We've all been in an uncomfortable situation of trying to decide whether or not someone still has feelings for an ex. Maybe that person was you, and no matter what you did you couldn't bring yourself to stop thinking of your ex and you had to determine if the feelings were still there on a romantic level. Or even worse, maybe you're with a partner who seems unable to move on past their relationship prior to you.
There's no hurt that compares to thinking that your partner loved someone before you were in the picture and that they might still have feelings for this person. While every feeling that you're feeling is valid—anger, confusion, jealousy— it's important to remember that your relationship is on the line in this situation and you wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that. If no matter what you do, you can't shake the feeling that your partner is still hung up on their ex, follow these tips to keep yourself and your partner's feeling safe.
1. Remain calm
While it's easy to lose your temper in a matter of seconds every time they bring up their ex's name, remember that your partner's feelings are valid. Breakups are always hard and it does take some people longer than others to recover from them. Although freaking out at every mention of their ex's name will surely get your point across, be there to support your partner through the confusion and heartbreak that they're likely feeling. If you truly love them, their feelings should be more important than your ego.
2. Confront the situation
Sweeping things under the rug and acting like things are always fine is definitely the easy and safer way out, but if you don't confront your partner about your concern that they're still a little too into their ex, things will never change and your relationship will be compromised as a result. It's likely that your partner is already trying to hide the situation from you in order to prevent hurting your feelings. It's an awkward conversation to have, but if neither of you come forward about the situation, your relationship will break as a result of all of the tension.
3. Remind them how it makes you feel
Like I said, it's more than likely that your partner isn't doing this to hurt you. I mean, you really don't get a say in who you do and don't have feelings for. While you're undoubtedly hurting from the pain of not feeling like you're good enough for your partner and the potential of losing your relationship, it's important that you remind your partner how the situation is making you feel. They're likely confused and worried about your relationship as well and could use a reminder that while hurting you isn't their intention, it may be happening accidentally.
4. Don't make assumptions
It's easy to accuse your partner of having an affair with an ex out of rage and confusion. Remember that having feelings for someone can come without any action taking place at all, and can often be one sided. While our minds tend to jump to the worse case scenario and build up a possible story of exactly what happened, trust your partner and let them speak their truth. Assuming that you know what's going on and how they're feeling only belittles them in the situation and creates the potential for you to turn into the bad guy.
5. Determine why they still have these feelings
Your partner may be acting as if they are hung up on their ex for any different number of reasons. It's always possible that your partner is still in love with their ex, but at the same time, they could be still hurting from their breakup and their way of coping is coming across to you as being hung up. Figuring out why your partner is constantly thinking about their ex will help you come to terms with the situation and learn how to better support your partner.
6. Talk it out
Above all else, talk the situation out. Open communication is key. Hiding your feelings from your partner will never solve the problems that you face in your relationship. Be open with your concerns about your relationship. Talk about how your relationship got to this rocky place and what you're going to do to make sure it gets better.
7. Figure out how to move on
Come up with a game plan. How are the two of you going to make sure that your partner is moving on and you're no longer paranoid that they have feelings for their ex? Build trust with each other. Consider weekly date nights for the two of you, make rules about when it's okay to talk about an ex, and establish boundaries and limitations on friendships with an ex. It may seem controlling at first, but nothing is more important than making sure that the two of you are on the same page and ready to make your relationship work.
Most importantly, know that this isn't the end of your relationship. Your partner still loves you and while it hurts seeing them potentially still hung up on their ex, it is possible for the two of you to overcome this and build a stronger relationship.