7 Signs Your Partner Might Have Had A Deeper Connection With Their Ex Than With You
One of the worst, yet totally human, things people do in relationships is wonder about their partner's ex. How can you not be curious about how your partner was with their ex, what kind of things they used to do together, and how in love with them they actually were? If your partner still has feelings for their ex, it can have a way of affecting your relationship now. So if you have cause to wonder, experts say there are ways to tell if your partner had a deeper connection with an ex previously than they may have with you now.
As Rosalind Sedacca, CDC, Divorce Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network tells Bustle, this can show up in a number of different ways. For instance, they may bring their ex up in conversations or compare your behavior to their ex's. Little things here and there that remind your partner of their past may even trigger an emotional response in them.
If you're concerned that your partner had a deeper connection with their ex than they do with you now, there's no need to worry just yet. As Dr. Danielle Forshee, Doctor of Psychology and licensed social worker tells Bustle, it doesn't necessarily mean that they loved their ex more than they love you now.
"It can mean a few things," Dr. Forshee says. Worst case scenario, it could mean that your partner is not completely over their ex. It could mean that your partner doesn’t really know how to communicate their desires, needs, or expectations in a relationship and brings up their past relationship as an example. Or she says it could also mean that your partner has limited experience in relationships and just doesn’t know any better. Whether or not this means something bad for your relationship, really depends on why they’re engaging in this behavior, she says.
So here are some signs that your partner may have had a deeper connection with their ex when they were dating them than they do with you now, according to experts.
1. Your Partner Still Keeps Up With Their Ex's Life
If your partner had a deep emotional connection with their ex when they were dating, some lingering attachment might occur. Your partner may not actively social media stalk their ex, but they may look every now and then. Your partner may even bring their ex up in conversation. As Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle, "This may be a sign that your partner is still thinking about their ex and may even miss them."
Just because they may miss their ex, it doesn't mean they want to get back together. If your partner bringing up their ex in conversation bothers you, Backe says it's best to bring this up in a non-confrontational way. "Discuss how this may be affecting you and how you can work something out to improve your relationship to each other," he says.
2. They Compare Your Relationship To The One They Had With Their Ex
If they’re "outwardly comparing you to their ex with regard to the things that their ex said to make them feel connected, or if they’re suggesting that you engage in certain behaviors, habits, or rituals that their ex engaged in," Dr. Forshee says they may have some residual feelings lingering.
Nobody likes feeling they're being compared to someone else. So as Sedacca says, the best thing for you to do is to tell your partner how you feel. Then, work on creating your own deep bond with each other. It's very possible, she says, as long as "you both acknowledge that goal and have the desire to achieve it."
3. Your Partner Is Still Really Good Friends With Their Ex
If your partner is BFFs with their ex, Backe says they probably still feel some form of connection to them. According to him, "A situation like this is almost never healthy for a new relationship as it can be hard to form a close bond with your new partner if they are still close to their ex." If you're cool with your partner being BFFs with their ex, then that's totally fine. If not, you may need to have a conversation about this. Again, your partner going to their ex for advice doesn't necessarily mean anything bad for your relationship. But if it makes you uncomfortable, it's worth addressing.
4. They're Still Close With Their Ex's Family
If your partner was with their ex for a long time, chances are they became close to their ex's family. As Backe says, "It’s healthy to stay on good terms with your ex’s family, but it’s also important not to let your former connections hinder your new relationship." This is one of those things that require a little patience. If your partner being close with your family is important to you, this can develop over time.
5. Your Partner Asks You To Do Things They Used To Do With Their Ex
If your partner wants you to do certain activities they did with their ex, it may suggest they're still holding onto those memories. Whether or not this is a problem really depends on you. "Someone's past experiences may vary from yours," Varsha Mathur, Dating & Relationship Coach at KnowingLuxe™ Coaching tells Bustle. "As as long as your partner is showing you signs of respect and commitment towards growing your relationship, there is no need for concern." With time, you two can find new activities to really bond over.
6. They Seem Sad When They Think About Their Past Relationship
If your partner had a deeper connection with their ex when they were dating, they may show signs of sadness when something reminds them of their past relationship. An activity, a movie, or even a restaurant may trigger an emotional response in your partner because they might be still carrying that baggage. But unless your partner unintentionally makes a hurtful comment like, "This wasn't as fun as it used to be," Mathur says there's nothing to be worried about. If so, just bring it up. "Don't blame," Mathur says. "Be constructive and find ways to deepen your relationship rather than blame your partner for their past experiences."
7. They Use Their Ex As An Example In Conversations
If your partner keeps bringing their ex up in conversations and even uses them as an example to explain things, Sedacca says they may be holding onto the past a bit. That's because their ex's quirks and behaviors may may have stuck in their mind. This becomes especially true if they were with them for a long time.
It's hard to feel secure in your relationship when an ex plays an active role. So as Sedacca says, it may be time to have a serious talk about your feelings, needs, and hurt. "One way to make this work is to give your partner three requests you would like them to fulfill for you," she says. "Be specific i.e. kiss me goodnight every night, tell me before you call your ex to discuss issues ... or don’t talk about your ex in front of our friends and family."
In addition to that, find new things to do together that will help strengthen your bond. It can be anything. "If they respond positively to your suggestions, you have a partner who understands your message and wants to make things right," she says. "If not, you may question their motives."
Every relationship you're in is going to be different. You might have a deeper bond with some people more than others, and that's completely OK. Fortunately, a deep connection with your partner is something that can be worked on. With a little time, patience, and a lot of honest communication, you can have a close bond with your significant other.