When you start a new relationship, it can be fun and exciting. The best part of being with someone new is that you get to have a clean slate.
Relationships in their early stages feel so amazing because there is so much potential for what can be developed.
The one thing that can throw your whole relationship off, however, is the possibility that your partner has carried baggage from his past relationship into this new one.
It’s so important for all of us to get over the things that have happened to us in the past before we even try to start a new relationship. Otherwise, it’s not fair to our new partner who is hoping to move forward with a clean slate.
"Regardless of how serious their previous relationship was, people are often unable to fully disconnect without sufficient time," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "This is especially true when they experienced emotional trauma or heartbreak, which typically manifests itself in pathological skepticism and the unwillingness to be vulnerable and committed."
Things can start to get rocky in your new relationship if your new man is holding onto something from the past. Check out these 20 early red flags that tell us he’s got excess baggage.
20 He Takes His Insecurities Out On His Partner
Someone who is holding onto some emotional baggage from a previous relationship can often be plagued by self-doubt. Maybe his ex betrayed him and he’s worried that you are going to do the same thing, for example.
If he’s defensive for no reason or seems anxious for no reason, that could be a sign that he’s insecure in the relationship.
You should talk to him about why that is. He should feel just as safe as you do in the relationship.
19 He Is Hot And Cold
Do you feel like things are on fire one minute but then you get the arctic freeze from him the next? If the relationship is starting to make your head spin it could be because he has baggage.
Lisa Concepcion, certified love coach and founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Bustle that your partner’s last relationship could be holding them back and that’s why you might see inconsistency in them. "This tends to happen because they didn't heal from the past relationship and cultivate deep love of self," she says. "Now, they are [scared] if they fall in love again, they'll just get burned.”
18 He Freaks At Similarities To His Ex
No one should ever be compared to an ex. It's a pretty bad sign if your current beau is comparing you to his ex on a regular basis. If he's doing that, it's usually because he's still stuck in the former relationship which makes it impossible for him to be a part of yours.
If your partner had a bad experience with his ex, then certain things that you do might trigger his hurt. If that happens, then you should sit him down and be honest with him. Ask him straight if he still has some unresolved feelings for his ex. You might even want to talk with a professional about it. A counselor will help him to unhook himself to his past and focus on his future.
17 He’s Completely Paranoid Over Nothing
Starting a new relationship should be exciting and fresh. You shouldn’t have to deal with your man’s paranoia, especially if you aren’t doing anything wrong. He may have been hurt or betrayed in the past but that doesn’t give him a right to assume you will do the same thing to him.
Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship and without it, you have nothing.
His distrust can result in him looking through your phone or accusing you of things you haven’t done. If these things are happening, it may be time to have a talk.
16 He Reacts To His Ex On Social Media
If he's still bothered by things that his ex is doing on social media, that’s a huge red flag. Typically when you break up with someone, you unfollow them on social media and block them from seeing yours. If your man is still on her posts, liking or commenting on them, that's a huge red flag.
He needs to disengage from his ex so that he is able to see you and the future that you could have. That’s obviously not something you want in your new relationship!
15 He’s Not Connecting Emotionally
If you find that your partner is not connecting to you emotionally or even physically, it could be because he is still hung up on his last relationship.
You might find that there is a certain distance between you and your boyfriend and that could be a conscious effort on his part to not let you get too close. That could be because he's been hurt from his prior relationship and he's decided to keep his "guard up" in order to protect himself.
If this is happening, you will notice your man start pulling away.
14 He Compares His Ex To His New Partner
We’re talking about more than paranoia here. If he compares your physical features to those of his ex, and hints that you don't measure up to her, this is totally out of line!
He shouldn’t have that much interest and thought invested in his ex any longer and if he does, then he’s not over her. It might be best to put a pause on the relationship until he can move beyond her. Otherwise, he will just keep dragging you down.
13 He Asks Questions That Appear Controlling
When a relationship is new, there should be no reason to be controlling or to have trust issues. "Trust can often be an issue when entering into a relationship with someone who has been betrayed in the past," Avilone Bailey, Relationship Expert and Emotional Relief Catalyst, tells Bustle.
If your man is still having issues, then he may be peppering you with questions like: Where’s the party? Who’s going to be there? Why are you dressed like that?
When a guy peppers you with questions, it's because he needs to feel safe that you are really going where you say you are going. He may be worried that you are secretly trying to meet up with someone else. It's always best to be honest and straight-forward in a relationship.
12 He Hides Things From You
When you start a new relationship, it’s time to get to know each other and learn as much as you can about one another. So, if you find that your new guy is hiding things from you, that’s a pretty big red flag.
Keeping secrets from your partner isn’t healthy for your relationship. The two of you are supposed to know each other the best.
Holding things back or hiding things will only cause harm to the relationship.
