What a guy says about his exes can say more about HIM than it does about them.
It's a touchy subject! How much do we actually want to know about our boyfriends' exes? Would we rather they dislike them or be friends with them? Honestly there's no perfect answer, but Ariana might have had the right idea in her song "Thank U, Next." If boyfriends were able to thank their exes for the times they shared and then cleanly move on, we would all be able to relax and not worry about what they have to say about the people they used to date.
Unfortunately, people talk and exes do come up in conversations with partners all the time. According to relationship therapist Natalie Lue, guys in new relationships have no need to talk about their former relationships right away, and never in detail.
"They shouldn’t be talking about them on the first 3+ dates anyway as you have better things to talk about," she explains on her advice blog Baggage Reclaim. "General details can be gradually added later."
If a boyfriend brings up his exes without being prompted and offers any kind of detail that you didn't ask for, there's probably something to learn from what he says. Is he needy? Loyal? Still hung up on someone he used to be with? What a guy says about his exes can reveal all of the above.
Listen up to these 20 simple things every girlfriend should beware of hearing.
20 ‘I Still Have Her Stuff’
We wouldn't blame you for still sleeping in an ex's sweatshirt from time to time, or even from keeping a little box of memories tucked away. If your boyfriend has a lot of his ex's stuff, though, this could be a major red flag. Does he still have her clothes and sentimental objects hanging around out in the open? Tell him to pack it up ASAP.
"If her photos or any of her personal belongings are still around, he's hanging onto the relationship through those objects," relationship advice pro Dr. Wendy Walsh explained to Today. Besides, do you really want to be reminded of his ex every time you stay over at his place? We doubt it.
19 ‘She Liked This’
Comparing your ex to a new girlfriend (especially to her face) is a bad idea. If he brings up his ex in comparison to the things you like or don't like to do/wear/eat, that means that for some reason or another, his ex is on his mind while he's with you.
"Their thoughts are either actively preoccupied with their ex or they’re putting in overtime to push them out of their thoughts," explains Natalie. "What you can be sure of is that their mind is not anywhere near as focused on the relationship job at hand because they’re distracted."
18 ‘She Disliked My Friends’
If you’re about to meet a guy’s friends and he tells you that his ex disliked them, try not to jump to the conclusions that he's got her on his mind t0o much. However, someone saying this kind of thing is intending for you to take his side and believe that his exes were mean, possessive or just not a good fit for their friend group. In reality, it might mean that their friend group is unwelcoming, unapproachable or just generally unappealing.
Until you meet the friends (or exes) themselves, there's no way to form an opinion either way. Wait to decide how you feel about them for yourself.
17 ‘I Still Talk To Her Family’
We all love a guy we can bring home to mama. While it might be great that your boyfriend was once close to his ex's family, he shouldn't keep those situationships tight after they've broken up.
"At some point he's got to let those ties fall away," dating expert Susan Trombetti told Today.
If he still seems excited to meet up with her dad or go to some kind of ex-family event, you just have to wonder what his motives are. More likely than not, he's hoping to get some info on his ex or even to run into her there and win her back.
16 ‘She’s My Best Friend’
The label 'best friend' is reserved for someone who you put above basically everyone else in your life, and who has a special place in your heart. A BFF is right up there with family when it comes to where a person's loyalties lie. If he says his ex is not only his friend but his bestie, watch yourself.
"Beware if she is the first person he calls when something good happens," says Susan, "like a promotion at work, or when he just needs to talk." Those moments should be for you, not for someone he dated ages ago.
15 ‘That Reminds Me Of Her’
Dude, keep this thought to yourself. Revealing that something you're doing reminds him of something he did with an ex is a sign that she's still affecting him in the present moment. Susan says that an ex's name coming up out of the blue like this can be a red flag, especially in heightened emotional moments.
"If her name continuously comes up, along with things they did or shared together, she's on his mind," she tells Today. "Beware of a guy who does it in emotionally-charged moments," like when you are having an argument or doing something intensely romantic. So awkward.
14 'I Can Never Forgive Her'
Hung up on the things his ex did? Maybe she betrayed his trust and hooked up with one of his friends. Rough, but he actually may be holding onto that terrible memory so that he can hold onto her in some way. That's what Dr. Wendy believes.
"Some guys have physically broken up, yet haven't emotionally let go and they stay connected through conflict," she said. "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."
13 ‘She Asked Me Never To Tell Anyone, But…’
You want to date someone you trust, right? Someone you can tell all your deepest secrets to? Someone who will have your back no matter what? If your guy is blabbing about his ex's personal issues, he is not that person for you.
We shouldn't need to write up confidentiality agreements for the people we're dating. It should go without saying that secrets shared between partners are sensitive information, and don't deserve to be shared with the world no matter how badly a relationship ends. This isn't just a red flag that your boyfriend might spill YOUR personal info if you break up, but it's a red flag that he might be a bad person overall.
12 ‘She’s a Liar’
When he calls her a liar, what he's really saying is that you shouldn't believe anything she says about HIM. If he completely discredits her and convinces you to ignore everything she could ever say about their time together, he has total control over what you think about him as a boyfriend.
If he's actually someone worth dating, he probably also dates people worth dating (like you!). That also includes his exes. If he says she lies, ask him if he felt that way when they started dating, or if you can ever meet her and see for yourself. We bet he'll answer both of those questions with a big no.
