dice, girl.