When you're in a new relationship, it's no fun learning all about your partner's past romantic experiences, but it's especially frustrating when you start to suspect they're not over a person from their past. In these cases, it's useful to look out for some subtle signs your partner misses their ex. Although it's important to trust what your partner says, you don't want to be in a position where you end up getting hurt as a result of the feelings they might still have.
"Sometimes people harbor lingering feelings for an ex in a new relationship if [they] never got the closure they needed to move on and start fresh with someone new," relationship expert Vikki Ziegler tells Bustle. "When these wounds don't heal, they fester and will prevent you from fully investing 100 percent of your self in another person. Sometimes they will compare their ex to their current partner and even self sabotage their new relationship because they haven’t made peace with their ex."
Instead of getting paranoid when you don't need to be, pay attention only to the telltale signs that your partner might not have moved on. Here are seven subtle signs your partner is still missing their ex, according to experts.
1They Make Comparisons
"One sign that your partner misses their ex is that they openly compare you to them," therapist and relationship expert Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, LMHC, CVRT tells Bustle. "Even if they are complimenting you in the comparison, it is typically not a good thing. It’s natural to occasionally think about and compare or contrast things about the people we’ve dated, but if your partner voices those comparisons, it means that they are thinking about them more than what is healthy." If your partner brings up you in contrast to their ex often, it may be time to talk with them and find out whether there are still feelings there.
2They Always Compliment Their Ex
It's OK if your partner thinks fondly of their ex, but if they're constantly bringing them up and complimenting them, that may not be a good sign. "If they have really nice things to say about their ex and talk about how great that person is, it could mean they still have some feelings for them and have them on a pedestal," relationship psychotherapist Lena Derhally MS, MA tells Bustle. "Generally, it's not a good look to overly praise an ex to your current partner." Once again, the best way to find out is to discuss it.
3They Still Talk To Them
While it's OK for a partner to still be friends with an ex, watch out if your partner still spends time with their ex or talks to them frequently. "Exes can be friends, but if your partner is hanging out with an ex a little too much, it could mean that they still have feelings for that person," says Derhally.
4They Refuse To Engage In Conversation About It
You don't have to discuss your exes, but if you're suspicious that your partner may still have residual feelings, take note if your partner doesn't want to talk about their ex when you bring it up. "You may be suspicious or insecure about your partner's ex," says Derhally. "If you bring it up and they shut down or refuse to engage in a conversation about your concerns, it's a red flag that something may be up."
5They Keep Their Ex's Items Close
"If they keep sentimental items from their past relationship out in obvious places, it may mean that they are missing their ex," says Clark. "It’s OK to hang on to pictures and other keep sakes from past relationships — it’s part of your past. However, if those things are in obvious places where you and everyone else will see them often that may mean something about how they are feeling about their past relationship, as well as being disrespectful to the new relationship." If you have noticed this, and it's something that bothers you, talk to your partner about it.
6They Want To Go To The Same Places They Went With Their Ex
It might be a red flag if your partner wants to frequent the same places they did when they were dating their ex. "By recreating the same old patterns, they are vicariously living through their old relationship and stifling your new one," says Ziegler. "If your partner is ready to create a life with you, they will be eager to make new memories in fresh places which don't have the footprint of a past relationship."
7They Stay In Touch With Their Ex's Family
If your partner still has a close relationship with their partner's ex, take note. "Cutting ties with an ex’s family is hard to do, but is important if they want to show loyalty to you as their new partner," says Ziegler. "Maintaining frequent contact with an ex's family means it's likely that boundaries will be crossed and feelings will get hurt."
While these signs don't necessarily spell out the end of your relationship, if you believe your partner still has feelings for an ex, ask them up front if they are ready to continue this relationship with you. Although it may be hard, it's better than not knowing.