11 He Says He's So Much Happier In This Relationship Than He Was In His Previous One
You might think that it’s a sweet thing for him to say you're a better girlfriend than his ex, but it's actually a negative thing!
No matter what he says about his ex, if he constantly brings her up in conversation, then that's just time and energy wasted on his past relationship rather than his new and current one with you. It's important to focus on the new relationship at hand so that we can break our bad habits and relationship patterns, heal, and move on to new and better things.
10 He Says He Needs Closure
If it was your boyfriend who got dumped in his previous relationship, he might still need to deal with the breakup.
If it was your man that got dumped, he may feel like there is still some unfinished business from his previous relationship. He may not even understand why she broke up with him. He may feel like he still has things to say about it. If that's the case, he could be bringing that pain into your relationship.
Until he gets his closure, he won't be able to move forward.
9 He Won’t Fully Commit
Sometimes when a man won’t commit, it’s because he’s still carrying around baggage from his last relationship. If you get the impression that he’s not giving your relationship the attention it deserves, it might be because of his past. You may have to sit him down and ask him if he would rather be single. If he wouldn’t, then he needs to start working with you towards a committed relationship. If it’s possible to talk to a therapist, then do so, because it can be a huge help.
8 He Brings Up Her Name A Lot
One red flag that your man hasn’t moved past his last relationship is when he mentions his ex a lot. Dating expert and matchmaker Susan Trombetti tells Today it's a red flag, "if he talks about her a lot in conversation and her name continuously comes up, along with things they did or shared together."
It can totally be innocent too, we’re not saying he’s doing it on purpose. But if he repeatedly brings her up, it’s time to have a talk with him.
7 He’s Still Very Angry At His Ex
We’ve probably all experienced something that we didn’t like from an ex in the past but you can’t carry that anger with you forever. It will only hinder you.
According to Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., author of "The 30-Day Love Detox," those feelings of anger should disappear over time. "Some guys have physically broken up, yet haven't emotionally let go and they stay connected through conflict," she said, as Today reports. "So if he's still talking about the bad things she did in the past, he's trying to remind himself that he’s not still in love with her — because he is still in love with her."
6 He Still Gets Bummed Out By His Breakup
If your man still has moments of sadness from his previous breakup, then it might be time to have a chat. Unless you want to end up being the rebound chick, you have to get this out in the open. There’s a possibility that he moved on too quickly and just wasn’t ready for a new relationship.
We’re not saying that he still loves his ex, but he just may be sad that things went down the way that they did. He needs to deal with those feelings so that he can move on properly.
5 He Posts About His Relationship Online
You might be wondering what’s wrong with that. You might even be flattered that he’s posting yet another couple selfie of the two of you on social media, but it could also a sign that he’s trying to get a rise out of his ex.
As Thought Catalog reports, “There’s a weird line between sharing your life on social media (which most of us do to some extent) and trying too hard. Is he hashtag #blessed and #lucky to have found his #wcw? Does it seem like he’s more interested in showing the world he’s moved on and has someone new than he does in actually spending time with you? If it feels forced, like he’s trying to prove something to the world, that’s a red flag.”
4 He’s Trying To Be Friends With His Ex
It’s not the end of the world if he wishes his ex a happy birthday on social media but it’s something entirely different if he’s trying to strike up a friendship with her. That can certainly happen over time but it’s usually unhealthy within the first year of a breakup. It could mean that he isn’t over her.
It's even more damaging if he's spending so much time working on building a friendship with his ex that he's totally ignoring you.
3 He Doesn’t Let His Partner Spend Time With His Friends Who Knew His Ex
Sometimes it happens that a guy still has friends who are also friends with his ex. That can be tricky to maneuver when he has a new girlfriend, though. It usually isn’t a problem if the guy is over his ex but if he isn’t, then he may not be willing to bring his new girlfriend around those friends. Why? Worst-case scenario: he might be hoping to bump into his ex!
2 He’s Close To His Ex's Family
It can be hard when your new boyfriend can’t seem to let go of his past. But that’s when you need to ask yourself if the relationship is worth it to you. An example is when your boyfriend maintains strong bonds with his ex's family.
It’s not healthy for him to be that connected to her loved ones while he’s with another woman. If he’s even still hanging out with her family, then he’s likely not over his ex at all or swamped with some major baggage.
1 He Still Has Some Of Her Stuff
Most people get rid of their ex’s belongings because they don’t want lingering reminders of them. If he’s still hanging onto her old t-shirt or jewelry, then that’s a bad sign. The same goes for any photos of her that are littering his mantelpiece. It's like he's trying to find small ways to hold onto their previous relationship, and it's worrying.
Suggest he gets rid of those things that remind him of his ex and see what he says. If he gets angry or upset, he's not ready to let her go.
Sources: Bustle, Today, Thought Catalog