Have you ever started dating someone, started to have feelings for them, and then found out that they weren’t over their ex yet? Few things in the dating world are more annoying than the “Ex factor.” If someone isn’t over their ex, no matter how hot, sexy, smart, and sweet you are, it won’t matter, because they’re in no position to appreciate it right now. They are living in the past. You are competing with someone with whom you have a history, who knows them much better than you do, and with whom you share many fond memories.
How do you know if someone is not over their ex? The two main clues are if they always bring up the other person, when there is clearly no reason to, or if they refuse to talk about their ex. So what can you do? Practice what I call the “Lose it to keep it” move. Sit your sweetie down and say: I like you and I enjoy being with you, but you don’t seem like you’re over your ex. That’s not fair to either of us and I can’t keep seeing you under these circumstances. I don’t want to be in a rebound relationship. I think you should go and do whatever it takes to find out what you want. This will probably surprise them and they may even deny that they still like their ex, but don’t be fooled. No matter how much they beg and plead, stand by your statement. If they ask you if you’re going to date other people, the answer is “Yes!”
Don’t worry that if he goes back with his ex he will end up with you forever. I once started dating someone who had just gotten out of a relationship. When the ex found out, suddenly she wanted him back. She saw the two of us for a while, though she thought she had broken up with me. One night she had to go out to look for her. I wasn’t happy about it and I told him so. Her response was: Very bad. I broke up with him that night. They were together for another year, but in the meantime he kept in touch with me. When he caught her cheating, he immediately broke off and ran back to me. I took my time getting it back and from then on I always had the upper hand in what turned out to be a five year relationship. He finally asked me to marry him, but I turned him down. I truly believe that if she hadn’t broken up with him and instead put up with him seeing me on the side, the relationship would have been over for good before long and he wouldn’t have come back.
The ex is an ex for a reason: something obviously wasn’t working. Most of the time, if you do get back together, you’ll eventually fall into the same patterns and before you know it, you’ll start having problems again. You need to give them a chance to see that it’s not going to work, so they can stop romanticizing the relationship in their minds. It will probably happen sooner rather than later if you are not around to distract them. When they finally have closure, they will be able to go ahead and give you their undivided attention.