11 ‘I Follow All Her Socials’
Maybe they're FB friends who don't actually talk. Maybe he still has her as one of his followers on an old Twitter account. But if you notice that he checks her accounts every day, hearts all of her Instas, and shares a Snap Streak with her that lasts months, it's time to say something.
"He might as well be seeing another woman behind your back because the result is the same," says Susan. She thinks that kind of dependence on an ex's social media activity is a bad sign, especially if they use socials to communicate. "You aren’t getting all of him. It damages the bond you share because he is emotionally tied to someone else."
10 'I Owe Her So Much'
If your boyfriend says this, it sounds like he is in some kind of debt to his ex. Does he owe her more respect than other people in his life? Does he owe her loyalty? Money? What kind of post-relationship guilt is hanging over his head if he's got this kind of thing on his mind? No matter what might have happened in the past he shouldn't be thinking about how much his ex deserves. He should be thinking about how much his current girlfriend deserves.
As Dr. Wendy puts it: "His prized personal time should be spent building a secure relationship with you."
9 ‘She Was Just Like You’
We get that some people have 'a type.' Maybe your boyfriend has dated a lot of blonde girls, for example. But we never want to hear a guy compare us to his exes. Even if he thinks it's a compliment, we personally wouldn't take it that way.
Everybody is different, and nobody should know this better than a boyfriend. If instead of considering you to be unique he considers you to be a carbon copy of his ex, steer clear. Even if you ARE alike, it's no good. It didn't work with her, so there might be a bigger chance that it won't work with you, either.
8 ‘We Talk Every Day’
If he talks to his family every day, that's kind of cute. If he talks to his bros every day, that's a sign of a healthy social life. There shouldn't be a reason for your boyfriend to talk to his ex every single day.
If he generally keeps in touch with her, that can mean that they ended things on good terms and are mature enough to still respect each other - but if he keeps talking to her EVERY SINGLE DAY, that can mean that the boundaries between them aren't as strong as they should be for him to establish a tight relationship with someone new.
7 'I Still Think About Her'
Why? WHY? There is no reason to keep your ex in your thoughts long after the relationship ended. He should be thinking of the future, not staying stuck in the past. A guy with these kinds of hang ups is not a good catch.
Even worse than thinking about your ex all the time is telling your current partner that you think about your ex all the time. Keep that problem under wraps, dude! Sort it out before getting into another relationship. We don't know why bringing it up would ever seem like a good idea. Either he moves on, or you do.
6 ‘I Never Really Loved Her’
Wow. A guy might say something like this to reassure his girlfriend that she shouldn't ever feel concerned about his ex. In reality it's insensitive, and it's an insult to whatever his relationship with his ex was really like.
Maybe he's exaggerating, and it's true that he really didn't love her as much as he feels like he loves his new girlfriend. That doesn't necessarily mean he didn't love his ex at all. He could also be flat-out lying and rewriting his own relationship history to suit whoever he's talking to at the moment. Either way, you don't want to deal with a guy like that.
5 ‘The Breakup Was All Her Fault’
According to Psychology Today, when people break up there is usually a "rejector" (the one who makes the decision to break up) and a "rejectee" (the one who would have stayed together if they could have). It's basically the one who does the dumping and the one who gets dumped.
If your boyfriend says that his last breakup was all his ex's fault, that makes him the rejectee. Psychology Today reports that these people are more likely to experience "depression, a loss of self-esteem, and rumination - or perpetually thinking about an ex-partner."
It's not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it definitely could be a red flag that he's not over his ex.
4 ‘She Worked Too Much’
File this one under 'sorry, not sorry.' A guy who thinks that he should be valued over his girlfriend's career is dealing with some dated dating biases. If he couldn't respect her work ethic, that says a lot more about him than it does about her.
You might not think too much about him thinking that his ex was a workaholic, but we suggest you take it as a sign that he might be needy in his relationships. Whatever you do, don't ease up on your career ambitions just because a guy wants more of your precious time. If he can't handle your hustle, that's his problem - not yours.
3 ‘We Used To Do (Too Much Information)’
No matter how connected we are to our boyfriends, there are just some things that we do NOT need to know. Natalie agrees that some things are better left unsaid. "Don't go into [very personal] details about your exes," she advises boyfriends everywhere.
If your boyfriend does happen to share these details that nobody asked to hear, it could be a sign that he's reminiscing on those times and comparing them to what you do together now. He could also be hopeful that what he says will inspire you to do what he liked his ex to do, but come on. Let's leave our exes in the past.
2 ‘We Got Matching Tattoos’
Unfortunately, matching couple tattoos on people who have broken up can be a sign of bad judgement and impulsiveness. It could also be a sign that the person just got out of a relationship that they were once extremely committed to, because they haven't yet had the time, money or desire to get the tattoo removed or covered up.
Susan says to steer clear of a guy who has just left this kind of super-serious relationship: "You don’t want to be the rebound chick. You deserve more and that situation isn’t healthy for you." We one-hundred-percent agree.
1 ‘She’s Crazy’
Calling an ex-girlfriend crazy is so cliché. When a boyfriend says this you have to wonder why. What does he think was crazy about her? Maybe he thinks she was crazy just for not wanting to date him forever. Maybe he calls her crazy because he needs to think of a way to insult her so he can feel better about not being with her anymore.
The 'crazy ex girlfriend' stereotype is insensitive and unimaginative. In reality, the guy who calls girls crazy is the same guy who won't take you or your feelings seriously. Thank u, next.