One part of growing up and having more mature romantic relationships is accepting that the person you’re falling for has had an entire life before meeting you, part of which, of course, includes past relationships. That’s a good thing — you have a romantic past, too, right? It’s good to know that they’ve been living their life and learning how to be with other people. Still, it can be tough to come to terms with the fact that you’re not their one-and-only love. Especially when it feels like your current S.O. still has their ex on their mind. Even for the most self-assured among us, this can be super intimidating.
But it isn’t always an entirely bad sign if your new boo seems to be thinking about their ex.
When people think about their former relationships, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re interested in getting back together with an ex. Here are some signs that your significant other is thinking about their past relationship — and it might not be the end of the world.
1They’re straight-up reminiscing.
People have all sorts of ways of processing their feelings, but it’s normal to want to share your personal stories with someone you’re falling for. Some of those stories might be how certain past relationships affected them. There’s a difference between still being wrapped up with someone and really opening up to someone. Use it as an excuse to talk about what you want from a relationship and swap war stories.
2They’re apologizing for things you aren’t mad about.
Even in decent relationships, everyone leaves with some bad habits. Getting into a new relationship can be really hard for some people, especially if the last one was a doozy. Your new partner might have their ex on their mind if they seem to expect certain behaviors or reactions that just aren’t you. Instead of getting defensive and fighting, this could be a good moment to lay out the boundaries for this new relationship.
3They’re overly concerned about their social media presence.
Hey, we all care about how we come across on social media, but there’s a limit to how much we normally care and how much we only care when we’re thinking about how our ex is viewing us. Whether your new person is being weird about making your new relationship Instagram official or spending a lot of time obsessing over their ex’s profile, you’re going to want to figure out what their deal is. It might be nothing but a special breed of benign social media insecurity. It’s likely more about them than their ex, whose eyes probably just make your new boo feel extra vulnerable online since they know them so well.
4They’ve totally reinvented themselves.
There’s a thin line between moving on from a past relationship and trying to obliterate the memory altogether. You know that whole protesting too much thing? If you find your S.O. is avoiding places, people, or situations that are associated with their ex, there’s likely a bigger issue at play that you’re going to want to address ASAP.
5They’re comparing you to their ex.
Even if you’re coming out on top in the Let’s Rate My Relationships Game your new partner is playing, comparing people is never a good look, so beware the wistful significant other who does it. If it’s cutting you down, you need to talk about it (or you could just bail).
6The evidence is literally in your face.
It’s one thing to have a box of mementos under the bed — a lot of people save things just because. But if they still have pictures of their ex on their night stand or remind you every time you compliment them on a specific shirt that an ex got it for them, you’re allowed to say something about it and see what the deal is. You shouldn’t have to sleep with someone’s shrine to the past in the corner.
7They won’t commit to you.
If you find that your new partner is unable to take things up a notch on the exclusivity scale, they might still be thinking about their ex. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t on their mind! They might be scared of how they’re feeling and scared of getting burned and taking things as slow as possible in a good way. Someone who’s being thoughtful about their past and how it’s affecting their present can be a good catch.